Progress on the Prairie

It’s good to see Conner Prairie thriving after the rocky years it endured earlier in the decade.

The Hamilton County attraction announced in
March that it’s the state’s first Smithsonian Institution affiliate, which basically means it has the
powerful Washington museum’s seal of approval. Conner Prairie is also dropping its living history museum
label and repositioning itself as an interactive history park.

The change in identity stands to broaden its appeal by moving Conner Prairie outside the museum
niche. It also reflects the addition this year of several new outdoor, interactive attractions, including
a balloon ride.

Prairie has come a long way since June 2003. That’s when Earlham College–then its trustee–dismissed all of Conner Prairie’s
independent directors. Earlham’s action sent Conner Prairie into turmoil and started a two-and-a-half-year power struggle
that ended when Earlham relinquished control at the end of 2005.

We always suspected Conner Prairie would soar once out from under Earlham’s authority. We expect
more great things after the economy begins to recover.


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