Kelsey Van Voorst - Staff Interpreter
Although more men than women work in the science field, women have made some amazing scientific and technological discoveries, inventions and advancements over the years. And, they continue to do so every day.
Those include the invention of the dishwasher, outdoor fire escape and windshield wipers; discoveries in the radiation, solar heat and HIV fields; and advancements in so much that improve the quality of our everyday lives.
Passport to Hi-Tech
Come to “Passport to Hi-Tech”
to ignite scientific curiosity in your own young girls and to encourage them to pursue hobbies, education and careers in the technology, chemistry, biology, engineering and manufacturing fields. “Passport to Hi-Tech” will take place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday, March 8. It is aimed at girls ages 7-12, but everyone is invited!
During your visit, you will learn while having fun in a plethora of hands-on activities and experiments. You will meet and hear from several local female leaders in the science and technology industries who are making a difference. And maybe they will recruit your kids to work with them some day!
Additionally, you can meet three women who made quite an impact in our scientific history – a few hundred years ago!
Come meet Marie Curie (1867-1934), the first woman to win the Nobel Prize! This physicist and chemist worked with radiation in the 19th century. Fun fact: Her notebooks are still so radioactive that they cannot be handled!
Come meet Mary Anning (1799-1847,) a fossil collector, dealer and paleontologist in the 1830s! Many of this fossil hunter's discoveries are still on display at the British Museum. Although was not a formally educated woman, scientists came from all over the world to dig with her.
Come meet Caroline Herschel (1750-1848), the first woman to be paid for her work as a scientist! Among her achievements is her discovery of eight comets in the 1700s.
Kelsey Van Voorst, shown in the videos, will play all three characters during “Passport to Hi-Tech.” The event will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday, March 8. IT is included in general admission tickets: $7 for ages 2 and older, free for members and youth younger than 2.
Posted: 3/7/2014 8:12:28 AM
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Edward Grogan - Senior Interpreter/FDR on Presidents Day
President Franklin D. Roosevelt (pictured far left) visited Conner Prairie on Presidents Day to speak about his views on rural electrification in the early 20th century. Please read this letter he has written to the American people. Then, visit Conner Prairie’s Create.Connect
area to help power new electrical appliances in a 1930s Boone County farmhouse and learn about the impact electricity made.
“My fellow Americans, I, Franklin D. Roosevelt, wish to talk to you on the subject of rural electrification. We are living in a time when there are great divisions among our people. In these difficult and uncertain times, we see a growing gap between the rich and the poor, the haves and the have-nots, and the urban and rural families. Some people have called me ‘a traitor to my class.’ I was born to wealth and privilege, but when you elected me to be your president, you elected me to serve ALL of the people, not just the wealthy few.
One of the gaps I see as I look upon our society is that those who live in towns and cities have access to the benefits of electric power, and those people on our farms and ranches do not. At this time, 90 percent of our urban population has electricity, but nine out of 10 farms do not. I am told that private companies are not willing to bear the cost of extending electricity to rural areas because it will be too costly to extend power lines into the countryside, and besides, the farmers are too poor to pay for electric power.
I, for one, am not willing to write off the people of our farms and ranches, the sturdy hard-working people who produce our food and our fiber. I believe the blessings of electric power should be available to our rural population. With electric power, our farmers will be able to light their homes and outbuildings, and pump water for their home and livestock. Electricity will bring efficiency to our dairy farms where cows can be milked by machine rather than by hand. Electricity will also help farm families refrigerate their food and keep their homes cool in the heat of the summer. Farmwives will be able to do their housework quicker and more efficiently with electrical home appliances. Electricity will help farm families increase productivity and their incomes and have radios, thus decreasing the isolation from the rest of the world.
With the help and support of Representative John Rankin and Senator George William Norris, I am issuing Executive Order 7037. This will provide federal loans for the installation of electrical distribution systems to serve rural areas of the United States. We will establish member-owned cooperatives that will purchase power on a wholesale basis and distribute it using their own networks of transmissions lines. The construction of new power stations and new power lines will create jobs and help end the crippling unemployment that has far too long gripped our nation.
