Conner Prairie in Fishers, Indiana is one of the biggest attractions for visitors to the Indianapolis area. Conner Prairie, named for the town’s original settler, is a living history museum that represents 19th century life. Complete with a pioneer village and period residents, Conner Prairie receives visitors from all over Central Indiana, as well as group visits from Indianapolis schools, scout troops, and other organizations seeking a fun, educational experience that makes Indianapolis history come alive.
Conner Prairie is comprised of the Museum Center, which features exhibits depicting 19th Century life in the Midwest; Prairie Town, a replicated pioneer village complete with a blacksmith, schoolhouse, pottery shop, and more; and several other segments that allow visitors to take a step backward in time. Don’t miss the Conner Homestead, which is believed to be the first brick house in Indiana. Or check out the way candles, garments, and other life essentials were made in early American culture.
One of the most unique museums in the world, Conner Prairie is best described as a living history museum where visitors go back to the prairie days of a century and a half ago. Guests enjoy an interactive experience with the staff who portray the life, clothing, speech and activities of the times.
The vast 1,400-acre land of this little prairie in the city (actually, it’s located just northeast of Indianapolis) thus constitutes a living historic Indianapolis Museum in the open air and offers an unrivaled opportunity to become immersed in the realities of prairie living.
Conner Prairie grew out of the restoration by the Indiana Historical Society of the historic William and Elizabeth Conners house. Today, the Conner Prairie property is divided into five historic categories, briefly described below:
This is a replication of a typical prairie village from 1836. Visitors get to interact with the villagers as if they were one of them, watch them cook in authentic kitchens and work the fields, even attend an authentic schoolroom and more that encompasses the entire gamut of prairie village life. All the staff members of Conner Prairie wear impeccably authentic garb of the 1800s.
The William Conner Estate
This amazing home tour meanders through the large Conner property, which consists of the brick home itself, the Loom House, the Garden, the Spring House, the Conner Barn and the Nature Trail. The staff in the William Conner Estate treat all visitors not as tourists, but as honored guests of William Conner himself.
The Lenape Indian Camp
One of the most popular public Indianapolis attractions, this large area presents not only an authentic trading post, a Quaker meeting house, and a working farm with all the necessities visitors can actually touch, but also traditional wigwams displaying the true culture of the native Lenape Indians. Hands-on experience goes so far as to allow guests to grind corn or help make a dugout canoe.
The Museum Center shop displays historic recreations of items from the time period, including gifts, decorations, gourmet food and jewelry from prairie days. Inside the Museum center are also many indoor exhibits, a meeting and banquet room for Fishers events, and storage collection rooms. Also in the museum area, visitors can enjoy the Persimmons Restaurant and a Fishers restaurant called The Eatery.
This large corner of Conner Prairie consists of these special life-sized installations: The Zimmerman’s Farm & Home, the District #2 School, Friends Meeting House, the Pennsylvania Bank Barn, the Log Barn and the Cedar Chapel Covered Bridge. Liberty Corner displays a living replica of a rural township from 1886. Guests can meet Mr. and Mrs. Zimmerman in their Victorian farmhouse, attend a Quaker meeting, do chores around the homestead, and even go to school.
There are always special event offerings at Conner Prairie, such as a Cornfield Treasure Hunt, a Farm Wedding reenactment, a country fair and historically accurate ball games. Conner Prairie also has a long list of classes such as metalworking, pottery and weaving hand-spun yarn on authentic looms.
Along with their special events and classes, Conner Prairie offers special home school and group programs, such as “Churning Up Chores,” “Gingerbread Jamboree,” “Prairie Holidays,” “Conner Prairie Gold Classic,” “On the Farm Experiences” and “Conner Prairie by Candlelight.” There also exists an extensive outreach program to teach school kids through interactive video-conferences.
Conner Prairie is one of the highlights of Indianapolis history and offers a view of historic Indiana culture. Visitors can make a quick trip or immerse themselves in history for a day. Shopping and dining are both available. To plan your visit and for hours of operation, visit their website www.connerprairie.org.
Conner Prairie Living History Museum
13400 Allisonville Rd
Fishers, IN 46038