Long-time donor involved with Conner Prairie since its inception

By Katie Arnold
Communications Specialist

PatRooneyPat Garrett Rooney is one of only a few who can honestly say that they have been a part of Conner Prairie since its beginnings in the mid-1970s.

Through the years, she was a board member and served as interim executive director. She has given financially to the museum. And she even played Mrs. Curtis as a costumed interpreter in 1836 Prairietown.

Pat has been a Conner Society member for 11 years. The Conner Society is an exclusive club of Conner Prairie donors. Members enjoy a host of benefits based on their level of support, including invitations to special events, behind-the-scenes tours, exclusive previews of new exhibits and experiences and more. Continue reading

Coming to Curiosity Fair? Enjoy ‘making’ with Nickel Plate Arts

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ickel Plate Arts will be hosting a “Make Do” activity at this weekend’s Curiosity Fair, giving guests of all ages the chance to build whatever their imagination inspires them to build.

By Katie Arnold
Communications Specialist

Among all the science demonstrations and shows of this weekend’s Curiosity Fair, many interactive activities will be hosted by some of Conner Prairie’s great community partners, one being Nickel Plate Arts. The group will help festivalgoers build a large cardboard cardinal sculpture. Guests can help Nickel Plate, 3D Parts Manufacturing and Club Cyberia put the giant sculpture together.

“Nickel Plate Arts is all about promoting the arts by creating fun artsy experiences that everyone can participate in,” said Nickel Plate Arts Executive Director Aili McGill. “We want to help people explore the arts from all angles and flex their creative muscles whenever possible. Curiosity Fair is a perfect fit for us as it’s a celebration of exploration and experimentation.” Continue reading

Audience engagement successes shared with Russian museum counterparts


Russian museum staffers visited Conner Prairie in December and then invited Rosie Arnold to visit them and share her expertise in engaging audiences. She researched many things about the country before departing May 26.

By Melanie Hayes
Communications Specialist

Does Rosie Arnold know how to speak Russian? “Nyet,” she said, smiling and shaking her head. Besides “no,” she only knows how to say the words hello, please, thank you, yes, English and bathroom.

Rosie, education program manager at Conner Prairie, left on May 26 for two weeks in Russia and hopes to pick up a few more words along the way – and insight into how Russian museums function. The real goal of the trip is to help several Russian museums incorporate Conner Prairie’s successful audience engagement practices.

As part of a cultural exchange program through the International Center, in the last few years Conner Prairie has hosted five groups of international visitors who work in various fields, including education, non-profits, technology, youth programming and more. Rosie has been the one to give them tours of our grounds, background on our operations and overviews of Conner Prairie and our programs. The last group came in December and included eight Russians who worked at museums, most of them open-air. Rosie talked to them about Opening Doors, our programming and how we reach children. She also took them through a holiday program. Continue reading

It’s a girl: Second generation of English Longhorn born

This new English Longhorn heifer was born two weeks ago at Conner Prairie.

By Katie Arnold
Communication Specialist

Spring has brought with it new goats, sheep, piglets and calves to Conner Prairie. We now have a new English Longhorn heifer, adding to our herd of rare breed animals.

This newest heifer, born two weeks ago, is the first calf born to Elizabeth, the first English Longhorn calf born at Conner Prairie. “She’s pretty special,” said Livestock Manager Kevyn Miller. “We’re building a herd. That’s what we want.” Continue reading

Conner Prairie president, CEO Rosenthal to retire at end of year

Ellen M. Rosenthal announced today that she will retire as president and CEO of Conner Prairie at the end of the year. She assumed leadership of the museum in 2003.

Staff Report
She’s been at Conner Prairie for 16 years, 12 of them as the museum’s top executive. Today, Ellen M. Rosenthal announced to staff members that she plans to retire at the end of the year.

Her focus on experiential, hands-on learning, visitor immersion and visitor curiosity today attracts more than 360,000 visitors annually, a far cry from annual attendance numbers when she assumed leadership of Conner Prairie in 2003 and then became president and CEO two years later.

“This was one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever made,” Rosenthal told employees. “As I looked back on what I set out to accomplish when I took over, I realized how much we’ve completed and realized that it was time to retire.” Continue reading