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Conner Prairie attendance up slightly in 2011

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Attendance at Conner Prairie Interactive History Park in Fishers increased slightly last year, due in part to the opening of its $4.4 million Civil War exhibit.

Visits to the park in 2011 increased nearly 2 percent from the previous year, to 218,063, Conner Prairie leaders announced Wednesday at their annual meeting.

Attendance in June alone jumped 23 percent from the same month in 2010. Leaders credited the park’s “1863 Civil War Journey: Raid on Indiana” exhibit, which opened during the month, for the increase.

Daytime attendance at Conner Prairie grew 3 percent, helped by 15-percent growth in member visits. Non-member visits in daytime hours fell 11 percent. Leaders attributed the decline to a wet spring and hot summer.

Conner Prairie this year plans to unveil improvements to its 1836 Prairietown feature, which opened in 1974. Buildings will be refurbished and programming added. A grand re-opening is set for June 9-10.

Park leaders said at the meeting that they’ll focus this year on growing the park's donor base. Giving and sponsorships on average make up 30 percent of museum revenue nationally, but just 5 percent of Conner Prairie’s revenue last year came from gifts, sponsorships and grants, leaders said.
 

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