Monday, June 13, 2016

A Visit to Conner Prairie

My family and I went to Indiana over Memorial Day weekend. My dad and youngest sister went to the Indianapolis 500 while my mom, middle sister, and I visited family. And then we went to Conner Prairie and the Creation Museum. I'll talk about the Creation Museum (which was AMAZING!) next week.

You may not have heard of Conner Prairie. It's the most amazing living history museum. If you like history at all, or even if you don't, you have to go. You'll love it. It's in Indiana, and actually provided inspiration for Margaret Peterson Haddix's Running Out Of Time. (Pictures courtesy of my mom and sister. I'm not much of a photographer.)

This is the Conner house. It was built in 1823 by William Conner and restored both in 1934 and 1993. William Conner married an Indian woman. They had children, but she and her children moved on with the tribe (the children would have been able to become chiefs) and he was remarried to a white woman.

Before stepping back in time...the sheep sure know how to stay cool.

I may have a slight obsession with spinning and weaving. I seriously want one of these. A spinning wheel too. Conner Prairie has spinning programs and they compete in Sheep to Shawl.

Going back...

...and back...

...and back...

...and back... Prairietown, 1836.

The physician invited us into his home where he explained his job to us. These people literally act like they live in 1836. Their job is to pretend they live in a pioneer town. How cool is that?

He also showed us his live leeches.

And Addy played Canon in D on his (out of tune) piano for his family.

Across the street where he dries his herbs...this prompted an impromptu singing of Studio C's "Gale's Song."
"We use our special pet names.
I call her Catnip,
She calls me 'Gale.' "

This lady showed us how to make a trellis.

These are breath mints. Mashed peppermint leaves and sugar, drying in the sun.

The carpenter. Oh my goodness. Since my sister and I are 20 and 17, both marriageable ages in 1836, and unattached, he tried to set us up with his sons, who were "working on their farm" a few miles away. It was pretty funny, especially when he asked me if I could sew, my middle sister if she could garden, and my youngest sister if she could cook...our strengths exactly.

Me apparently trying to break my neck or twist my ankle or something.

My dad and youngest sister doing the same.

The potter making a little toy jug. On an old fashioned pottery wheel, they have a lower wheel that they kick to make the upper wheel spin. Then they shape it the same way a modern potter would. I've taken a few pottery classes, so I know how to do it, but I'm nowhere near as good. Oh, and the pottery they sell at Colonial Williamsburg? Made here. Or at least it was when we visited almost 7 years ago.

This is the inn. I love how they ran out of room for "Golden" so they put the "n" beneath the rest of the word. They invited us to stay and told us when dinner would be and what they were cooking. The meal costs 25¢.

Look at those prices!

This is the main room upstairs. They had two more, one with one bed, one with two. Straw ticks resting on ropes stretched across the bed frame, rough woven blankets, and quite a few chamber pots.

The schoolhouse. I love how they put a Bible verse on the board.

This is the store. So many things to buy! The chocolate didn't have any sugar, though.

The. Low. Prices. The calico was like 25¢ per yard. Nowadays it's more like $7-$10.

Even the postal rates were insanely low.

People literally crossed the country in these. Standing inside a real covered wagon really puts things into perspective...and takes a lot of the glamor out of the Oregon Trail.

The blacksmith's apprentice. Blacksmithing seems to be one of the most common reenactor skills, so I've seen it quite a bit, but it's always cooler when the blacksmith is actually acting like he lives in those times.

They've also added a Civil War area since I was there last. There weren't as many reenactors over there, I guess they don't have enough staff. Apparently the Confederates burned Dupont, Indiana, in July of 1863. It was interesting, but...I grew up along the route of Sherman's March to the Sea, across the street from the train line used during the Great Locomotive Chase. Way more Civil War history at home, and really, as far as town burnings go, the South had it way worse.

Conner Prairie is so awesome. If you're ever in Indiana (when they're open), you HAVE to visit. You won't regret it.

Don't forget, Creighton Hill is only 99¢ this summer, and if you write a Goodreads or blog review, you can enter to win a $100 Amazon gift card from!


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