Huzzah for Sue Payne!

Nominated by Carol Emmert

Sue Payne

Sue continually shows her heart for the past by her work in the loom house and the textiles studio. She helps visitors to the grounds find meaningful connections to machines, fibers, colors/dyes, and handicrafts by not only introducing them to our Indiana history of textiles, but helping them find the modern equivalents in their own lives, or in the dye plants in the garden.

She also shares her head for the present each and every day as she mentors the 30+ youth involved with the spinning teams. She sets aside time each year to focus on close mentorship of a handful of youth leaders within the program and pours into them so that they take ownership of the skills needed to mentor their own spinning teams. She constantly encourages the youth to share their own skills and often alerts them to outside events or opportunities to use and improve their skills.

She continually keeps her eye to the future for Conner Prairie and the textiles programs. Sue often garners donations from community leaders to help offset the costs associated with the youth textile program, and she works as an ambassador to the greater fiber/textiles community. One such example was the recent Heritage Livestock Conference of the Livestock Conservancy held at CP in November. Sue, along with CP Board Member David Day, held a breakout session where they shared the history of the youth spinning program with conference attendees. The conference attendees were wowed by the knowledge and poise of the youth spinners.

Conner Prairie has benefitted immensely over the years from Sue and how she shares her love of textiles, children, and our museum with the world! In a world where we encourage our youth to go be whatever they want, Sue always, always, reminds them to do it with kindness.