Staff Blog

Homeschool Days
Rosie Arnold - Education Programs Manager
Last year, Conner Prairie welcomed more than 1,400 guests during our inaugural Homeschool Day at Conner Prairie. It was a huge success.

So this year, we’re having Homeschool Days at Conner Prairie – that’s right, two of them, on Sept. 9-10.
We’re offering our school group rate of $5 per student to all homeschool families on these special days.

The educator in each family will receive free admission to Conner Prairie and any accompanying adults will receive a reduced admission rate of $8.50.

During our Homeschool Days, our grounds will be alive with all the wonderful things Conner Prairie has to offer. Homeschool students can play history detective at the Conner House, step into the role of a Civil War soldier, strike a deal with our fur trader at Lenape Camp and come up a brand new invention in Create.Connect. Throughout the day, students will be able to connect what they see and do with topics they’re studying, from social studies to science, technology, engineering and math.

Our education team will be on hand throughout Homeschool Days to answer questions about how the experiences at Conner Prairie can connect with academic standards and curriculum goals.

We’re excited to share information with you about all the programs we offer throughout the year to keep the learning going.

We look forward to seeing you Sept. 9-10.

Posted: 8/26/2014 5:04:32 PM by Michele Stratton | with 0 comments

Rosemary ArnoldRosemary Arnold - Education Programs Manager
Long ago, there was a man named Weh-hee-xa-MOO-kes. People thought Weh-hee-xa-MOO-kes was very foolish. He was, however, the wisest man in the village. He pretended that he wasn’t intelligent but the strange things he did taught people many important lessons.

One day, some hunters said to Weh-hee-xa-MOO-kes, “We’re so very hungry. We wish we had turkey dipped in grease.” When the hunters returned that evening, they found Weh-hee-xa-MOO-kes dipping a freshly killed turkey in a kettle of grease. It hadn’t even been cooked and its feathers were still on. “Weh-hee-xa-MOO-kes,” a hunter said. “What are you doing? Why are you dipping that turkey in grease? You’re supposed to clean it and cook it first.”

“Shey a mah lee-unt-PUN-ney,” Weh-hee-xa-MOO-kes said. “You should have told me so. You only said you wanted turkey dipped in grease. Now you have it.”

The Lenape taught this story so that children would choose their words carefully. “Mean what you say,” the Lenape would caution. “Words are important. They can cause much harm or they can do a lot of good and they should not be used lightly.”

This story, from “The Algonquian of New York” by David M. Oestreicher, is just one example of the rich culture of the Lenape – or Delaware – Indians who lived in central Indiana 200 years ago. In 1795, they came to Indiana after being pushed from their original home on the East Coast to make way for European-American settlement. When William Conner arrived in Indiana around 1800, he settled among the Lenape. His first wife was Lenape and his sons would go on to become leaders in the tribe. But by 1820, the Lenape were again pushed west.

Woodland Indian School ProgramNow in the 21st century, the traditions of the Lenape live on and are celebrated in their traditional music, dance, storytelling and dress. This fall, Conner Prairie will once again highlight this priceless piece of Indiana’s heritage with its “Woodland Indians: Art and Culture” program featuring Lenape presenters from the Delaware Tribe of Oklahoma, where the Lenape tribe is now headquartered.

From Sept. 29 through Oct. 3, Conner Prairie will offer a school experience during which students will rotate through six sessions. At the end of the week, Conner Prairie will host a special Saturday public program. Each day will feature a demonstration powwow. Audience members will be invited to participate in the dances and music with the performers.

“The Woodland Indians: Art and Culture” program will be held from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. The cost is $6 per student and adult chaperone. Teachers and school staff are free. The public program will be held at 1 p.m. Oct. 4 and is free with general admission.

For more information, contact Conner Prairie’s Guest Services office at (317) 776-6006.
Posted: 8/20/2014 3:48:51 PM by Conner Prairie | with 0 comments

By Social Media Specialist Katie Arnold
Last week brought Conner Prairie’s 2014 Adventure Camp to a close.

There were 10 sessions of Adventure Camp, each one lasting one week. Campers got the opportunity to explore Conner Prairie and swim, fish, canoe, paint, learn about horses, practice their archery skills, go water sliding, make their own ice cream and much more.

"We go to the historic portions of Conner Prairie and so much more," said Adventure Camp counselor Lauren Miller, a Purdue University student. "We do something new each hour."

Campers also form new relationships with fellow campers and their counselors. Returning campers remember us from the year before, Miller said. Counselor Brandon Pearce agreed. "Campers look up to us and have told me that they want to be camp counselors when they grow up. For me, that is a great compliment."

After spending time with Miller and Pearce, it's obvious that the summer camp experience at Conner Prairie is as rewarding for them as it is for the campers.