In years to come, I hope to be remembered as the president who helped bring electricity to our rural citizens.”
Written by Edward Grogan, a senior interpreter who played FDR on Presidents Day at Conner Prairie Interactive History Park.
Posted: 2/24/2014 4:37:07 PM
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Barrie L. Borger - Conner Prairie Volunteer
Several years ago while visiting from Pennsylvania, my wife and I stopped in at Conner Prairie to see what my sister-in-law was raving about. She knew that I was a history buff and liked to see how things are done.
We were very impressed and really enjoyed our visit. As we were leaving, we were approached to see if we would like to buy a membership. We explained that we were from out of state, but would consider it if we ever moved closer.
In May of 2010 we retired and relocated to the Fishers area. The day before we closed on our home, we kept our promise and became members of Conner Prairie.
As members, we often received mailing about Conner Prairie news. One of those times we saw an article about the “1863 Civil War Journey: Raid on Indiana” exhibit opening in 2011, and since I have a real interest in that part of American history, I contacted Conner Prairie to see if I could get involved in that launch.
I was accepted as a volunteer and before I knew it, I was deeply involved in the launch of Civil War Journey and was attending meetings and giving input.
When the Civil War Journey opened, I was scheduled on Saturdays, greeting guests as they entered the new and exciting area. I would explain what they were about to encounter, share some historical anecdotes and give directions as needed.
Eventually, I changed positions and became the grounds greeter on Saturdays. My duties include welcoming guests, giving directions as needed and explaining areas that may be of interest. I try to let people know of any special events going on during the day, to help them make the most of their visit. I make sure that they have the map with the events listed. I love the reaction I get from the kids when I mention the baby animals in the Animal Encounters Barn.
I feel valued as a volunteer at Conner Prairie. The paid staff is grateful for the assistance I provide and the volunteer office staff is great. So, why don’t you join us?
** Interested in becoming a volunteer and proudly wearing a red shirt? Join Conner Prairie for a Volunteer Fair from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Feb. 22 in the Welcome Center. The fair is free and does not require registration. Must be 18+ to attend. **
Learn more about volunteering: https://www.connerprairie.org/Join-And-Support/Volunteer.aspx
Learn more about the Volunteer Fair: https://www.connerprairie.org/Newsroom/News-Releases/2014/Conner-Prairie-to-Host-Volunteer-Fair-February-22.aspx
Posted: 2/20/2014 11:31:45 AM
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Susie Alexander - Interpeter playing Mary Todd Lincoln on Presidents Day
Often when people think of fashion from the 19th Century, they think of clothing worn just for functionality – aprons, boots, etc. That is a myth. Fashion was just as much a part of culture in the 1800s as it is today, especially women’s fashion. Here is a preview of what you will learn about fashion from Mary Todd Lincoln, played by Susie Alexander, on Presidents Day, February 17, where we’re offering FREE admission from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.. You can even participate in her fashion show!
1860s Vogue: Fashion Tips from Mary Todd Lincoln (pictured left)
Most people think of the large skirts in the crinoline frames when they think of 1860s fashion. This actually began in 1856 and was fading by 1867. This new crinoline frame (think of hoop skirt) provided relief from wearing multilayered petticoats. Putting a dress or skirt over it required assistance as the wearer also had on a linen chemise, corset, "open" drawers and a petticoat. These crinoline frames were usually made of steel and cotton tape or horsehair filled cotton or, for warmth in winter, down-filled. Cage-like, they were later covered to avoid women putting feet through and tripping. Sometimes the bottom 8 inches or so was red to catch the eye! The usual circumference of the hem was 10 feet.
Pagoda sleeves (bell sleeves that widen toward bottom) were popular in day dresses, which then had undersleeves of cotton, cotton gauge or lace that could be detached for laundering. Many bodices had removable lace collars. Evening gowns had short sleeves and short gloves or lace fingerless mitts. Necklines were usually lower as well in the evening.
The range of materials and complex patterning available had grown by 1860 and people kept quite busy keeping up with increasing demand. Although it could be many months that fashion magazines would arrive in America, ladies looked forward to seeing the drawings of silks, wool, taffeta, velvet and all the many trimmings that decorated the gowns.
