Conner Prairie Blog

Family Staff Connections Important to Conner Prairie

December 31, 2021
Conner Praire Staff

Scientists have debated for years whether we each have seven doppelgangers in the world, or only one. If you visited Conner Prairie any time in 2021, the idea of look-alikes might have crossed your mind — several times — with good reason.  While Conner Prairie doesn’t have any identical twins on staff, we did have…

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Building Community Connections through American Sign Language Programs

November 29, 2021

Conner Prairie is a special place — a portal to a time very different to our own. When a visitor arrives, they are confronted with the physical reality of another era: sights, sounds, and smells — bells ringing, murmurs in a schoolhouse, the myriad of stimuli associated with a petting zoo. These are the things…

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The Will To Plan

October 15, 2021
Father and daughter enjoying a hay ride

The term “family” means different things to different people, and I fully understand and appreciate that.  Regardless of your definition, I imagine your family is the most important thing to you. You are always there for them and are willing to help whenever possible. Have you thought about how you can protect them when you…

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The Journey of Belonging

October 8, 2021
Preschool Students Playing In Sandbox

“In its silent way, belonging is the central conversation of our times.” – Toko-pa Turner The Process of Unlearning The Student Experience Research Network defines belonging as “the sense that one is valued and respected in a given context” (Belonging Now: New Insights from Research and Practice, 2020). As organizations, schools, communities, and humans strive…

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New Adult Volunteers Encouraged to Join the Conner Prairie Alliance!

September 23, 2021
Conner Prairie Alliance members dipping caramel apples in the Conner Prairie Apple Store

The Conner Prairie Alliance is excited to re-open its annual Apple Store at Conner Prairie on September 15th and is accepting new adult members into the Conner Prairie Alliance!   As a member of the Conner Prairie Alliance, you will have the chance to dip our famous caramel apples and serve our frosty cider slushies to…

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Endless Exploration: Your Conner Prairie Membership

September 10, 2021
Guests Playing A Game With Prairietown Interpreter

“Hey, Conner Prairie, when can we come back?” This is a question asked by many intrepid explorers at the end of busy days spent at Conner Prairie. Frankly, they make a good point. There are many reasons to keep coming back; maybe the carpenter mentioned a project he’s working on this week and you’re itching…

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Spending the Day at Conner Prairie (An Itinerary for Adults)

September 1, 2021
Balloon Over William Conner House

As a 20-year-old, working at Conner Prairie this summer as an intern has truly been a blast. I ventured to the museum  often as a child for school field trips, weekend adventures and to experience the Haunted Horsemen. Yet, I hadn’t been back for awhile- until I started working here. For many adults and young…

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WE ARE storytellers: A look at Planting and Growing and Fonseca’s Role in Amplifying Voices

August 24, 2021
Fonseca Theatre Company actors rehearsing a play

Understanding the Importance of History Martin Luther King Jr. once said that, “We are not makers of history. We are made by history.” Not all History is told accurately or fully. It’s up to us as artists, historians, and frankly everyone, to take the initiative to see the complexity of America’s  past and current struggles…

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Arts & Arms – Crafts of the Past

August 17, 2021

Through making items, we connect the present to the past by gaining an appreciation for hand-crafted items that have survived generations. One of my favorite places growing up was my dad’s workshop. Working alongside my dad, he taught me the tricks of carpentry he had learned when framing houses in his college days. My father…

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What Food Reveals About Ourselves

August 17, 2021
Veggies and eggs in baskets on table

Whether you are indoors or outdoors, resting on cushions on the floor or sitting in front of TV trays on living room couches; every day, in every home, a table is set for people to gather around and eat. Depending on social, cultural, religious, and economic status, the setting changes. What doesn’t change is the…

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The Third Teacher

August 11, 2021
Preschool Students Exploring Conner Prairie Grounds

Wherever you are right now, stop, look up, and then scan the space you are in. How would you describe it? Use your senses to notice what your space looks like, feels like, smells like, sounds like, and yes, even tastes like. Take a minute to fully recognize your environment. Does this sound a little…

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Exploring History Through Conner Prairie’s Chautauqua Series

August 11, 2021
Stereograph Of Madison, Indiana Chautauqua – July, 1901

Stereograph of Madison, Indiana Chautauqua – July, 1901 In 1878, the Chautauqua Literary and Scientific Circle (CLSC) was founded to provide those who could not afford the time or money to attend college (or those excluded because of gender or geography) the opportunity of acquiring the skills and essential knowledge of a college education. The…

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Wedding Traditions Throughout History

August 9, 2021
1820 Country Wedding by John Lewis Krimmel painting

When we think of weddings, we first think of three words: money, money, and money. An elaborate white dress, DJ’s lighting up the dance floor, and a feast fit for a king are all staples of modern weddings, but this has not always been the case. In the early 19th century, weddings often featured less…

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Learning History, Culture, and Inclusivity Through Youth Theatre

August 3, 2021
Asante Children’s Theatre actors

Through the Academy Summer Intensive produced in partnership with Asante Children’s Theatre and Conner Prairie, Indianapolis children are able to learn both the art of theatre and American history along the way. The Program of the Asante Art Institute of Indianapolis is specially crafted for youth actors ages 12 to18 years of age. Through an…

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How Do You Play?

