History is not dead, dusty or boring when museums like Conner Prairie engage their audiences in ways that are relevant to today and create memorable experiences

History is not dead, dusty or boring at Conner Prairie and many other museums across America when its relevance to today’s society is evident through stories and activities of the past that engage guests and allows them to use this information  to make informed decisions about the future. History is relevant, meaningful, and significant when it helps nurture personal identity and creates a sense of place for individuals.

Special free admission days, like our celebration of Martin Luther King Jr.’s life and legacy on January 16th and President’s Day on February 19th, help introduce a new audience to history, its influential leaders and to Conner Prairie. We did not have record attendance at these special programs during 2017 because they were free, but because we freely gave access for guests to discover their own place in the stories of our families, communities, and nation. Stories of freedom and equality, injustice and struggle, loss and achievement, and courage and triumph need to be heard and learned. If they are not then another lesson of those who do not learn or heed history will be true again and again – those who do not know their history are doomed to repeat the mistakes of the past.

When we learn the stories of other individuals and groups that have come before us and shaped the world in which we live it balances our perspectives and opens our minds to alternative viewpoints. Shared stories and experiences from our pasts strengthen our connections and commitment to one another and enable us to have constructive dialog about what matters most in society today. The reason that history is not boring at Conner Prairie is because we open the door to a space for these shared stories and experiences to be told, heard and learned.