David Allison - General Manager for Experience Delivery
Fall is nearing its end out on the Prairie, and with it exits obstreperous school children learning and laughing in Prairietown
, the family fun opportunities at Lenape Camp, balloon flights to 350 feet and exciting animal interactions at the Conner Homestead. Another successful season has wrapped up at Conner Prairie.
So what do managers do during the “off-season”? Of course, although the outdoor activities and historic areas are closed until April, the Welcome Center with the ever-popular Discovery Station
and Craft Corner
are still up and running in November, January, February and March (Thursday-Sunday, 10am-2pm). And December brings a plethora of holiday experiences like Gingerbread Village
(Tuesday-Sat., 10am-5pm and Sunday 11am-5pm) and Conner Prairie by Candlelight
(Friday and Saturday nights the first three weekends of December). January through March also features the scrumptious deluxe experience at the Conner House that we call Hearthside Suppers
(various weekend evenings in those months). Running these experiences takes some of our time for sure, but without the outdoor areas, we still find ourselves with time to work on other projects. Below is not an all-encompassing list, but should help give a little behind-the-scenes glance into our day-to-day winter projects.
-The winter months become time for staff to step back, rejuvenate ourselves creatively and to rethink programs and activities. We are constantly refining the experiences we offer based on survey findings and staff input to provide the highest quality activities we can for you.
-We are rolling out an exciting new experience in the area formerly known as Liberty Corner.
(Look for an update about this area in the next three weeks!) All of us are chugging away to create a brand new exhibit that will “wow” everyone starting in June of 2011.
-Recruiting, hiring and training new facilitators are a big push in February and March. We are always looking for engaging, enthusiastic staff to help us provide consistently excellent experiences for you. This takes lots of time and energy to find the right people and get them trained in the “Opening Doors”
-Deepening our content, engagement and administrative skills through trainings and seminars helps us maintain our status as leaders in the museum field.
I think I speak for most Conner Prairie staff when I say that the “off season” really is a misnomer, since our wheels are still spinning as fast as ever, but they are just pointed in a different direction. The winter allows us to keep innovating and providing the types of experiences that will inspire curiosity about Indiana’s past long into the future.