Fun-filled free day allows children of all ages to learn about U.S. presidents

Nicole Livingston (left) of Indianapolis spent President’s Day at Conner Prairie with 8-year-old daughter Joanna and 6-year-old son A.J.

Staff Report
Seven-year-old Zaylee loved going to George Washington’s birthday party on President’s Day at Conner Prairie. She learned that the face of first president of the U.S. is one of the four faces carved in Mt. Rushmore.

Her older brother, 9-year-old Zion, loved learning about wind technology, how one wind can blow another wind the other way. “That was neat,” he said. “I didn’t know winds could do that.”

And the oldest of the sisters, Monyay, 12, didn’t want to go inside the museum’s new makerspace area at first. But once she saw all the activity, she grabbed a hammer and some nails and started pounding. “I also got to saw some wood,” she said. “Maybe I’ll build something someday.”

The Indianapolis siblings were three of 1,415 guests let their senses – and their curiosity – lead them in learning about Indiana history on a free admission day Monday. Continue reading

Performers gel at work, on stage as comedians at ComedySportz

Conner Prairie interpreters Kelsey Van Voorst (left) and Bill Wilkison recently performed together at ComedySportz in downtown Indianapolis.

By Christine DeJoy
Kelsey Van Voorst and Bill Wilkison know how to make Conner Prairie visitors laugh and have a good time. They take their love of comedy and their jobs seriously.

When they’re together, the infectious energy and laughter that permeates the room is obvious.

“You love coming to work because you know it’s going to be fun,” Kelsey said. Continue reading

Hundreds of visitors join together to celebrate legacy of Martin Luther King Jr.

Hundreds of visitors enjoyed free admission to Conner Prairie on Monday in celebration of the life and accomplishments of Martin Luther King Jr.

By Christine DeJoy
Monday, Conner Prairie offered free admission to celebrate the life and accomplishments of Martin Luther King Jr.

Asante Children’s Theatre shared songs of freedom and hope and a “choreo-poem” version of Maya Angelou’s “Still I Rise.” Guests enjoyed performances throughout the day that shared stories about accomplished African-American Hoosiers.

Children also had the opportunity to explore Conner Prairie’s indoor exhibits, including the new Makesmith Workshop makerspace, Create.Connect and Discovery Station. Families gathered together learn about protesting injustice and the archaeology of historic African-American communities and share their dreams for the future.

The next free admission day to Conner Prairie is President’s Day on Feb. 19.

New indoor field trip that explores science, history launches this month

A new indoor field trip experience is being launched this month at Conner Prairie that allows students to explore science and learn how it has helped shape Indiana’s history.

Staff Report
A new indoor field trip experience launches this month at Conner Prairie that will allow elementary students and homeschoolers to explore science and learn how it connects to Indiana’s history.

The museum’s educational team piloted “Exploring Indiana History and STEM” last year with students in fourth grade from two Fishers elementary schools.

Staff created eight different stations using the museum’s Create.Connect exhibit as a starting point– stations at which students could work individually and together to explore science, technology, engineering and math concepts and overcome some sort of challenge. It takes students about 20 minutes to navigate each station. Continue reading

Performances to celebrate lives, contributions of influential black Hoosiers

Staff Report
Black Hoosiers: Untold Tales” is a new collection of museum theater performances that celebrates the lives and contributions of African-American Hoosiers that will be performed from 7-9 p.m. Feb. 3, 10, 17 and 24 at Conner Prairie.

Each evening will include a performance of “Rhodes Family Incident,” a 30-minute play written by Crystal V. Rhodes and in collaboration with Asante Children’s Theatre, that tells the story of two contemporary college students who grew up in Westfield, Ind., and discover a historical racial incident that challenges their notions of identity and their hometown. Continue reading