Conner Prairie Honored Among Nation's Best Museums

History Park Recognized By First Lady

A museum that's been a longtime a favorite in central Indiana was honored among the best in the country by the White House on Friday.

First lady Michelle Obama and the Federal Institute of Museum and Library Services awarded Conner Prairie Interactive History Park in Fishers with the National Medal for Museum Services, 6News' Julie Pursley reported.

The award is given to five museums and five libraries annually that demonstrate commitment to public service through innovative programs and community partnerships.

"It just means Conner Prairie, as we always thought, is one of the highest-rated museums or interactive history parks in the nation, and this award really sets that straight as far as the community is concerned," said Conner Prairie spokeswoman Alpha Garrett.

One of the reasons Conner Prairie was chosen was because of its long-term commitment to the community and to children in Indiana.

"They're an awesome museum," said Brittni Wrasman, a visitor from Noblesville.

"(My son) was definitely interested in the actors and the stuff they have to say," said Derek Todd, a visitor from Noblesville. "It kept his attention, which is nice."

As part of the national honor, Conner Prairie will receive a $10,000 prize to help raise public awareness of the good work the institutions are doing in their communities.

The museum, created by Eli Lilly in 1934, has about 200,000 visitors every year and is Indiana's only Smithsonian affiliate.

U.S. Rep. Dan Burton nominated Conner Prairie for the award.

The other institutions recognized Friday were:

  • Explora in Albuquerque, N.M.
  • Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles
  • Mississippi Museum of Art in Jackson, Miss.
  • The New York Botanical Garden in New York City
  • Nashville Public Library in Nashville, Tenn.
  • Patchogue-Medford Library in Patchogue, N.Y.
  • Peter White Public Library in Marquette, Mich.
  • Rangeview Library District and Anythink Libraries in Adams County, Colo.
  • West Bloomfield Township Public Library and West Bloomfield Township, Mich.