From the Ground to the Sky: IHS’s History on Wheels Rolls into Bloomington for Kiwanis Balloon Fest

(BLOOMINGTON) – A one-of-a-kind interactive history experience is rolling into Bloomington for the Kiwanis Club of South Central Indiana Balloon Fest.

Hot air balloons begin to fill the Monroe County Fairgrounds Saturday evening as the sun began to set. Participating balloons returned or were retrieved from their flights to stand tall and light up their burners during live performances by Marc Broussard on Friday night and Jenn Cristy on Saturday.

Known as History on Wheels, the Indiana Historical Society’s (IHS’s) 53-foot double expandable semi-trailer is home to its Auto Indiana exhibit, which takes guests on a ride through the state’s rich automotive and racing heritage.

Aboard History on Wheels, guests will learn the history of more than 100 Indiana automakers and manufacturers, such as Duesenberg, Gibson, and Studebaker. The exhibit also delves into the lives of Hoosier innovators and inventors, such as Carl Fisher, Elwood Haynes, and Ralph Teetor.

Guests of all ages can explore under the hood of a vehicle modeled after a 1914 Marmon Touring Car. In addition, children can climb into the driver’s seat of a mini Indy car and imagine what it would be like to cross the famed Yard of Bricks.

The Kiwanis Indiana Balloon Fest takes place at the Monroe County Fairgrounds. History on Wheels is included with the price of admission, which is $20 per carload, $30 for a weekend pass. The mobile museum will be open to the public Friday, Sept. 6, from 3 to 10 p.m.; Saturday, Sept. 7, from noon to 10 p.m.; and Sunday, Sept. 8, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. More information about the Kiwanis Indiana Balloon Fest is available at

History on Wheels is presented by Jiffy Lube of Indiana, supported by the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, fueled by CountryMark and made possible by a generous grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. A complete list of stops for the 2019 festival season is available at

Booking Information

Historical societies, libraries, museums, schools and other nonprofit organizations can book History on Wheels for two to three-day rentals. For reservation fees and booking information, contact Mark McNees, IHS History on Wheels coordinator, at (317) 234-2029

About the Indiana Historical Society

Since 1830, the Indiana Historical Society has been Indiana’s Storyteller, connecting people to the past by collecting, preserving and sharing the state’s history. A private, nonprofit membership organization, IHS maintains the nation’s premier research library and archives on the history of Indiana and the Old Northwest and presents a unique set of visitor experiences called the Indiana Experience. IHS also provides support and assistance to local museums and historical groups; publishes books and periodicals; sponsors teacher workshops; produces and hosts art exhibitions, museum theater and outside performance groups; and provides youth, adult and family programs. IHS is a Smithsonian Affiliate and a member of the International Coalition of Sites of Conscience.