1863 Civil War Journey

The Journey to Provide Civil War History in Indiana

Conner Prairie’s 1863 Civil War Journey opened in 2011, thanks to the generous support of individual, corporate, and foundation donors who contributed more than $4 million to bring this experience into reality. Heralded as a progressive new experience, Civil War Journey was the first exhibit at Conner Prairie to fully combine technology with historic first-person interpretation. Its primary goal was to teach guests about in-state Civil War engagements, which most Hoosiers were unaware of. 

image of people in the Dry Goods Store

Here, guests stepped into the story of July 13, 1863, in the southern Indiana town of Dupont, shortly after Confederate General John Hunt Morgan and his forces raided the town. Guests interacted with local residents and experienced immersive technology-driven presentations.  

When conceptualized, Conner Prairie hoped that Civil War Journey would be available to guests for ten years. As of 2024, we have achieved and surpassed that goal, estimating that nearly four million children and adults have visited this exhibit, creating lifelong memories.  

Guests have shared:

  • “I didn’t know Morgan and his raiders came this far, didn’t realize there would be localized resistance.”
  • “[I learned] that there were kids younger than my age still enlisting in the army to help save Indiana from Morgan’s Raid.”
  • “I did not know the part that Indiana played in the war, so it was interesting to hear it from that perspective.”
  • “It seems that Conner Prairie has modernized, but preserved the integrity of learning about history, so it makes it fun for the whole family.”

The Impact of this Experience

Within the exhibit’s first year, 79% of visitors indicated their visit made them want to learn more about the Civil War and 82% wanted to learn more about Indiana history.

Civil War Journey was a continuation of Conner Prairie’s leadership and innovation in the museum space when it opened in 2011. Now, our museum is entering its next decade of growth and innovation. This year, 1863 Civil War Journey will close as a part of the natural conclusion and transition of museum exhibits, after 13 years of successful memory-making and history education. 

The Next Chapter

Civil War Journey was an impactful and immersive experience like none other in our community. In spring of 2024, guided by our Master Experience Plan, we will begin using this space south of the covered bridge to test new themes and concepts that will inform the development of Conner Prairie’s next long-term exhibit for the area