"After one season of camp, I learned that I have to work with children, Miller said, who originally thought she'd pursue a major in pharmacy. " So I switched my career path to speech therapy.

Pearce also benefits from his counselor experience. "I've always loved children, so I can really open up here," he said.

Posted: 8/11/2014 9:33:56 AM by Guest Blogger | with 0 comments

By guest blogger Michele Crew

In Prairietown, visitors to Conner Prairie are immersed in life as it was back in 1836. Guests join citizens in their daily tasks, celebrations and other activities. There are weddings, auctions, games, neighborly banter and disputes.

But one aspect of life that isn’t often discussed in Prairietown is the subject of death and the way in which people coped with mortality.

For many Americans living in the early 19th century, death was a part of daily life, an event that was reflected on and remembered through a variety of traditions and personal beliefs. Religion played a role in helping people through the loss of loved one. A common theme that arises in many historical accounts is that those who have gone on before no longer suffer and have moved on to a better place. People who were aware that their time was near would tell their families that they had prepared themselves and that they should not worry and hoped to see everyone again soon someday.

Prairietown citizens and guests will be able to discuss and explore these concepts when Lydia Hawkins is laid to rest in the Prairietown cemetery Saturday, August 9. Hawkins was close friends with the Curtis family in town, who has offered their home to the Hawkins family for the ceremony. The Curtis home will be a place for Hawkins’s coffin to be held until the funeral service and a place for friends and neighbors to gather.

Being Methodist like the Curtis family, Hawkins’s husband has requested Brother Brownfield, a travelling Methodist leader, to perform the service. As part of the service, hymns will be sung using the shape note method, a popular style of singing from the late 18th century into the early 19th century at revivals and religious meetings. Shape note singing does not follow the traditional method of sheet music reading as it uses simple shape notation and is sung a cappella. This method of singing was communal in its style as it allowed people of all backgrounds and education to partake.

Following the service, guests can join the family outside the Curtis home to help remember Hawkins and partake in funeral biscuits, a traditional cake or cookie served as a token of remembrance. These funeral biscuits were sometimes stamped with symbols or even wrapped with paper printed with hymns, religious verses or other similar text.

Outside of Prairietown, Shannon Cable, a Civil War re-enactor and presenter on mourning practices, will offer both a modern and historical perspective on mourning traditions with her displays that contain a variety of objects, including mourning jewelry and photographs.

Posted: 8/1/2014 4:14:34 PM by Guest Blogger | with 0 comments

Liz Gold - Guest Blogger and Local Photographer
As a photographer, I love the golden hour – a time just before sunrise and sunset where nature shows us her softer side. Beautiful, warm tones including gold, red and orange are abundant. It’s energizing and completely captivating and my favorite time of day.

Lucky me, I live near Conner Prairie. One of the many programs Conner Prairie offers is Conner Prairie at Dawn, a window of time from 7-10 a.m. once a month where adults can enjoy the quiet solitude of the park with no one around and nothing going on except the stillness of nature. A limited number of guests enjoy hiking, photography, painting, sketching, yoga and usually a group class if they wish to attend.
Liz Gold Photography
Conner Prairie at Dawn

The morning of July 19, my husband, sister-in-law and I woke up before sunrise to ready ourselves for our first Conner Prairie at Dawn. Together, we hiked through the park and enjoyed time as a family.  Camera in hand, I took photographs of the landscape, flowers, houses and others who came out to enjoy the solitude. We met other photographers, a couple of painters and a yoga class taking place in the Featherston Barn. Our instructor was kind enough to let me take an action shot of her when the class was finished.
Liz Gold Photography
Conner Prairie at Dawn

One of the best parts of the day was that some of the Conner Prairie animals were up and active. We’re all animal lovers so it was fun to see how they naturally act without a crowd of visitors. From a photography perspective, animals are great for practicing action shots because they are always moving around. Overall, it was the perfect opportunity to capture some great images without fear of being rushed.
Liz Gold Photography
Conner Prairie at Dawn

As a community, I feel we’re incredibly lucky to have a place like Conner Prairie that offers such programs for adults.It might sound cliché but I think most would agree that life rushes us too much. How lovely it is to have a quiet place to go and smell the roses once in a while.

Interested in experiencing Conner Prairie at Dawn? Please see Conner Prairie at Dawn.
Guest blogger Liz Gold is a photographer based in Carmel, Ind. Visit Liz Gold Photography for more details and to see additional images.
Posted: 7/28/2014 8:31:59 AM by Michele Stratton | with 0 comments

Recent Posts
Homeschool Days Offered September 9 & 10
Teachers: Bring Your Students to the Woodland Indians Program
Adventure Camp - A Blast for Campers AND Counselors
Funeral Re-enactment Sat., Aug. 9 in Prairietown
Conner Prairie at Dawn - Peace, Tranquility & Great Scenes