Indy Museum Closed for Amazing Renovation

Though the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum is closed through 2024, Speedway tours still provide the chance to "Kiss the Bricks" on the actual raceway.
IMS Museum and Hall of Fame, Indianapolis, IN is closed during 2024 for renovations, but will reopen in time for the 2025 Indianapolis 500.
Once renovated, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum will offer a huge variety of interactive experiences including racing simulators and a new display for the Borg-Warner Trophy. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

If you’re visiting Indianapolis in 2024, unfortunately you won’t be able to visit the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum, but the reason is a great one.  The IMS Museum is undergoing an $89 Million Capital Campaign which includes a $64 million transformation of the Museum. It’s been over 40 years since the last renovation, and having visited this fascinating attraction a few years ago, I can confirm that it was time for this refresh.

Known as “the Greatest Spectacle in Racing”, the Indianapolis 500 has been an annual favorite since the first race in 1911, when Ray Harroun won driving a six-cylinder Marmon Wasp. (Harroun would go on to win eight races on the Indy track, though only one was the Indianapolis 500.) Located inside the actual race track, visiting the museum complex provides a glimpse of the course from the driver’s point of view as visitors literally cross the famous track to reach the buildings.

The museum houses over 55,000 artifacts and 200+ vehicles, so having the right space to best display these treasures is critical. The new museum will take guests on a journey through the history of the Speedway via “Gasoline Alley”, a series of displays including cars, artifacts and audio/visual elements. The “Qualifying Experience” is designed to engage K-12 in the magic of auto racing, with interactive activities like the pit-stop challenge. In fact, there’s a whole new STEAM curricula being developed to encourage student’s interest in potential careers in motorsports. Racing simulators will even offer the sensation of being in an IndyCar.

Of course, the classic favorites will remain! The Borg-Warner Trophy will still be there, but in a shiny new display. The Borg-Warner Trophy is one of the most unique trophies awarded today. Standing over five feet tall, the trophy is made of sterling silver. Even though it’s hollow, the Borg-Warner Trophy weighs over 150 lbs. First introduced in 1936, the trophy features a sculpture of each winning driver’s likeness, the trophy has been restored twice to accommodate more winners; the current design will work through the 2033 race. (Warning to parents: The man standing at the top of the trophy is naked.)

Winning Indy 500 cars will still be displayed throughout the facility. Past displays have included fan favorites such as:

  • The 1922 Duesenberg used by Jimmy Murphy to win both the Indianapolis 500 and the French Grand Prix at Le Mans
  • The 1938 Maserati driven by Floyd Roberts to win the Indy 500 that year.
  • Janet Guthrie’s 1978 Wildcat Indy Car

Even though the museum is closed, track tours and the Indy Racing Experience is still available.

Three different tours are available, lasting 30, 60 or 90 minutes. All include a lap around the Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval and a stop to “Kiss the Bricks”, the bricks from the original 1909 track surface at the start/finish line.  Kissing the Bricks is now an annual tradition for the winner of each year’s Indy 500.

All three tours included a self-guided tour of the Museum, but that’s off the table for 2024. Nevertheless, the enormity of the Speedway shouldn’t be missed. Even if you can’t see the Museum, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway must still be on your list if traveling to Indiana in 2024.

Image Credit(s):

  • Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum and Hall of Fame:
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