Event attendance, summer camp attendance set all-time records at Conner Prairie in 2016


    Duane Brodt
    Director of Public Relations
    Conner Prairie
    (800) 966-1836

    FISHERS, Ind. (Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2017/Conner Prairie) – Three all-time attendance records were set at Conner Prairie in 2016, the museum announced at its 2017 Annual Meeting tonight.

    A record crowd of 34,090 attended the 33rd year of the Headless Horseman fall festival. A record 2,199 youth attended summer day camps. And the Conner Prairie Alliance, an all-volunteer women’s group that raises funds for the museum, contributed a season record $100,000.

    "I arrived at Conner Prairie one year ago and since, I’ve had the chance to step back and see where we’ve been as an organization, study the direction we’re headed and work with my team to envision a new pathway for our continued success," said President and CEO Norman Burns. “We’re developing a new, 10-year master plan. Our dream is to explore the potential of our untapped resources, including the White River and the acres we own on both sides of its beautiful banks.”

    Burns shared several additional highs from 2016 with nearly 200 guests.

    Overall total attendance in 2016 was 391,261, up 4 percent from 2015, with daily general admission up 10 percent from the year prior. Membership grew by 9 percent to 7,947 households, including 37,606 adults and children and generating $704,000 in revenue. Members visited the museum 98,405 times in 2016.

    Additional noteworthy statistics:


    • 19,751 visitors took a flight on the 1859 Balloon Voyage experience
    • 50,808 school tour participants visited the museum
    • $2.3 million was raised through gifts and sponsorships
    • Total revenue for Conner Prairie in 2016 was $11,118,691
    • Expenses for the year totaled $11,108,749
    • 375 adult volunteers gave a combined 21,658 hours of service worth an estimated $500,000
    • 105 youth volunteers ages 10-18 gave a combined 20,328 hours of service
    • For the 11th consecutive year, Conner Prairie operated with a balanced budget


    Looking ahead to 2018, museum executives announced plans to create a new, permanent, year-round maker’s space. Currently, a feasibility study is under way as is a fundraising campaign to support the planned year-round experience area.

    “In keeping with the spirit of Conner Prairie, our maker’s space will highlight historic trades like pottery, textiles, woodworking and blacksmithing,” said Vice President, Chief Operating Officer Cathy Ferree. “This will be a place where we see generations of families working to build things together.”

    Spanning 800 wooded acres in central Indiana, Conner Prairie welcomes nearly 390,000 visitors of all ages annually. As Indiana’s first Smithsonian Institute affiliate, Conner Prairie offers various outdoor, historically themed destinations and indoor experiential learning spaces that combine history and art with science, technology, engineering and math to offer an authentic look into history that shapes society today.


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    Conner Prairie's mission is to inspire curiosity and foster learning about Indiana by providing engaging, individualized and unique experiences. Created by Eli Lilly in 1934, Conner Prairie combines history with science, technology, engineering and math and encourages visitors to explore Indiana’s natural and cultural heritage through hands-on, immersive and interactive experiences. Inspiring visitors of all ages to discover more about the events, discoveries and forces that shaped the American Midwest, Conner Prairie offers various historically themed, indoor and outdoor experience areas throughout its 800 acres of wooded property in Fishers, Ind. Indiana’s first Smithsonian Institute Affiliate and accredited by the American Alliance of Museums, Conner Prairie is a 501(c)3, non-profit organization that relies on grants and philanthropic donations from corporations and individuals for sustainability and growth. Visit connerprairie.org or call (800) 966-1836 for admission dates, hours, ticket prices and opportunities to donate and volunteer. Conner Prairie is on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Flickr and YouTube.