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Natural Replica of IMS Rings in Holidays at Stunning Exhibit at Indianapolis Museum

From a distance, you can hear the familiar sounds of the Month of May. Before you know it, you hear the legendary Jim Nabors singing “Back Home Again in Indiana.”

Next, you hear Indianapolis Motor Speedway savior Tony Hulman delivering those four famous words: “Gentlemen, start your engines.”

Two cars take a pace lap. As the cars exit Turn 4, the Scoring Pylon lights up green, and the cars are racing to the roaring sounds of Indy car engines.

You look around to see where you are. You’re not at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

No, this is the Eiteljorg Museum in downtown Indianapolis. The museum, which honors Native Americans and western art, is holding its annual holiday exhibit, Jingle Rails presented by Fifth Third Bank, now through Jan. 20, 2020.

This “Great Western Adventure” is a model train exhibit that features several replica iconic Indianapolis landmarks, such as Monument Circle, downtown Indianapolis and Lucas Oil Stadium, among others. It also includes many national parks of western America, such as Mount Rushmore and the Golden Gate Bridge. The nine working model trains continuously drive through and around each landmark in the exhibit.

Bert Beiswanger, director of marketing and communications at the Eiteljorg, said the museum added this holiday exhibit 10 years ago to connect with the Indianapolis community, and each year the museum adds a new landmark to its exhibit. The new landmark this year is IMS.

“The Speedway has honestly been on our wish list for a long time,” he said. “There’s a lot of things that have to come together to make a decision as to what we’re going to add, but we’re elated to be adding this.”

The handmade IMS features a slot car racetrack perfectly replicating the historic 2.5-mile oval. A tunnel of wooden grandstands surrounds the track, as well as the famed IMS Pagoda, the IMS Museum, the Scoring Pylon, The Dirt Track at IMS, the 18-hole golf course and much more. IMS Productions supplied the museum with a clip of audio that features pre-race festivities and the roar of NTT IndyCar Series cars.

Landmarks featured in Jingle Rails are handmade by Applied Imagination, a Kentucky-based company that specializes in model train exhibits. Applied Imagination makes each exhibit from a plethora of natural resources. The company has 18 exhibits around the United States, including at the New York Botanical Garden and Chicago Botanic Garden.

The replica Indianapolis Motor Speedway is made from natural materials such as ash bark, bamboo, birch sticks, grapevine, horse chestnut, salt cedar sticks, sycamore leaves, willow sticks and much more.

Beiswanger said adding IMS to the exhibit started last year. Applied Imagination spent a year building the replica 560-acre facility. Once it was built, Beiswanger said it took the Applied Imagination team three full days to implement IMS and the rest of the exhibit into the Eiteljorg.

“Every year we try to add an iconic fixture that represents Indianapolis and something that represents the West,” he said. “We put everything in motion about a year out. Applied Imagination, who built this whole thing, every year is working on a new installation.”

Fans interested in seeing IMS and other iconic Indianapolis and western America landmarks after visiting Lights at the Brickyard presented by Fifth Third Bank can get tickets at Enter promo code IMS to receive $2 off your order.

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