Hog butchering to show how 1800s families prepped for winter months ahead

Two hogs will be butchered this week at Conner Prairie to show how families in the 1800s planned for life in the cold winter months ahead.

Staff Report

This week, two hogs will be butchered in 1836 Prairietown during Holiday Adventures. These events are open for members and the general public. The butchering will occur at the Golden Eagle Inn.

The butchering aligns with goals from the Conner Prairie Foodways Program, which seeks to inspire guests to learn more about Indiana’s past through sensory experiences with food. The hog butchering reminds guests that during the 1800s, about one hog per person was butchered as part of a family’s winter harvest to provide food for the next 6 to 8 months. Continue reading

Q&A: Retiring president, CEO Ellen Rosenthal

Ellen Rosenthal has been president and CEO of Conner Prairie since 2003. She came to the museum in 1999, guided it through its quest for independence and changed its operation from a traditional outdoor living history museum to an interactive history park focused on providing hands-on, immersive experiences for all visitors.

Staff Report

As Ellen Rosenthal prepares for her last day at the helm of Conner Prairie, she takes time to answer some personal questions about her time as president and CEO. Her last day on the job is Jan. 4.

Q: What do you plan to do in retirement?
A: I wish I could say I was retiring to move to Bali to find inner peace. However I’m retiring to take care of my 92-year-old mother. I hope to also find time to pursue interests – the arts, books, writing, genealogy, exercising (I signed up for the mini-marathon) and travel to visit dear friends in Italy and England.

Q: What brought you to Conner Prairie and kept you here?
A: The stars aligned to bring me to Conner Prairie from Pittsburgh. I’ve always worked in history museums but never in a living history museum. I thought and still think living history is a magical and powerful way to present the past. Conner Prairie offered me a job and then IU Health offered my husband, an oncologist, a position. Indianapolis seemed to be a great place to live and raise children (we have three boys) so we moved 16 years ago.

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Youth volunteers ages 10-18 sought for 2016 season; application deadline Jan. 8

The deadline for youth ages 10-18 to apply for a youth volunteer position at Conner Prairie in 2016 is midnight Jan. 8.

Staff Report

Conner Prairie is looking for enthusiastic youth to join its youth volunteer program for the 2016 season. The program teaches youth ages 10-18 history and skills in a hands-on, immersive and fun environment.

Youth volunteer in both historic costumes and modern clothes in Prairietown, Lenape Indian Camp, Animal Encounters, Civil War Journey, the textiles department and more. Youth also volunteer at special events that Conner Prairie stages throughout the year.

Young volunteers enjoy learning about history and science, leading people and activities, public speaking and hard work. Youth are required to volunteer for one full year and achieve a minimum of 120 hours.

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Reproduced quilt with unknown origin 30 years in the making, donated in ’74

Textiles specialist Jessica Madsen helps hold the reproduced quilt. Work on the quilt began nearly 30 years ago and finished this year near the end of November.

By Hannah Kiefer
Social Media Specialist

After nearly 30 years, employees and volunteers in the Textile Shop have finally completed the reproduction of a quilt with mysterious origins.

The quilt was donated to Conner Prairie in 1974 in poor condition, although the task of reproducing it didn’t begin until 1987. A description states the quilt was used as an internal stuffing on a bench at Sugar Grove Friends Church in Plainfield. Because of its repurposing, the quilt has many rips and tears and stuffing is coming out in places. The quilt itself is a patchwork of more than a dozen different colors, patterns and textures of fabric.

“It’s really designed to use every little last piece of fabric,” said Jessica Madsen, one of the textile specialists who worked on the quilt. “This is not the sort of quilt that usually gets put in the books.”

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Women’s group exceeds $1 million in raising funds for Conner Prairie

Many members of the Conner Prairie Alliance gathered for the group’s 2015 Annual Meeting on Dec. 14, during which it was announced that the Alliance has exceeded the $1 million milestone in raising funds to support Conner Prairie.

Staff Report

A women’s volunteer group founded more than 30 years ago has achieved a major fundraising milestone for supporting central Indiana museum Conner Prairie.

At its Annual Meeting today, the Conner Prairie Alliance announced it has raised $1,077,123 for the museum since the group was founded in 1984.

All of the funds that the Alliance raises each year come from its operation of the Apple Store at Conner Prairie. In the fall, the store opens for just two months and offers a variety of seasonal treats, most notably hand-dipped, gourmet caramel apples. This season, the store’s 30th one since opening in 1985, the Alliance raised $85,000. Continue reading