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Children's Museum of Indianapolis Features Mud at Its Finest

He says there are other examples of decorative concrete work in the museum, such as sand matrix at the entrance to the museum and some intermingled imprinted work.
Photos by Kara Lindsay, courtesy of Shepherd’s Construction Co. Inc.

The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis, one of the largest children’s museums in the world, debuted a 7,400-square-foot exhibit in 2011 that features a replica of the tomb of ancient Egyptian pharaoh Seti l. Aptly named National Geographic Treasures of the Earth, the permanent exhibit is floored with what resembles old mud or earthen sandstone throughout the passageways and burial chamber. And this time around the “mud” is none other than concrete.

National Geographic Treasures of the Earth, the permanent exhibit is floored with what resembles old mud or earthen sandstone throughout the passageways and burial chamber.

Mike Shepherd of Shepherd’s Construction Co. Inc., who has done significant amounts of work over the years for the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis, was responsible for the floor of the exhibit, which also houses replicas of China’s renowned Terracotta Warriors, a collection of sculptures depicting the armies of the first emperor of China, dating to around 200 B.C.

“They wanted something unique and interesting,” says Shepherd, a long-time Bomanite licensee. “We used Bomanite thin-set material at 3/8 of an inch that we imprinted with a cracked earth pattern. It looked like old dirt on a riverbed.”

All totaled, he and his firm installed 2,000 square feet of the Bomacron imprint system’s Dried Earth texture along with another 4,500 square feet of the Bomacron Coquina Texture, Bomacron San Ysidro Brick, Bomanite Florspartic 100 and Bomanite Custom Polishing Systems.

Shepherd also used a stacked bond oversized brick pattern and did some decorative flake epoxy flooring for the same exhibit. “It’s unique,” says Shepherd, “and it’s worth visiting.” All totaled, he and his firm installed 2,000 square feet of the Bomacron imprint system’s Dried Earth texture along with another 4,500 square feet of the Bomacron Coquina Texture, Bomacron San Ysidro Brick, Bomanite Florspartic 100 and Bomanite Custom Polishing Systems.

The Children's Museum of Indianapolis exterior dinosaur.

Dinosaur outside the Children's Museum of Indianapolis

He says there are other examples of decorative concrete work in the museum, such as sand matrix at the entrance to the museum and some intermingled imprinted work.

During 2008 and 2009, Smock Fansler constructed a hardscape at the museum as part of a new entry facility. The company provided decorative and structural site concrete and infrastructure along with natural stone landscaping elements.

Walkway at the Children's Museum of Indianapolis surrounded by concrete pyramids.

Concrete wood plank bridge at the Children's Museum of Indianapolis

According to Joe Davee, a project manager and Smock Fansler vice president familiar with the job, the project presented a challenging combination of decorative and standard finishes.

Awesome ribbon of stamped concrete sections off exposed aggregate
Photos courtesy of Smock Fansler

“Narrow detail strips of stamped concrete, stone slabs and boulders that blended seamlessly with cast-in-place concrete walks, and large sculpture foundations had to be fully functional to support the life-sized dinosaur statues while remaining invisible,” he says. “The end result was an immersive landscape full of familyfriendly access to the new entry facility with numerous areas to explore on the grounds outside.”

Other Indianapolis Decorative Concrete Featured by Concrete Decor

Benesse Healing Garden

Melvin and Bren Simon Cancer Center, IUPUI

JW Marriott Art Plaza

Auburn Cord Duesenberg Automobile Museum, Auburn, Indiana

Streetscapes in Carmel

Castleton Square Mall, Indianapolis

Greenwood Park Mall, Greenwood, Indiana

Tilt-Up Buidling: 620 N Delaware St.

The Green County Viaduct, Tulip, Indiana

Hoosier Patriot Memorial, Washington Park East Cemetery

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