Bodices and skirts were often kept separate and, with the new sewing machines, more available. Home dressmaking increased as did the copious trimming, including beads, ribbons, fringe and pearl buttons.
Leading colors were mauve and bright purple along with brilliant pink. Black fringe was quite popular in setting off these lovely colors along with white lace. The large frames of the skirts lasted until 1867 then skirts started to be gathered up internally with ties forming a soft bustle with a bit of a train flowing behind.
Hairstyles of 1860 were generally middle-parted, swept back with hairnets or caps. Much lace, bows, flowers and such were used. Bonnets had small brims but could have intricate detailing such as feathers, large bows and wood beads wrapped in silk thread.
White stockings of silk or cotton were usual with shoes as colored stockings with boots. For evening, these were often embroidered. Reticules (small hand bags) were often embroidered and beaded, just in case the trimmings on the bodice, skirts, bonnets, stockings and hair were not enough! Long coats were impractical, so hip-length coats or unfitted jackets were used for warmth. Better yet, a very large shawl with even more fringe was the favorite since it was one more piece of clothing to decorate!
Posted: 2/13/2014 8:27:33 AM
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Edward Grogan - Senior Interpreter
Once again this year, it will be my privilege to portray President Franklin D. Roosevelt (pictured middle row, far right) at Conner Prairie’s Presidents Day program
. Last year, I was given the opportunity to portray FDR at Conner Prairie, and I jumped at it. My parents were married in 1931, after the onset of the Great Depression. The first year of his marriage, with a baby on the way, my father, who farmed in Benton County, Indiana, hauled a load of corn to town to sell. He was told he would not get enough for the corn to buy coal to heat his home during the winter, so he would be better off taking the corn home and burning it for heat!
My parents and grandparents eagerly voted for FDR in the 1932 election, and again, in three subsequent elections. I remember how my mother told me the men came in from working in the fields and the whole family would huddle around the radio to hear FDR give his famous “Fireside Chats.” Hearing the president’s address as he spoke in plain, simple, language, gave heart and hope to a nation hard hit by the ravages of the Great Depression.
At the time of FDR’s first election, 90 percent of urban dwellers had electric power, but roughly nine out of 10 farms did not. Rural Electrification was part of FDR’s New Deal. Within four years of the establishment of the Rural Electrification Administration, 25 percent of farm homes enjoyed electricity. By the time of FDR’s death in 1945, 90 percent of American farms were electrified. Rural electrification meant that previously isolated farm
families could now light their homes, preserve their food, pump their water, and operate farm and household appliances with electricity. Farms became more efficient and productive.
In addition to the REA and other aspects of the New Deal, FDR led the nation through the desperate years of World War II. Roosevelt managed the delicate task of preparing the nation to defend democracy and civilization from Axis aggression and totalitarianism. He came from a background of wealth and privilege, but was condemned as a “traitor to his class” because of his concern for the common people of the country. Despite having lost the use of his legs to disease, FDR was one of our most vigorous and tireless presidents. It is hard to imagine any other American political figure who could have carried on the struggle against Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan. He led this nation through the most difficult and perilous years of the 20th century. He was the only United States president to serve more than two terms in the presidency.
Reverence for the legacy of Franklin D. Roosevelt was universal in my family. The harshest thing I ever heard said about FDR was once when my mother conceded, “He shouldn’t have run for that fourth term.” Not everyone appreciates FDR and his legacy these days, but even his political foes admit he was a man of rare abilities who gave hope to the people in desperate times.
** Conner Prairie will open from 10am-5pm on Presidents Day, Feb. 17, with FREE admission to the public. FDR will be one of the many presidents you will meet, and they will each lead you in games, activities, challenges, discussions and more. With FDR, learn about the Rural Electrification Act, and help build electrical circuits to power appliances in a 1930s farmhouse. **
Posted: 1/31/2014 8:18:28 AM
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Female Science Leaders, Past & Present
A Letter from a President
Volunteering at Conner Prairie
Fashion of 1860's
FDR, an Appreciation