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Staff Blog

Katie Arnold - Social Media and Interpreter
Conner Prairie guests probably recognize Dwight Gallian as being the blacksmith in Prairietown or the fur trader in Lenape. Others know him simply for the stories he shares with them. Gallian is best known for his storytelling abilities — he always has been. Since he was a child, he has been telling jokes and stories to his family.

“It’s just what I do,” he said. “It comes natural to me.”

BlacksmithFrom a very young age, Gallian has loved to read, specifically the stories by Mark Twain and O’Henry, the pen name of William Sydney Porter. He found inspiration for his method of storytelling in the style of both authors’ language. They never give too much away, he said. “Everyone sees a story differently in their mind. I want people to be able to paint the story in their mind, especially scary stories because the listener will create a scarier story in their minds.” Gallian also found inspiration in the stories of the authors themselves. He told me how Mark Twain’s life coincided with the appearance of Haley’s Comet. “He came in on the tail of a comet and got picked up on the tail of a comet.”

So I asked him, what is the secret to great storytelling? “People say they like my voice,” he said – interestingly, his voice is the thing he likes least about himself, he said. “I can see a story when I’m telling it. I’m telling pictures.”

Gallian said one of his favorite stories to tell has always been “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.” It is a favorite for many who have heard him tell it too. “There are so many things in Irving’s story that are factual at that time the unexplained became spiritual,” he said. Gallian extensively researches the stories he tells as he believes that understanding the context of stories in history helps him to convey them.

Today, Gallian is using his storytelling abilities as an interpreter at Conner Prairie and as an independently contracted storyteller. Although he will not be at Headless Horseman this year, you can still see him and hear his stories this fall. He will be one of the eight storytellers at this year’s Haunted Prairie on Oct. 30. The event will explore a hidden history of Conner Prairie as guests take a night-time stroll through the historic grounds, with eerie local legends, unexplained personal accounts and more. Gallian will be telling Day of the Dead stories at Nickel Plate Arts in Noblesville on Nov. 1.
Posted: 10/16/2014 3:30:19 PM by Conner Prairie | with 0 comments


Conner Scairie is a monster world inhabited by comical, fun-loving ghouls. It’s been left leaderless after its former mayor, Lord Moldywart, accidentally turned himself into a bunny with an errant spell. Now it’s up to the humans who visit Conner Scairie to elect the new mayor. Six of Conner Scairie’s illustrious citizens are vying to take control of this haunted town. Who will you vote for?

Since Lord Moldywort’s bunnyfication, Conner Scairie has been without a true leader. I believe that we need a mayor who is educated, responsible, charming and confident. That monster is me. I promise to lead the creatures of Conner Scairie to a better future, not simply put lipstick and rouge on them. 

After serving as a professor at the university for the past 1,000 years, I can say without hesitation that I know what it takes to make a society flourish. Lord Moldywort’s tenure as mayor has left the citizens of Conner Scairie in a chaotic state. I seek to bring order and honor back to our town.

Visit me at Conner Scairie so that I may better articulate in detail my plans for the future of our town. Vote for me at the next mayoral election.

I am your charming servant.
Posted: 10/16/2014 11:06:50 AM by Conner Prairie | with 0 comments


Headless Horseman is underway. From meeting all of the characters of Conner Scairie and casting your vote for who should be the next mayor to hearing the chilling tale of Sleepy Hollow and seeing the Headless Horseman for yourself during the hayride, this is one event that understandably has become a fall tradition for many individuals.

If you have enjoyed Headless Horseman – or any one of the other special programs that we put on for members and the general community throughout the year, have you ever considered becoming a member?

Your membership is an investment in the types of lifelong learning experiences that guests of all ages have come to expect from us. And, we give you some pretty great benefits, too. Every member receives free unlimited daytime admission and free parking.


Additionally, members get free admission to events like Headless Horseman, Glorious Fourth, Festival of Machines and Curiosity Fair. Members receive seasonal guides and up-to-date e-news, free admission to participating Smithsonian-affiliated museums, discounts to the Conner Prairie Store and Café on the Common, discounted tickets to 1859 Balloon Voyage, discounts to camps and other select programs and discounts at over 250 history museums across the country. You really can save a lot of money by becoming a member.

Now, here is a little information about each level of membership:

Individuals can become members for just $75 a year and they receive all of the benefits mentioned above.

If you have a family, you can sign up for the Family or Grandparent Basic membership for $90. The Basic package gets you and your family all of the aforementioned benefits.

If you want the best value for your family though, for an additional $30, you can upgrade to the Family or Grandparent Plus membership for $120. This will get you all of the member perks plus free Headless Horseman admission any night. You can bring two guests for FREE for daytime admission any day.  Also, you get priority registration for camps and an option of adding a designated caregiver.

Honestly, each level is great. The Plus memberships give you the most bang for your buck but they all offer great benefits.

With a donation of $150 or more, you become a member of the Donor Club and receive all of the Plus member benefits plus an Express Pass for the hayride at Headless Horseman, two guest passes to Headless Horseman, donor recognition.

Still not convinced? Come to Headless Horseman and see for yourself. You’ll have the option to apply the cost of your Headless Horseman tickets to the price of a new membership that same night. See you soon!
Posted: 10/14/2014 5:02:52 PM by Michele Stratton | with 0 comments


Conner Scairie is a monster world inhabited by comical, fun-loving ghouls. It’s been left leaderless after its former mayor, Lord Moldywart, accidentally turned himself into a bunny with an errant spell. Now it’s up to the humans who visit Conner Scairie to elect the new mayor. Six of Conner Scairie’s illustrious citizens are vying to take control of this haunted town. Who will you vote for?

Good day. I am Ed Nicksla and frankly I’m the only member of this town you need to know. As the mad scientist of Conner Scairie, I can say that I am FAR more powerful than any other creature in town.  I promise that if you elect me to be the next mayor of Conner Scairie, I will change the town forever. 

Come to my laboratory and I will help you understand the complexities of the monster world as me and my assistant, Esmeralda, attempt to bring one of my creations to life. Tell me really, which of the other candidates has the power to do that? Certainly not that child, Holly Ween.

We need to elect a creature that is powerful, cunning, talented and brilliant. That creature is me but only you hold the votes. Vote for the best. Vote for Ed.
Posted: 10/14/2014 11:57:35 AM by Michele Stratton | with 0 comments


Conner Scairie is a monster world inhabited by comical, fun-loving ghouls. It’s been left leaderless after its former mayor, Lord Moldywart, accidentally turned himself into a bunny with an errant spell. Now it’s up to the humans who visit Conner Scairie to elect the new mayor. Six of Conner Scairie’s illustrious citizens are vying to take control of this haunted town. Who will you vote for?


Hey everybody. I’m Harry Howler and let’s face it – I’m the coolest creature in Conner Scairie. When I heard about how Lord Moldywort turned himself into a bunny, I thought, “Man that stinks.” But then I was like, “Wait. That means I could be mayor.”

Forget about that stodgy old Dr. Acula. He is stuck up and because of this new diet he’s on, he smells like garlic. I should be mayor because I’m going to bring the “party” back to the Scairie. Creatures of all kinds make life too serious but I don’t agree. I like to have fun. I’m here to get you humans to rock out with me. Visit me if you wanna dance, sing scary-o-ke and have a howlin’ good time.
So vote for me, Harry Howler, to be the next mayor of Conner Scairie.
Posted: 10/13/2014 2:14:00 PM by Michele Stratton | with 0 comments


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The Art of a Storyteller
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Coming to Headless Horseman?
Ed for Mad Mayor
Harry Howler: Party animal