Progress on the Prairie

April 6, 2009

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.

Conner 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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