Discovering the lower level of the Soldiers and Sailors Monument

(WISH Photo)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The Soldiers and Sailors Monument has been part of the Indianapolis skyline for decades, but what people don’t realize is that there’s a museum on the lower level.

As we celebrate Indiana’s Bicentennial, 24-Hour News 8 took a tour of Colonel Eli Lilly Civil War Museum. A museum that was once used for storage now teaches Hoosier history – history that the executive director of the Indiana War Memorials Commission said is filled with patriotism.

“From the standpoint that even back in those days, Hoosiers were very patriotic,very interested in the protection of the state and the nation,” Stewart Goodwin said. “That’s why there’s only one place in the nation that has more monuments honoring veterans than Indianapolis and that’s Washington, D.C. I think it’s also interesting to note that there is not one city in the nation that has more acreage honoring veterans than Indianapolis, Indiana.”

The venue is filled with artifacts, films, pictures, battle flags and cannons. There is no talk about tactics and strategy, but rather stories about Hoosiers who served.

“We saw it from the hotel room last night, asked somebody what it was and the gentleman in the hotel didn’t mention anything about a museum downstairs, but he said we should come check out the monument,” said tourist Sam Snow.

It’s a monument that tells a story by itself.

“The building is just full of symbolism. On the east side of the building is when they were actually fighting the war and on the west side of the building was victory, there is one African American that is on the structure, and it’s on the southwest corner and he’s actually holding up a section of chain to represent the chains of slavery being broken,” Goodwin said.

If you would like to check out the museum, it’s open Wednesday through Sunday. Admission is free.

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