The Power of Poison

The Power of Poison


South Gallery on Level 3


This blockbuster traveling exhibition makes its next stop at the Indiana State Museum! With a newly extended closing date of April 22, you have more time to get here to experience poison’s roles in nature, myth and legend through interactive experiences and hands-on discovery.

Whether as a defense against predators, a source of magical strength, or a lethal weapon used as lifesaving medical treatment, The Power of Poison offers surprises at every turn for the entire family.

Magnified Spider

Poison in Nature

Journey down a jungle path into Colombia’s dense Choco Forest to find live golden poison dart frogs! Learn the deadly secret they use to keep from becoming dinner! Get up close and use a magnifying glass to examine oversized replicas of other creepy creatures that use toxins to protect themselves.


Snow White

Poison in Myth

Step into a mysterious and magical world in which fairy tales, myths and legends take place right in front of your eyes. Find a sleeping Snow White, Alice in Wonderland’s Mad Hatter and Macbeth’s three witches around a cauldron. Watch the story of ancient poisonings play out on terracotta pots, or turn the animated pages of a giant “enchanted” book of poisons.



Detecting Poison

Was it accidental or deliberate? Find the villains and victims of historical poisonings and the truth behind these mysteries. Put on your forensic detective hat to solve poisoning mysteries at the iPad game station. Participate in scientific demonstrations about historical murder-by-poison cases, and learn about triumphs in toxicology and poison detection.


Enchanted Book

Poison for Good

See a live rosehair tarantula, a 90-gallon salt-water tank filled with anemones, sponges, shrimp and other sea creatures, and a lifelike Yew tree whose bark is being used to develop a cancer treatment drug. Find out how poisons and venoms from snakes, lizards, plants, spiders and marine invertebrates can be used as powerful new medicines.



Additional activities and worksheets for students across a range of ages.

Includes a map, exhibit details, and a deeper look into the power of poison.


Did you know?

What do potatoes, eggplant, ackee fruit, cashews, castor beans, cherry pits and apple seeds have in common?

In large amounts, they are deadly! Find out just how much you have to eat for these items to become edible toxins.


Stop by the Power of Poison for a gallery demonstration, offered on the half hour from 10:30 a.m. - 2:30 p.m. Offered demonstrations include:

Venom vs. Poison
What’s the difference between venom and poison? Discover different poisonous plants and venomous animals that are located right here in Indiana.

Venom in the Body
Did you know that there are four venomous snakes here in Indiana? Learn more about each of these snakes and how snake venom can affect the human body.