March 14, 2022

Indiana State Museum’s Major Taylor exhibit features an interactive cycling experience

Photos of Marshall Major Taylor taken by French photographer Jules Beau around 1906. - National Library of France/public domain

Photos of Marshall Major Taylor taken by French photographer Jules Beau around 1906.

National Library of France/public domain

The life of world champion cyclist and Indy native Marshall “Major” Taylor is on exhibit at the Indiana State Museum. Visitors can see artifacts from Taylor’s life and how Indiana viewed the sport of professional cycling in the late 1800s.

Curator of Social History Kisha Tandy said the exhibit invites visitors to interactively experience Taylor’s life as an athlete.

“They will have the opportunity to try to beat Major Taylor in a time trial,” Tandy said. “So, they'll have an opportunity to get on a bike and see if they can compete with him and win.”

Taylor was born in Indianapolis in 1878 and became known as the world's fastest cyclist in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. He battled racism and inequality on and off the track and is credited with blazing a trail for other Black sports heroes like Jackie Robinson, who broke Major League Baseball's color barrier more than 50 years after Taylor began racing.

Tandy said it’s important that all exhibits in the museum have an Indiana connection and the unique artifacts can show history in ways that books sometimes cannot.

“That was one of the things about Major Taylor is that we have the materials in the collection to help tell the story,” Tandy said. “We had the documentation of his travels. We had the images that could help support the exhibit.”

The exhibit runs through Oct. 23.

Contact WFYI All Things Considered newscaster and reporter Terri Dee at tdee@wfyi.org. Follow on Twitter: @terrideeisme.

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