Volunteers played critical role in 2015; Conner Prairie issues call for 2016 volunteers


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

    FISHERS, Ind. (Thursday, Jan. 28, 2016/Conner Prairie) – Thirty-five years ago, Phyllis Price was looking for something to do on the weekends when she saw an ad placed by Conner Prairie in the local paper seeking volunteers.

    At first, she was a greeter in the “old barn,” as she calls it, a building that used to be the museum’s Welcome Center. But soon after starting, she helped out in the museum’s store, usually behind the cash register. Price has also enjoyed helping with events, including Headless Horseman and Symphony on the Prairie.

    “I am so immersed in Conner Prairie that I can’t imagine not being there at least once a week,” she said. 

    In 2015, Price was one of 273 volunteers from primarily Fishers, Noblesville and Carmel who recorded 18,111 hours at a value of nearly $400,000.

    “Our volunteers are critically important in helping us provide an unmatched experience to our daily guests throughout the year,” said Volunteer and Internship Manager Jody Thomas. “We have opportunities throughout the year for volunteers of all ages with varying interests. They truly are part of our Conner Prairie family.”

    Potential volunteers for the upcoming season are encouraged to sign up online at connerprairie.org/support. Anyone with questions should contact Thomas at jthomas@connerprairie.org or (317) 776-6000, Ext. 264.

    Also last year, there were 100 youth ages 10 to 18 who volunteered at total of 19,577 hours at Conner Prairie throughout the year.

    “Youth do what our adult interpreters do, just on a kid level,” said Youth Experience Manager Sarah Morin. “They interact with the public in historic costume as fictional characters living in 1816, 1836 or 1863 Indiana, and in modern clothes at many of our destinations. They initiate conversations with guests, lead hands-on activities, teach Indiana history and help with behind-the-scenes work. They are also key players in special programs like Headless Horseman and Follow the North Star.”

    Emily Nyman of Fortville, Ind., set a new bar for hours volunteered by a youth in a single year. She gave 1,066 hours, breaking a record set in 2002. Now 18, Nyman continues to support Conner Prairie’s agricultural programs as an adult volunteer and plans to pursue a degree in animal science.

    About 60 percent of youth volunteers are Hamilton County residents. Three current youth volunteers came from Boston, Florida and the Middle East.

    Youth volunteers for the 2016 season have been selected and will be announced on Friday. For more about youth volunteer opportunities in the future, visit the youth volunteer section of connerprairie.org or contact Morin at morin@connerprairie.org or (317) 776-6000, Ext. 259.


    Spanning 850 wooded acres in central Indiana, Conner Prairie welcomes more than 360,000 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 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 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 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.