Yesterday, we went to Conner Prairie in Fishers. A day off from the students to enjoy ourselves was very welcomed. If you don’t know anything about Conner Prairie, it is a historical replica of a town or settlement from different years. There is a section that is from 1816 that is focused on the Lenape Indians, another section is from 1836, and the last section is from 1886. In another section of the park, you can see how you would have fared as a person in the 19th-century.
As we walked around the property, we had a study guide from our practicum class to fill out and kind of guide our questions. I think most of us felt that a couple of the guides were long but without them we wouldn’t have thought to ask some of the questions we did. My group started in Prairietown where the year was 1836. We saw the school house, town inn, blacksmith, potter, weaver, carpenter, and the doctor’s houses. The school is much different from our multi-roomed, few two storied buildings of the 21st century. It was a one-room, unheated, smaller than a single classroom building.
We then went to the Lenape Indian Camp in 1816. There were fur traders and handmade tools that we could interact with. They had wigwams set up out of different materials that we were able to walk through.
After that, we headed over to Liberty Corner in 1886. The Zimmerman’s farm is the highlight in that area. Their house was much different than the 1-2 room houses of 1836. The Zimmerman’s house was two stories with a root cellar. There were 2 bedrooms upstairs and at least 3 rooms on the main floor. The rooms were extravagant with carpet and wallpaper or paintings next to the dirt floors and whitewash walls of 1836.
The school in 1886 was a little more in depth than that of 1836. They had windows that opened, a stove in the middle of the room, desk for the students to sit at, and slates for the students to write on. They had a very confusing schedule for the students if you just glanced at the chalkboard. Look a little closer and they have all the grades 1-5 on the board. If you listened to what the teacher was talking about or had a chance to ask her questions, she would tell you that there were students who were higher than 5th grade but they followed the same schedule.
The Pastport is a place where you can see what you would have done as a person in the 19th century. We dipped candles, helped unload the flatboat, played some games, did laundry, and you could help milk a cow. Really, the cow was not real! They also had the tools that they used to build the flatboat on display.
As we finished the day, everyone was tired and ready to go. They have a museum shop and another store where you could buy souvenirs. I picked up a few things for Christmas presents and some candy for myself. If you ever get a chance to visit Conner Prairie with older children, I say GO FOR IT! They will learn a lot if you point them in the right direction.
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