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New Indiana State Museum Gallery Showcases Natural History

The Indiana State Museum is kicking of a series of renovations with the opening of three new galleries to the public Thursday. Museum officials want visitors to leave with more awareness about the footprint they may contribute to the land.

One of the galleries the Indiana State Museum showcases the state's natural history, with plant and animal props populating a number of dioramas. One section of the room features a group of woodland creatures, including a raccoon on top of something you don't typically see in a museum display - an overflowing trash can.

Associate Vice President of Exhibitions Beth Van Why says garbage is an important, symbolic part of the state's natural history.

"The decision to litter can change everything around you. The decision to plant an invasive species … you might love that tree, but if it's not from the region, that can change the entire ecosphere around you," Van Why says.

Another new exhibit looks at Indiana's role in early American conflicts, and a third looks at the complex relationship between incoming settlers and Native American tribes.

The group of galleries, which took a year-and-a-half to complete, represents phase one of a five step expansion the museum says will be complete in 2019.

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