February 2, 2018

Conner Prairie Looks To Grow Following Record Attendance Year

Lindsey Wright/WFIU

Lindsey Wright/WFIU

Conner Prairie experienced its highest ever attendance rate last year, up by more than 37,000 people  from 2016. Officials are exploring ways to continue growing the outdoor museum.

The organization launched a new exhibit last month called the Makesmith Workshop, which helps kids learn skills like sewing, pottery and woodworking.

Officials started a 20-year site master plan last year in hopes of continuing to add new programs like the Makesmith Workshop, for example.

Norman Burns, Conner Prairie’s President and CEO, says the organization owns more than 1,000 acres of land, but only uses about 60 acres for programs and exhibits.

“We currently are doing nothing on the west side of our property which is the river road side of the property,” Burns says. “So, if we wanted to expand and have programs on that side, what would that look like, how would we get people there both from transportation and perhaps bridges over the White River, so we can actually connect both sides.”

Conner Prairie will also open a new outdoor experience this March, called Fort Hoosier, which promotes free play in nature. It’s an expansion of the organization’s Treetop Outpost exhibit.

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