Conner Prairie to Launch New $4.3 Million Exhibit

The new exhibit will use projected images and video along with theatrical sound and staging, hands-on experiences, and live action to bring the drama of Civil War Indiana to life.

updated: 12/1/2010 12:42:43 PM

[UPDATED] Conner Prairie to Launch New $4.3 Million Exhibit

InsideINdianaBusiness.com Report

Conner Prairie Interactive History Park will open a new $4.3 million Civil War exhibit in the summer. Officials at the Hamilton County museum say 1863 Civil War Journey: Raid on Indiana is being funded through a capital campaign and is almost half way to its goal. The exhibit is scheduled to open June 4 and will mark the 150th commemoration of the beginning of the Civil War.

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December 1, 2010

News Release

FISHERS, Ind. – Conner Prairie Interactive History Park, Indiana’s only Smithsonian Affiliate, announces its newest exhibit, 1863 Civil War Journey: Raid on Indiana, to open June 2011. This exhibit integrates technology with Conner Prairie’s legendary first-person interpretation in an outdoor setting to create a new kind of guest experience focused on personal stories during the Civil War in Indiana.

This $4.3 million exhibit will open to the public on June 4, 2011 and tell the story of Gen. John Hunt Morgan’s cavalry raid through Indiana during July 1863. It will use projected images and video along with theatrical sound and staging, hands-on experiences, and live action to bring the drama of Civil War Indiana to life. 1863 Civil War Journey: Raid on Indiana utilizes a unique blend of interpretive technologies and techniques to immerse guests in a pivotal moment in Indiana history, as Hoosiers respond to Morgan’s Raid through southern Indiana. Guests will take on the role of civilian volunteers from Indianapolis sent south to defend the state from the Rebel raiders.

“Recognized as one of the leading and innovative living history museums in the nation, we constantly challenge ourselves to find new ways to connect and engage with our guests,” says Conner Prairie President and CEO Ellen M. Rosenthal. “This is our first exhibit that will fully combine the artistry and magic of technology with the authenticity and warmth of our interpreters dressed in authentic period costumes.”

This new project will serve an intergenerational audience and will encourage self-led exploration. This includes an inventive and interactive area designed specifically for families with young children as well as offerings for older children and adults. Construction on the project began in July 2010. The project is scheduled to open on June 4, 2011, the year which marks the 150th commemoration of the beginning of the Civil War. 1863 Civil War Journey: Raid on Indiana is being funded through a capital campaign and will cost a total of $4.3 million. To date, $2,132,631 million has been raised. The Conner Prairie Museum Board of Directors has collectively contributed $847,631. The Allen Whitehill Clowes Charitable Foundation contributed a lead gift of $500,000. “Allen Clowes’ involvement with Conner Prairie extended more than two decades,” stated William H. Marshall, president of the charitable foundation. “He was generous with both his time, as an involved board member and frequent visitor, and financially. The Allen Whitehill Clowes Charitable Foundation is pleased to continue this tradition by supporting the 1863 Civil War Journey at Conner Prairie.” Guests will not pay an additional fee to experience 1863 Civil War Journey: Raid on Indiana.

Story of Morgan’s Raid
On July 8, 1863, Hoosier militia companies and civilian volunteers rallied to defend Indiana from 2,400 invading Confederate soldiers under the command of Gen. John Hunt Morgan. After Hoosier forces were defeated by Rebel Raiders at the Battle of Corydon on July 9, an estimated 60,000 volunteers responded to Gov. Morton’s call to muster in Indianapolis. Morgan’s advance north was blocked near Vernon two days later as some of those volunteers arrived in southern Indiana from the state capital by railroad. By felling trees across roads and through armed resistance, Indiana volunteers and pursuing Union cavalry chased the Confederates into Ohio. Morgan and his troops were eventually defeated and captured by Union troops in eastern Ohio.

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Conner Prairie Interactive History Park, created by Eli Lilly in 1934, is Indiana’s only Smithsonian Affiliate and a 2010 Institute of Museum and Library Services National medal award recipient. Families of today engage, explore and discover what it was like to live and play in Indiana’s past. Explore five themed historic areas on 200 beautiful, wooded acres including the newest exhibits, 1863 Civil War Journey: Raid on Indiana and 1859 Balloon Voyage that takes guests 350 feet above the prairie in a tethered helium balloon. Every visit is a unique adventure that provides an authentic look into the history that shapes us today. Visit connerprairie.org or call 317.776.6006 or 800.966.1836 for admission dates, hours and ticket prices. Connect with Conner Prairie on Facebook at facebook.com/connerprairie, Flickr at flickr.com/people/connerprairie, YouTube at youtube.com/user/ConnerPrairie and Twitter at twitter.com/connerprairie.

Source: Conner Prairie

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