Thomas Hart Benton: The Indiana Murals


Indiana University Art Museum
Education Department

Teaching and Learning Resources

Edward Maxedon, curator of Education at the IUAMsee larger photo and caption


Schedule a tour with IUAM Education Deptartment

  • Call the museum’s tour coordinator at (812) 855-7719.
  • Call to schedule at least two weeks in advance for a docent-led tour.
  • Call to schedule at least four weeks in advance for a specialized curriculum-structured tour or program.
  • Call ahead to inform us of any group visit to the galleries.

There is no charge for admission or a guided tour.



IUAM Education Programs

The Indiana University Art Museum welcomes people of all ages to visit its exhibitions, plan docent-led tours, use teaching resources, and participate in a wide range of educational programming.
IUAM Education Programs features some of the educational programs planned for the current academic year.



Fourth Grade Guide to the Benton Murals
PDF, requires the free Acrocat Reader

A printer-friedly booklet with overviews of Indiana history, and questions and activities for twenty-two sections of the murals. Also available from links on the individual panel presentations.


"Parks,the Circus, the Klan, the Press"
   in Its Contexts

Read and view video clips about the controversies surrounding Benton's portral of the Klu Klux Klan on the Indiana Musrals. This page on the Indiana University Dean of Facultites web site opens in a new browser window.

Book cover


Thomas Hart Benton and the Indiana Murals

Kathleen A. Foster, Nanette Esseck Brewer, Margaret Contompasis
IUAM in association with Indiana University Press
Bloomington & Indianapolis, 2000



Ringing the Indiana hall at Chicago's Century of Progress Exposition in 1933 was a bold and colourful cycle of paintings by American muralist Thomas Hart Benton depicting the social, economic and cultural history of the Hoosier state from the age of the Mound Builders to the 1930s and the early days of the Indianapolis 500. In creating this dramatic 250-foot mural, which has been permanently displayed on the Bloomington campus of Indiana Univeristy since 1940, Benton sought to creat an art that spoke to average citizens in a realist style. The first full-scale treatment of the history, method and significance of this important exemplar of American public art, Thomas Hart Benton and the Indiana Murals features a full-colour gatefold depicting the flow of the murals and a portfolio of colour reproductions of the 22 extant panels with interpretative texts. Accompanying essays discuss the history of the murals' creation and their installation at Indiana University, the visual narrative that Benton invented, the artist's method as seen in a series of preparatory drawings and a detailed account of their conservation. A complete illustrated checklist of 88 related drawings enhances understanding of Benton's project. This beautifully designed celebration of Benton's Indiana murals should appeal to readers interested in Benton's work, Hoosier history and American public art.



Indiana Hall

Interior of the Indiana Hall, Century of Progress Exposition, Chicago, 1933.


IU Auditorium

Today: Indiana University Auditorium, The Hall of Murals, Bloomington.

2003 © Indiana University Art Museum