Preserving the Past & Building the Future: McAdams Foundation and Mission Impact Fund

created by dji camera

Kathleen McAdams has had a unique connection with Conner Prairie throughout her life, from attending special events to shuffling grandkids to and from Adventure Camp. Today, Kathleen’s connection to Conner Prairie remains strong, as a donor to the Mission Impact Fund, supporting the wide range of programming that guests experience each day.

Kathleen first became familiar with Conner Prairie as a volunteer with the Indiana Historical Society where she recorded books about Indiana for people with visual impairments or disabilities. As a thank you to volunteers, the organization provided appreciation events held at Conner Prairie including an Old-Fashioned Christmas Dinner and hayrides during Headless Horseman.

“As I recall, the Old-Fashioned Christmas Dinners were really fun to attend. We sat at long tables and had food served by the costumed volunteers…The visits to Conner Prairie were always special. I was excited for the next opportunity to go there,” Kathleen remembers.

Around this same time, Kathleen’s daughter, Marti, had five children who all attended summer camps at Conner Prairie. Kathleen would help pick up the kids after camp and listen to their stories of the adventures they had each day. To this day, Kathleen believes that Conner Prairie “is a place for an amazing education for a child’s growing up years as well as a place where they might possibly have a great future as an adult.”

In addition to enjoying the fun and educational programming at Conner Prairie, Kathleen has a personal connection to Shen Ho Shi. Years ago, one of her sister’s good friends lived in the home. Every summer, Kathleen would visit Shen Ho Shi (or “Mr. Lilly’s summer home” as she called it) with her sister, creating fond memories. When the Museum revealed plans in 2017 to update Shen Ho Shi, the McAdams Foundation made an early investment in restoring the home.

“Obviously [the home] had deteriorated over the years, but it was still elegant with unique pieces of furniture, pictures, and the Chinese symbols that were painted on the ceiling,” Kathleen shared, “Overall, the renovation of Shen Ho Shi has captured the ambiance of the past.”

With so many connections to Conner Prairie, it’s no wonder that Kathleen remains an enthusiastic advocate of the museum today. The McAdams Foundation is proud to contribute to Conner Prairie’s Mission Impact Fund, supporting learning and play, history and preservation, nature and agriculture, and so much more that Conner Prairie offers.

“I would encourage parents to spend as much time as possible with their children at Conner Prairie,” Kathleen shares, “It is definitely a place that is keeping up with the times while always preserving the past. Donations help to make that continue for the future.


Learn more about how you, too, can support Conner Prairie’s mission through our Mission Impact Fund, which makes possible the many activities, exhibits, and educational experiences that take place at Conner Prairie.