Travel back to a time when children played outside, where digital technology did not exist and every day was a struggle to survive.
This was life on the prairie during 1836.
Bringing the past to the present, Conner Prairie Interactive Historic Park near Indianapolis has recently updated its 1836 Prairietown area to enhance the learning experience. The town is a fictional, but historically accurate, representation of what life was like for residents of that era.
Visitors can participate in everyday activities of the time and experience joys and struggles of prairie life. From buying land to running a business, families can become town residents.
Connor Prairie provided this information about highlights of the “new” Prairietown:
Among the changes made, Prairietown now includes new colors and structures, such as the Barker Brothers' Pottery Shop. Various buildings have been remodeled.
When visitors arrive, they will be acclimated to 1836 Prairietown, as well as guided through the exhibit with options designed to maximize their experience.
“Whether they enjoy being immersed in the action, joining in on activities or just observing, guests can participate in new opportunities for engagement at all levels,” communications specialist Sarah Frey said.
Several existing features of the exhibit have also been changed to provide more engaging, hands-on activities. Whether it's playing in the Campbell home kitchen or working with horseshoes in the blacksmith's shop, there are many ways to learn.
Conner Prairie also has added concepts from video games into Prairietown.
Adventure Guidebooks and Achievement Cards, for example, allow participants to build their status in the town by completing goals and receiving rewards, including “money.”
Not only can visitors take on specific roles in the prairie community, but they can move up depending on the number of goals completed. For ages 5 and under younger, Seek-and-Find books are designed to engage young children to locate and identify various objects.
“Conner Prairie is committed to making history relevant to today’s audiences and promoting family learning in a fun and engaging way,” Frey said.