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IMS Museum Announces $89 Million Capital Campaign To Transform Exhibits, Experiences

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum announced July 11 the public phase of a $89 million capital campaign – The Stories Behind the Spectacle – to fund a complete transformation of the Museum, its first significant renovation in nearly 40 years.

The new exhibits and experiences will bring to life the Museum’s vision to create a global destination that provides interactive, immersive and diverse Indianapolis 500 storytelling and educational experiences that can be enjoyed by guests of all ages.

A tax-exempt 501(c)(3) not-for-profit and a separate entity from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the IMS Museum is responsible for its fundraising and revenue generation. Since the capital campaign’s launch in early 2023, the IMS Museum has already achieved 51% of its $89 million goal, with $46 million committed. This includes lead donations of $10 million from Mary and Randy Rogers and $5 million from the Dyson Foundation, in addition to the Lilly Endowment grant described below.

“We are deeply indebted to numerous community and business leaders, Lilly Endowment, Mary and Randy Rogers, Sandi and Scott Borchetta, the Bobby Rahal family and Mike Curb for their transformative gifts in support of the IMS Museum’s capital campaign and planned renovations,” said Robert Dyson, chair of the IMS Museum board of directors. “Their generosity and leadership will help us preserve and share the stories and innovations of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in exciting ways and with new and diverse audiences. We hope everyone in central Indiana will join us and be part of The Stories Behind the Spectacle as we reimagine the incredible stories of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the Indianapolis 500 – creating new experiences for our visitors to learn more about the traditions, personalities, technology and careers that comprise ‘The Greatest Spectacle in Racing.’”

A critical part of The Stories Behind the Spectacle campaign is a $20 million grant from Lilly Endowment that will be used to inspire student learning in a dedicated STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) classroom at the IMS Museum that will feature robust educational resources and programs. A portion of the grant - $5 million – is conditioned on a $1-to-$1 match, which is designed to help the IMS Museum galvanize additional support.

“We are grateful to Lilly Endowment for its catalytic gift, which will help students of all ages to engage in a new robust STEAM initiative that provides learning opportunities in the science, math, art and technology fields,” said Joe Hale, president of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum. “A custom on-site STEAM classroom will be a cornerstone of the new IMS Museum, led by an experienced education professional who will create and deliver original hands-on educational experiences and curriculum that will spark students’ interest and expose them to potential careers in the motorsports industry.”

Museum leaders are working with K-12 and higher education institutions to develop STEAM curricula, and they are collaborating with several Indianapolis arts and cultural organizations to strengthen museum programming and reach new audiences.

“For more than a century, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway has raised the global profile of Indianapolis and drawn millions of visitors from around the world to enjoy the motor racing experience in Indianapolis,” said Ronni Kloth, Lilly Endowment’s vice president for community development. “The IMS Museum’s vision to transform its building and engage more diverse audiences through enhanced educational offerings holds the promise to drive cultural and economic activity in Indianapolis and the region and advance educational objectives related to science, math, technology and the arts.”

When completed, the reimagined IMS Museum will thrill visitors of all ages with new immersive and dynamic experiences, including:

  • Seven permanent and three rotating
  • The opportunity to get up close to some of the world’s most unique and valuable racing artifacts on a behind-the-scenes tour.
  • The sensation of being in an INDYCAR SERIES car in a racing
  • Learning to use the tools and equipment of the racing trade competing in a “pit stop ”

IMS Museum members will also have access to new after-hours and backstage events, domestic and international excursions and trips, and other one-of-a-kind experiences.

“The relationship between the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the IMS Museum is critical to telling the story of our history, introducing new fans to the racetrack and our races, and helping to keep the Indianapolis Motor Speedway a year-round attraction in central Indiana, said J. Douglas Boles, president of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and IMS Museum board member. “From the very beginning, all of us at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the IMS Museum board of directors have unanimously and enthusiastically supported the IMS Museum’s vision. The IMS Museum will create an immersive and awe-inspiring environment for visitors to experience the thrill of ‘The Greatest Spectacle in Racing’ in new and unique ways while at the same time celebrating the history and traditions that make this place and, in particular, the Indianapolis 500 unlike anything else on Earth.”

Of the $89 million capital campaign total, $64 million is earmarked for the complete transformation of the interior of the IMS Museum building, including new infrastructure and state-of-the-art technology to create the immersive exhibitions and experiences. Part of the second phase of the project will be a new $15 million automobile and equipment restoration facility allowing visitors to tour and see automobile restoration work being done in real time. The IMS Museum will also dedicate $10 million toward the creation of an endowment, allowing the Museum to acquire additional artifacts that fulfill its mission of celebrating and preserving the history behind the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the Indy 500.

The closing of the IMS Museum for construction will occur in phases, beginning in October 2023 with the closing of the basement exhibit area. The Museum will completely close to the public in November 2023 and remain closed until April 2025 when the newly renovated IMS Museum will reopen in time for the 109th running of the Indy 500. During the Museum’s closure, visitors can still enjoy track tours, including the favorite ”Kiss the Bricks” tour. Details will be available on the IMS Museum website later this year.

To learn more about The Stories Behind the Spectacle campaign and to make a contribution, please visit the IMS Museum website.

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum represents more than a century of motorsports history and is driven by its mission to celebrate and preserve the history behind the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the Indianapolis 500. Since 1956 when the IMS Museum first opened, it has been guided by its mission to celebrate and preserve the history behind the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the Indianapolis 500. What began with only 12 cars on display has become one of the world’s premier collections of racing automobiles and artifacts – with more than 55,000 artifacts and over 200 vehicles. The IMS Museum has 37,500 square feet of vintage cars, trophies, photographs, fine art, and other artifacts that capture the cultural significance of motorsports. Each year, the Museum welcomes more than 150,000 visitors and race fans from around the world.

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