July 14, 2021
Clown and audience member interacting

In 1994, at 25 years of age, I penned, produced, and performed my first one-man show, He Can Amuse Himself for Hours. Chicago Reader critic, Justin Hayford, viewed the work as an examination of, “…[T]he impossibility of having a genuine experience.” The show was a collection of personal play memories set against the relief of…

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Historic Baseball in Indiana

July 8, 2021
Historic Baseball teams pose for a team picture

Baseball is a sport rooted within American culture. While the sport was born in America, today it is played in over 100 countries. Growing up, I have fond memories of going to the Indianapolis Indians games and watching the Cubs on TV. My brother played little league and my whole family would come together to…

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What July Fourth Means to History

June 30, 2021
Celebrating Glorious 4th at Prairietown

Every July Fourth holiday I have experienced has been different from the year before. Some years I celebrate with my family in our backyard with delicious hot dogs and bright sparklers; other years I’ve enjoyed The Fourth at a friend’s house for a pool party. Most recently I visited my aunt’s house where we watched…

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Ignite Your Curiosity as a Youth Volunteer

June 9, 2021
Youth Ag Volunteer

Becoming a Youth Volunteer at Conner Prairie When I was 9 years old, my mother called me over to her computer one day to show me some information she’d found online regarding a youth volunteering program at Conner Prairie. I was in that stage of life that nearly every child goes through, where the idea…

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The Art of Unlearning: Where Children Become their Own Teachers

June 8, 2021
Student Using Colored Shapes on Projector

I want you to imagine what early learning looks like. Do you imagine tiny, child-sized desks, the alphabet on the wall, and an explosion of primary colors? Do you think of a teacher at the front of the room while children try to listen? What about the pain of trying to get a child excited…

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Life at 377 Feet: The History of Conner Prairie’s Hot Air Balloons

June 4, 2021
Silhouette of 1859 Balloon Voyage at Sunset

While traveling and camping west of the Grand Canyon National Park years ago, my spouse and I took in a 30-minute ranger talk one evening entitled, ‘What it feels like to be a canyon’. My eyes rolled a bit at the topic, but hey, we were tourists. Fast forward 30 year and  I now sometimes…

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Summer Celebrations: Freedom for All?

June 1, 2021
Emancipation Day Celebration in 1900

Stephenson, Mrs. Charles (Grace Murray). [Emancipation Day Celebration, June 19, 1900], photograph, June 19, 1900; ( accessed May 26, 2021), Austin History Center, Austin Public Library. Fireworks, cookouts, family reunions, and vacations are traditional scenes of American summers. Top summer celebrations include that of family and freedom from Memorial Day to the Fourth of July.…

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Things That Go Bump in the Night: Nocturnal Animals at Conner Prairie

May 28, 2021
Conner Prairie Grounds at Sunset

Indiana’s Nighttime Visitors to the Prairie The scurry of small feet, the sound of almost-silent wings sailing by, and eyes that reflect back from the bushes. These are the signs of night-life on the Prairie that I often catch glimpses of after the rest of the grounds have fallen silent. Conner Prairie—and Indiana—is home to…

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Being Your True Self at Conner Prairie

May 28, 2021
Andrew Bradford with his family

A Commitment to Diversity, Equity, Accessibility, and Inclusion “Separate or together?” “One-check or two?” These are questions my husband and I receive regularly in Central Indiana, and throughout the Midwest. We will go to breakfast with our kids and receive questions and comments about what our wives may be up to while we are out…

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Tips for Dementia Caregivers: Experiencing a Dementia-Friendly Museum

May 20, 2021
Memory Cafe at Conner Prairie

Caring for someone with Alzheimer’s disease, or another type of dementia, can be a stressful and emotional journey. You’re not alone. In the United States, there are more than 16 million people caring for someone with dementia. Caregiving can make the biggest difference to a loved one’s quality of life – and that is a…

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Happy Hour on the Horizon: 2021 History on Tap

May 20, 2021
Live music at History on Tap

WE ARE Makers and Mixers After a year cooped up indoors, Summer 2021 is approaching and I’m seeking all the opportunities to adventure outside and safely attend events. Maybe that’s you too? If so, I hope you plan to join the Conner Prairie and the Horizon Council at the 9th annual History on Tap on…

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2021 International Heritage Breeds Week at Conner Prairie

May 18, 2021
Tunis Sheep

International Heritage Breeds Week: May 16th – 22nd International Heritage Breeds Week is upon us (May 16th-22nd) and I know the Agriculture (Ag) staff and I are excited about all of the extra programs we have developed to allow our guests to dive deeper into our heritage breeds at Conner Prairie. This week, we invite…

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A Passion for Animal Preservation

May 14, 2021
English Longhorn Heritage Breed

When people ask me what I do for a living, I sometimes struggle to explain. Saying, “I manage the livestock and agriculture experiences at Conner Prairie,” just feels lacking because what my team does here at Conner Prairie is so much more than can be summed up in a simple sentence.  When people find out…

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Adventure Camp at Conner Prairie

May 10, 2021
Camper showing off his archery target

A look at the Social and Emotional Benefits of Summer Camp Of all the fun activities that campers enjoy at Conner Prairie Adventure Camp, shooting archery is always among the most popular. Over a given summer, thousands of campers will send tens of thousands of arrows zipping towards a foam target. Of all those arrows,…

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The Impact of a Simple Seed

May 6, 2021
Conner Prairie Garden

Some of my earliest memories of family revolve around gardening.  I remember “dancing” in the seeds as I followed behind my dad as he planted; snapping green beans for the quarts of beans my mom canned each year. I would dig for the buried treasure that was homegrown potatoes and harvest sweet corn that went…

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‘April is the Cruellest Month’

April 28, 2021
Blue Buffalo statue overlooking field

The Beauty of Poetry Twenty-five years ago, the American Academy of Poets launched National Poetry month. Since 1996, April has been a time to celebrate and explore the wonder of words that is the poem. Poetry is often perceived as difficult, by writers and readers alike, but we’ve subconsciously adopted bits of poetry as a…

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