Guide to Museums in The Bend

Every destination has its own story to tell. Museums tell these in unique ways by featuring history, art and culture. Use this as a guide to learning more about The Bend during your next visit.

Studebaker National Museum

One of The Bend’s crown jewels, Studebaker National Museum is home to one of the finest automobile collections anywhere. It covers 150 years of Studebaker history — from wagon makers to one of the country’s top car manufacturers. Some exhibits rotate, bringing in cars that aren’t necessarily Studebakers.

RELATED CONTENT: Classic Cars at Studebaker National Museum

Among the pieces at the museum is the largest collection of presidential carriages in the world. It includes the carriage president Abraham Lincoln took to Ford’s Theatre on the night of his assassination in 1865 by John Wilkes Booth.

The History Museum

An all-encompassing dive into local history, The History Museum includes exhibits on regional growth over the years and the pristine, 38-room Oliver Mansion. There’s also an exhibit on the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League, which was popularized in the film “A League of their Own.” 

RELATED CONTENT: Explore the Past at The History Museum

Civil Rights Heritage Center

Engman Public Natatorium opened in 1922. Now it’s transformed into the Indiana University South Bend Civil Rights Heritage Center. The center is committed to educating people on contemporary issues of social justice and civil rights. It documents, preserves and shares our area’s civil rights history, including the movement to integrate the natatorium.

South Bend Chocolate Company 

There’s only one way to experience the magic behind South Bend Chocolate Company — by touring it. You’ll get an inside look at how chocolate is made and an opportunity to make your own. Afterward you can check out the museum, which chronicles the history of chocolate making around the world. Reservations are best for large groups. The tour is 45 minutes long.

South Bend Museum of Art 

Located inside Century Center in downtown, the South Bend Museum of Art provides insight into the art, history and culture of the region. It includes five galleries with history and contemporary art, plus a shop with works from local artists.

Snite Museum of Art

Considered one of the finest university art museums in the country, the Snite Museum of Art contains more than 28,000 works that represent many of the principal cultures and periods of world art history. The 70,000 square-foot building is a treasure trove of wonderful art. It’s an iconic landmark on Notre Dame’s campus. And admission is free.

More Area Museums

Military Honor Park + Museum

NOTE: The museum is currently closed. The park remains accessible to the public.

The Military Honor Park and Museum is home to military artifacts from all branches of service and represents all branches of U.S. conflicts. Uniforms, weapons, artifacts and motorized vehicles are on display.

Potawatomi Conservatories

The Potawatomi Conservatories are an oasis of tranquility within Potawatomi Park. Wander paths through the lush tropical foliage of the Ella Morris and Muessel-Ellison Conservatories, explore the shapes and textures of succulent plants in the arid Arizona Desert Dome or just sit quietly in the peaceful surroundings.

Historic New Carlisle 

The local history museum in this charming small town explores early settlement, transportation, agriculture, businesses, architecture and more. Photographs and artifacts show how the community has changed over time. It also features a gift shop with locally-inspired items.