Experience area close-up: 1836 Prairietown

Prairietown has always been set in 1836. Since the 1970s, it has had the characters that Conner Prairie visitors know and love today.

Staff Report
Next in our series examining our outdoor experience areas, we’re taking a look at one of our older areas: 1836 Prairietown.

The Prairietown area, originally called the Village, began as just a few buildings from around the state salvaged by Eli Lilly, who was particularly interested in the trade shops, such as the blacksmith and pottery shops. In 1964, Lilly gave Conner Prairie to Earlham College and some tours began, led by farm wives and volunteers. During that year, the number of visitors was only around 2,500, an amount the museum welcomes on a single busy summer day today.

Ten years later, in 1974, the Village opened to the public, with first-person interpretation adopted by the staff. By the mid-1970s, most of the buildings that are in Prairietown today had been placed there, although some have been moved around in the decades between 1970 and today. Continue reading

Kroger new title sponsor of Symphony on the Prairie at Conner Prairie

Conner Prairie President and CEO Norman Burns speaks at a news conference Tuesday announcing that Kroger is the new title sponsor of Symphony on the Prairie at Conner Prairie.

Staff Report
Symphony on the Prairie starts its 2017 series with a new title sponsor.

Conner Prairie President and CEO Norman Burns joined executives with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra Tuesday to announce that Kroger will sponsor Symphony on the Prairie for the next four years.

This season will be the 36th season of the popular concert series held at Conner Prairie, which typically draws nearly 120,000 each season. This year’s concert series begins June 16. Continue reading

Exhibits director selected for international executive education residency

Staff Report
Brian Mancuso has been with Conner Prairie since 2012, leading efforts to conceptualize and create new exhibits and reinvigorate others.

As director of exhibits, he has led a team of five and outside vendors to make Create.Connect, Discovery Station and Craft Corner, Treetop Outpost and most recently the reimagined William Conner House.

Next month, he’ll head to California as one of 62 others selected for residency in an international executive education program for museum leaders.

Mancuso’s residency is through the Getty Leadership Institute at California’s Claremont Graduate University. He will be part of an international group hand-picked by the institute that includes participants from the U.S. and eight other countries. He’ll take part in a program designed for mid-level managers tapped as the next generation of museum leaders.

Before joining Conner Prairie, Mancuso was director of exhibits at the Health Museum in Houston, Texas. Originally from Tampa, Fla., he earned a bachelor’s degree in museum studies and history from Baylor University and a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction from the University of Nebraska.

Supported by the Getty Foundation, the Getty Leadership Institute focuses on fostering learning, thought leadership and networking for museum leaders. The institute has 1,600 alumni from 40 countries.

Experience area close-up: 1863 Civil War Journey

In 2011, 1863 Civil War Journey opened at Conner Prairie.

Staff Report
Over the next couple of weeks, we’ll be diving deeper into another experience area: 1863 Civil War Journey.

Civil War Journey opened in 2011 due in large part to the many requests received from school groups to have some sort of Civil War experience for students to go through. That year also happened to mark the 150th anniversary of the Civil War.

Unlike other Conner Prairie experience areas, when visitors step into Civil War Journey they’re traveling back to a specific day – July 13, 1863, the day after Confederate Gen. John Hunt Morgan raided the Indiana town of Dupont. Continue reading

Tickets on sale now for June 2 craft beer event History on Tap

Those who attend History on Tap at Conner Prairie can both sample craft beer from the area’s leading breweries and learn about the history of home-brewed beer.

Staff report
On June 2, adults 21 and older are invited to join Conner Prairie for a one-of-a-kind craft beer event on its historic grounds. More than 20 local breweries – along with several home brewers – will be at the museum to offer tastings, demonstrations and talk about the history of brewing.

History on Tap is presented by the Conner Prairie Horizon Council, the museum’s young professionals group.

Along with these events, guests will also be able to enjoy sunset balloon rides on the 1859 Balloon Voyage if the weather’s good and interact with costumed interpreters ready to join in on the revelry in 1836 Prairietown. Continue reading