Reynolds Farm Equipment Gives $375,000 to Conner Prairie, Becomes Sponsor of Major Exhibit
Director of Public Relations
FISHERS, Ind. (Wednesday, Jan. 28, 2015/Conner Prairie) – The iconic helium balloon that has flown high in the central Indiana sky since 2009 has a new sponsor, a company well known throughout the Midwest.
Reynolds Farm Equipment is now the presenting sponsor of the 1859 Balloon Voyage experience at Conner Prairie, an interactive history park north of Indianapolis. Through 2019, the company will provide $375,000 -- $75,000 annually – to support the balloon and its new exhibit space currently under construction.
The original balloon that debuted in 2009 was decommissioned in December. A new one that prominently features Reynolds Farm Equipment’s corporate logo will begin flying on March 26, weather permitting, when the park opens its outdoor grounds for the 2015 season.
"Reynolds Farm Equipment and the entire Reynolds family have been wonderful supporters of Conner Prairie in a variety of ways for decades,” said Conner Prairie President and CEO Ellen Rosenthal. “The company understands our mission, realizes how important it is for us to receive philanthropic support and sponsorships and cares deeply about our future as we continue to accomplish our five-year strategic development plan.”
Gary Reynolds, president of Reynolds Farm Equipment headquartered in Atlanta, Ind., has served on Conner Prairie’s board of directors since 2010. His family has supported Conner Prairie since 1987. The company sells farm equipment in Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky.
In November, Reynolds, wife Cindy and the company announced a $1 million pledge to support Conner Prairie’s five-year strategic development plan.
The 1859 Balloon Voyage experience is currently under construction as new experiences to tell the story about how the balloon signifies an important part of Indiana’s past are being created. That past includes the world’s first-ever successful air-mail delivery via balloon.
In 1859, 20,000 people gathered in Lafayette, Ind., to watch a manned balloon intending to deliver mail to New York City. When winds blew in the wrong direction, however, renowned balloon pilot John Wise was forced to land near Crawfordsville, Ind. The mail was ultimately delivered to New York City by train.
“We chose this story as the basis for the exhibit because it represents a little known yet important piece of Indiana aeronautical history and opens another door for us to include the history of science and technology in exhibits, experiences and programming,” Rosenthal said.
Additional funding support for the exhibit has been awarded by Hamilton County Tourism, the William Brooks Fortune Charitable Lead Annuity Trust, Conner Prairie Alliance, the city of Fishers and the Allen Whitehill Clowes Charitable Foundation.
Spanning 800 wooded acres in central Indiana, Conner Prairie Interactive History Park located in Fishers, Ind., welcomes more than 340,000 guests of all ages annually. Five outdoor, historically themed destinations and indoor experiential learning spaces combine history with science, technology, engineering and math and offer an authentic look into history that shapes society today.
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Conner Prairie is a nationally acclaimed interactive history park. Its 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 experiencing. 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 only 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 317.776.6000 or 800.966.1836 for admission dates, hours, ticket prices and opportunities to donate. Connect with Conner Prairie on Facebook at facebook.com/connerprairie, Flickr at flickr.com/people/connerprairie, YouTube at youtube.com/user/ConnerPrairie and Twitter at twitter.com/connerprairie.