News From Terre Haute, Indiana

September 10, 2012

Conner Prairie launches Innovation Fair

STEAM! to celebrate spirit of innovation in science, technology, engineering, the arts and math


News Release

FISHERS, Ind. — The spirit of innovation in science, technology, engineering, the arts and math (STEAM) will sweep through Conner Prairie Interactive History Park, Indiana’s only Smithsonian affiliate, during the first-ever STEAM! Innovation Fair set for Sept. 15 and 16.

Funded by the LDI 100th Anniversary Celebration Cultural Partnership Gift Program, the STEAM! Innovation Fair, presented by Dow AgroSciences, offers a series of park-wide exhibits, activities, presentations, performances and hands-on demonstrations where visitors will come face-to-face with some of the most exciting innovations from the past and some of the most intriguing innovators of today.

Visitors who stop by earlier in the week, from Sept. 12-14, can celebrate the spirit of innovation across all five outdoor themed historic areas and special exhibits in the Welcome Center to discover how innovation has shaped America.

“This event is designed to showcase the spirit and dynamism of Americans in the past and how innovations have shaped modern life,” said Ellen M. Rosenthal, president and CEO. “Conner Prairie has been highlighting learning about science and technology across our historic grounds and within Science Lab, and STEAM! Innovation Fair is a natural progression of these efforts.”

STEAM! Innovation Week activities include:

Sept. 12-16: Emphasis on Innovation throughout Park

• Indiana Innovators Video Game — Discover more about Indiana innovators by matching the Hoosier with the problem he or she helped solve.

• “Spirit of Competition” — Discover how competition has fueled Indiana innovation through this interactive exhibit from the Indiana Humanities Council.

• 1836 Prairietown — The residents of Prairietown want a railroad. As part of the Mammoth Internal Improvement Act, a railroad from Madison, Ind., to Lafayette, Ind., is being built and the residents are petitioning to have Prairietown be a stop on the route. What changes might this bring to this pioneering community? The debate has the whole town talking about the innovations impacting their own lives, from the stethoscope and other medical innovations Dr. Campbell uses to the discovery of electricity. Visitors will experience firsthand how the spirit of innovation was thriving in 1836.       

•1863 Civil War Journey — Innovations in science and technology greatly impacted the outcome of the Civil War. In addition to the story of General Morgan’s raid on Dupont, Ind., guests will experience how medicine was forced to innovate to treat the injuries of this brutal conflict, how communication systems, such as the telegraph, changed to convey information over larger distances, how embalming altered how we cared for lost loved ones and how weaponry evolved and changed the course of American history.

• Conner Homestead — How did the creation of a loom eventually lead to the iPhone? Find out at the Conner Homestead, where guests can learn about the evolution of weaving and how the Jacquard Loom, invented in 1801, introduced a system for processing information that ultimately led to the modern-day computer.

Sep. 15-16: STEAM! Innovation Fair

• Deconstruction Zone — Discover the inner workings of electronics, toys and more as you take apart and deconstruct electronics.

• Egg-A-Pult — Construct a protective capsule for an egg and launch it into the air with a giant slingshot to see if it survives.  

• Imagination Playground — Designed to inspire even the youngest innovator, this fully interactive space offers:

• Imagination Playground Playspace — Use giant foam pieces to imagine and create through free play.

• Circle Paintings — Build on top of other guests? ideas to create a finished painting through this collaborative project.

• Innovation Art Trading Cards — Create card-sized works of art inspired by innovation.  

• Make Your Own Prototype — Conceive of an invention and use craft materials to create a prototype for your idea and then get an official Conner Prairie Inventor’s Patent.

• Innovator’s Theater — a series of short, family-appropriate shows that combine magic and humor to convey science themes.

• The Math Midway Traveling Exhibit — A set of carnival-themed activities allow guests to hone math skills through interactive play. This exhibit is on loan from the Museum of Mathematics in New York.

• The Story of Steam — This interactive experience tells the story of steam energy, what it is, what its impact was to the people of Indiana in the 19th century, and the role of steam energy in Indiana today. See the evolution of steam firsthand while enjoying an array of antique steam engines on display.

• Interactive Exhibits — Experiment and discover more about innovation through various exhibits featuring local businesses and academic institutions, including Dow AgroSciences, Reynolds Farm Equipment, Purdue University, Indiana University, Roche Diagnostics, Cummins, Indiana FIRST Robotics, SMC Corp., Citizens Energy and many more.

STEAM! Innovation Fair is scheduled Saturday, Sept. 15 and Sunday, Sept. 16 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. More innovation activities will take place Sept. 12-14 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. across all five historic outdoor areas and the Welcome Center. Admission is $14 for adults, $13 for seniors (65+), $9 for youth (ages 2 to 12) and free for members and youth younger than 2. For more information, visit connerprairie.org, follow us on Twitter @ConnerPrairie or like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/connerprairie.

Conner Prairie Interactive History Park, created by Eli Lilly in 1934, is Indiana’s only Smithsonian Affiliate and a nonprofit organization that relies on sponsorships, grants and philanthropic gifts for sustainability and future growth. 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 wooded acres including the newest exhibits, 1863 Civil War Journey: Raid on Indiana, the newly revitalized 1836 Prairietown 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 1-800-966-1836 for admission dates, hours, ticket prices and opportunities to donate. Also connect with Conner Prairie on Flickr at flickr.com/people/connerprairie and YouTube at youtube.com/user/ConnerPrairie.