Founders of Ricker’s pledge $500,000 to restore historic Conner Prairie venue

170125 photo Rickers

Jay and Nancy Ricker founded Ricker’s Convenience Stores in 1979. He currently serves on Conner Prairie’s board of directors as chairman.

Staff Report
The founders of an Indiana fuel and convenience store chain pledged a major financial gift to Conner Prairie Wednesday night that will help restore a historic venue on museum property.

Jay and Nancy Ricker, founders of Anderson, Ind.-based Ricker’s Convenience Stores, announced their commitment to donate $500,000 to the museum at Conner Prairie’s 2017 Annual Meeting tonight.

The gift will help restore the museum’s Chinese House, located near 126th Street and Allisonville Road and used as a venue for private events, including weddings and corporate outings.

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Event, summer day camp attendance in 2016 hit record highs at Conner Prairie

170125 photo Treetop

Total attendance at Conner Prairie in 2016 was 391,261, up four percent from one year ago.

Staff Report
Special event and summer camp attendance helped Indiana outdoor history museum Conner Prairie achieve a record-breaking year in 2016.

A record crowd of 34,090 people attended the 33rd year of one of central Indiana’s most popular fall special events, Headless Horseman. The multi-night event in October offers haunted hay rides, spooky storytelling and fun family activities. A record 2,199 children ages 5-12 attended at least one week-long summer day camp at Conner Prairie last year.

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Pop-up maker workshop opens as temporary exhibit inside Craft Corner


A pop-up maker workshop which will allow visitors to explore woodworking and other activities is now open inside Craft Corner at Conner Prairie. The temporary exhibit will be open to visitors through April 19.

By Hannah Kiefer
A pop-up maker workshop has opened as a temporary exhibit inside Conner Prairie’s Craft Corner, a place where families with children ages 3 and up can experiment with tools and materials to see what they can make.

“We want to expand what we do for activities as far as making,” said Nathan Allen, historic trades manager at the museum. “This provides an opportunity for visitors to learn more about being a maker.” Continue reading

Lilly, Duke Energy, Hagerman Group execs elected to board of directors

Staff Report
Executives from Eli Lilly and Co., Duke Energy and the Hagerman Group are among central Indiana professionals elected to serve on Conner Prairie’s board of directors effective Jan. 1.

Five selections will serve three-year terms as elected board members while two selections will serve ex-officio, one-year terms representing entities that support the museum throughout the year – the Conner Prairie Alliance, a women’s volunteer fundraising group, and the Conner Prairie Horizon Council, a young professional’s group. Continue reading

New temporary exhibit allows visitors to experience balloon navigation


A mother and daughter explore balloon navigation inside a new temporary exhibit inside Create.Connect at Conner Prairie. The exhibit will be open until March 28.

By Hannah Kiefer
There’s something new to do inside Create.Connect at Conner Prairie. The finishing touches were recently put on an activity area themed around the 1859 Balloon Voyage experience outside, which is closed during the winter months.

This new activity area, open now through March 28 during regular museum hours, was designed to tell the story of how balloons navigate rather than simply how they lift off the ground.

Interactive elements allow visitors to experiment with navigation. Wall panels share about historical balloon navigation and how that navigation is used in balloon flights today. Continue reading