Early Inhabitants & Pioneer Settlers

The exhibit, which features a canoe that hangs over the space

This room focuses on the early history of Johnson County, beginning 400 million years ago in the Paleozoic Era. Did you know that Indiana used to be located near the equator and was underwater? You can see fossils of the underwater animals that lived here during this time. You can also learn about the Native Americans that lived around Johnson County before colonists arrived.     

native american artifacts and an interactive covered wagon,

From there, the room moves on to pioneer life in the early 1800s. The cabin in our parking lot was built by the Hendricks family. In the pioneer section, you can see some of their belongings, as well as part of a covered wagon that was found in Johnson County, and other pioneer artifacts. We also have a covered wagon for children to explore, along with other interactive activities.





Suddenly Heroes: Indiana Infantry in the Civil War

case with types of bullets used in the civil war, beside a large american flag that spans the length of the wall

Our Civil War exhibit is currently being updated and is under construction. It will feature the story of Johnson County’s 7th Regiment Infantry. Here you will be able to see some of the mementos the soldiers carried with them, as well as a flag that the women of the Hopewell Church in Franklin made for the soldiers. Learn more about the struggles they faced during the deadliest war in American history.

a collection of guns, swords, and items used by soldiers.




Victorian Life

A victorian sitting room, with false fireplace and a piano

The Victorian Era was the period of Queen Victoria’s reign, from 1837 to 1901. It was marked by formal manners and dress, as well as the third wave of immigration. In this exhibit you can see what a formal Victorian sitting room would have looked like during the late 1800s, and examine Victorian artifacts – from hair wreaths to an early camera.




In the Business of Good Health, War and Peace, and The Fabulous 50s


This room focuses on Johnson County in the 1940s and 50s. It begins with the history of the Mutz/Schaffer Drug Store formerly located in Edinburgh, and reviews how medicine was produced by pharmacists in the 1920s. The exhibit moves on to give the Province family medical practice, which operated in Franklin from 1867-2014.


War and Peace focuses on Camp Atterbury, located near Edinburgh, which was developed during WWII and served as a training base until 2013. The exhibit features the stories of residents who lost their land during construction, soldiers in training, Prisoners of War who were hosted at the camp, as well as the women and civilians who supported the war efforts from home.


The Fabulous 50s gives the history of Johnson County during the 1950s, from Nick’s Candy Kitchen, a popular high school hangout spot, to the Artcraft Theatre, both located in Franklin.




Hands-on Exhibits

hand-yellow copy

We believe kids learn more when they can interact with exhibits, and use their natural curiosity to play, make-believe, and discover. At the Johnson County Museum kids can have fun playing with pioneer and Victorian dress-up clothes, imagining a journey through the wilderness in our life-sized replica of a Conestoga wagon, doing a museum scavenger hunt, and experiencing toys and games from years gone by.

The handprint symbol you see throughout the museum invites young visitors to “Please Touch the Exhibit!”