Hidden gem: Hamilton County Museum of History and old jail

We’re always on the lookout for hidden gems – the fun, little-known spots around Indianapolis that make our city unique. So after getting this tip on the Hamilton County Museum of History from our loves at Visit Hamilton County (hi friends!), we had to send Luis exploring. Here’s what he discovered…

I think I told you guys once about how my wife and I like to amuse ourselves by asking theoretical questions about our kids. Like “which one will be famous?”, “which one will get married first?” and most frequently “which one is most likely to go to jail?” If you know us, you might have a guess on that last one, but if you guessed Millie (the 3-year-old) you are wrong… The answer is ALL of them. Several times a year at that. Have I raised an army of juvenile delinquents? Probably, but I’m actually just being coy.

Truth is, we like to take our kids to downtown Noblesville to the Hamilton County Museum of History – the old sheriff’s house and jail.

Hamilton County Museum History _ Indy's Child MagazineThis place is an awesome free outing for you and the kids. The museum itself is basically three parts: The sheriff’s home, the men’s jail and the women’s jail. The house is a pretty standard prairie Victorian with high ceilings and wallpaper that would make your grandma jealous. There are some cool artifacts donated by families who’ve lived in the area for a long time. To be honest with you, this is the part that the kids are the least interested in – it’s mostly cool for my wife and I. But it is sort of a trip to take the kids into the old-timey kitchen and ask them to guess what room it is. The lack of running water and modern stove makes it a little less obvious.

HOT TIP: Discover The Top 5 Hidden Gems in Indy!

The men’s section of the jail is at the back of the house and all concrete. It has a distinct unfinished basement feel and the cells are a bit ominous. While our kids really like to stand behind the bars with me or my wife for photos, they are pretty hesitant to go anywhere near the cells on their own. Its definitely a little creepy. Good for a little “scared straight” action if you need it. *wink*

Hot tip: Keep an eye on the newspapers on the walls to find an infamous former prisoner!

Hamilton County Museum History _ Indy's Child Magazine

The ladies cells – on the other hand – are a testament to the double standard. I don’t want to spoil it for you, but it’s way nicer than the men’s cells. Think college dorm room except for private bathrooms. So better than a college dorm. It’s a nice, light way to end the trip so your kids don’t come out with nightmares of the men’s cells.

It’s good for a 45-minute trip to teach the kids some history then head across the street to Anderson’s for some ice cream to round out the morning.

Make sure you tag all your jailbird photos with #IndysChild on Instagram and let us know what they are “in” for!

MORE INFO: The Hamilton County Museum of History is located at 810 Conner Street in downtown Noblesville. Hours are Thursdays-Saturdays from 10am-3pm; closed Sundays-Wednesdays. Admission is free. Call 317-770-0775 for additional details. 


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