Artifacts from Conner Family Collection released for season-long program

chThe Conner House at Conner Prairie features the history and legacy of William Conner as well as an exploration through central Indiana’s history during the early 19th century. 

By Katie Arnold
Communications Specialist

Visitors to the Conner House often ask if the furniture and other objects found in the home are “real.” Did they actually belong to Mr. Conner when he lived there in 1823? For many of the pieces in the house, the answer is no.

Part of the reason for that is because when the Conners moved away from this house and to a new home in Noblesville in 1837, they took their belongings with them. However, over the years the Conner Prairie collections department has been able to acquire a number of artifacts that are indeed attached to the family. They also have a plethora of artifacts and reproductions that help tell the story of the Indiana lifestyle in the early 19th century.

This is why during the 2015 season, Conner Prairie will be continuing the Conner Vault program at the Conner House. Continue reading

Celebrate Arbor Day at Conner Prairie: Get a free tree, plant it at home

arbor_dayTwo young guests show off the new tree seedlings they received at Conner Prairie’s Arbor Day celebration in 2014.

By Katie Arnold
Communications Specialist

National Arbor Day is a holiday that often lives in the shadow of Earth Day, and is therefore sometimes forgotten about. Perhaps, students will help plant a tree at school, but often the celebration of this holiday ends there. This leads us to wonder, why is it important? Why have this holiday at all?

According to the Arbor Day Foundation’s website, this holiday is the result of two individuals’ passion for the preservation of nature. J. Sterling Morton and his wife loved nature. So much so that Morton used his position as a journalist at a respected Nebraska newspaper as a platform to write about the importance of planting trees in the territory. Continue reading

National Volunteer Week: Thankful for all Conner Prairie volunteers

fosterKathy Foster is one of hundreds of volunteers who help make Conner Prairie the wonderful interactive history park it is. Foster’s experience as a teacher helps her connect with children when she volunteers at Conner Prairie.

By Katie Arnold
Communications Specialist

There are many wonderful people at Conner Prairie who dedicate their time and talents to make each day great for visitors, but there are a few individuals who deserve an extra Huzzah for all that they do.

They are the ones that wear red polo shirts on the grounds, helping behind the scenes and in the forefront at Symphony on the Prairie, Curiosity Fair, Prairie Tykes, Festival of Machines and more. Some don a green apron and make caramel apples in the Apple Store as part of the Alliance. A group of young professionals in the Horizon Council leads adult-only events like History on Tap and Holiday Cheers. And yet others are much younger, and still in school. You see them in costume or blue t-shirts playing games and sharing stories in each of the historical areas. They are Conner Prairie volunteers, both adults and youth, and simply said, they are the best. Continue reading

Report from Texas: Research, personal connections give life to characters

texasInterpreter Maria Roe Thomas in character in 1836 Prairietown. During “Report from Texas” on April 18 and 19, Thomas will play Anna Lehman, who is concerned about her son’s safety since he is in Texas during the Alamo massacre.

By Katie Arnold
Communications Specialist

When guests come to Conner Prairie, they will encounter a variety of costumed interpreters who play composite characters in the historical areas. Composite characters are characters that blend together the lives of multiple people who actually lived in the past in order to represent a certain type of individual or lifestyle in history.

When Conner Prairie costumed interpreters take on a character in one of the historical areas, they are given the biography of a composite character. They are told who they are going to play and they learn the character’s story. Where are they from? Are they married? Do they have children? What is their profession? And more. All of these elements are laid out beforehand so each new interpreter has the background information they need to begin playing their role. In general though, these biographies are purposefully littered with holes that are to be filled by individual interpreters to help turn their characters into real people. Continue reading

Yarn bombing Conner Prairie, Hamilton County for a good cause

YBBefore yarn bombing landmarks around Hamilton County, we yarn bombed interpreter Mandy Billingsly, who knitted all these scarves. Over the next few days, keep your eyes peeled for these scarves as they pop up around the community, take photos and share them to enter our contest.

By Katie Arnold
Communications Specialist

What is yarn bombing? And why are we doing it at Conner Prairie? Yarn bombing, otherwise known as yarn storming, guerrilla knitting, or kniffiti, is a form of street art where yarn enthusiasts cover public spaces in colorful yarn creations. Sometimes it is done for a specific cause like supporting a foundation; other times, it is just a way to bring color to a lonely street corner.

Join us 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. April 18 for our second annual Yarn Bombing. Last year Conner Prairie held its first official yarn bombing to support Heartland Hospice in Indianapolis. Guests, volunteers and staff knitted colorful patches and hung them up along the main staircase inside the Welcome Center. All of the pieces that were created eventually were sewn together into blankets for patients. We hope that this year will be even bigger and better than before. We have set our sights high.

Continue reading