2017: A phenomenal year in Conner Prairie’s history

As I mentioned at last month’s annual meeting it is always nice to report on record attendance, but I'm prouder of what this represents - nearly 429,000 smiling faces and memorable experiences that left Conner Prairie last year because of how they engaged with our creative staff and cultural resources while on site.

We did have record attendance of 428,602 for 2017, the highest since Conner Prairie was founded 84 years ago. We welcomed 37,341 more people than we did in 2016, which was itself a record year. Here’s a look at at some of last year’s vital statistics:

•    Visitors came from 46 U.S. states and 22 foreign countries
•    123,855 people attended Kroger Symphony on the Prairie, an all-time record
•    21,005 people rode our 1859 Balloon Voyage, which generated a record-annual revenue of $231,048
•    11,570 guests attended three free admission days, including a record 4,757 people on President's Day
•    8,267 families became members, consisting of 39,332 adults and children
•    575 adult volunteers gave a combined 41,273 hours of service to the museum and 100 youth volunteers ages 10-18 gave 120 hours each throughout the year

Also, Conner Prairie received a national award for exhibit excellence from the American Alliance of Museums for the reimagined and reinterpreted William Conner House. We were also named one of the most-visited outdoor museums in the U.S. by Education.com, Ancestry.com, Family Living Magazine and Outdoor History Museum Forum.

Of course we would not have been able to accomplish all of these activities last year without our creative, passionate and dedicated staff and volunteers who made it all happen for the guests and members that participated in Conner Prairie programs during 2017.