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Conner Prairie sees attendance, giving increase in 2009

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Conner Prairie saw increases in both daily admissions and giving in 2009 and ended its year in the black for the fourth time in a row.

The interactive history park in Fishers shared results at its annual meeting Wednesday evening.

Conner Prairie, along with many other museums and not-for-profit organizations, began 2009 in cost-cutting mode because of major endowment losses. The value of the park's endowment fell from more than $100 million in 2007 to $85 million at the end of 2008. CEO Ellen Rosenthal eliminated 19 jobs last March.

The launch of a new ballooning exhibit and ride likely boosted the history park's performance. Revenue from the 1859 Balloon Voyage was double projections at $200,000. Daily admissions rose 4.3 percent to 148,841 for the year. Conner Prairie also saw a 14 percent increase in giving, bringing in $854,710 in donations.

Total revenue and expenses for the year both totaled about $9.5 million. Conner Prairie's budget will remain at the same level for 2010.

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