Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum plans for renovation

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum is being prepped for a multi-million dollar overhaul that could include adding a 3-D theater, racing simulators and other interactive displays for racing fans.

Museum officials hope the renovation will make the facility more engaging and better equipped to tell stories about the area, The Indianapolis Business Journal reported.

Details of the project are still in the early stages, but preliminary plans call for the addition of two wings and a partial third floor. The renovation may also include the installation of see-through flooring so visitors can get a peek at the secretive collection that’s in the building’s vault-like basement.

“We need to figure out a way for the museum to tell the stories, not just about racing and this track, but how this track has had a major impact on the development of Indianapolis, the state of Indiana, and on automobile manufacturing and development in this country,” said Betsy Smith, the museum’s executive director.

The entire project will likely take five to six years to complete, according to museum officials. The capital campaign likely won’t launch for another two to three years. Once construction begins, the museum may be closed for up to 18 months.

“Every single system in this facility needs to be replaced,” Smith said. “We determined that it would be too difficult to keep it open while we rehabilitated the facility and made improvements. And it would take the project a lot longer to be completed.”

Museum leaders and local tourism experts hope the work on the museum will boost the area’s overall appeal.

“In terms of attracting visitors and bolstering tourism, cities lead with what they’re best known for,” said Visit Indy Vice President Chris Gah. “Orlando leads with Disney; we lead with the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Indianapolis 500.”

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