For any writers working on pioneer-era stories, or for any history lovers in general, I highly recommend a trip to Conner Prairie Living History Museum, in Fishers, Indiana (suburban Indianapolis). The museum has four main areas currently: a preserved historic village restored to 1830s Indiana, a Lenape (Delaware) Indian camp, an indoor museum that is open year-round, and a re-entactment of an 1859 hot air balloon ride first done in Lafayette, Indiana. It is named after William Conner, who was a fur trapper/trader who married first a Lenape woman and later a settler and lived between both cultures. The village features private homes, including the Conner home, a school, several shops, an inn, and a barn with goats, sheep, pigs, horses, and chickens.
It’s also research that your family can enjoy with you–it’s a great destination for kids. They can watch re-enactors in historic dress doing everything from making ink from mulberries to making a bench with period tools to cooking a meal over a fireplace. The staff are willing to answer questions from adults and children alike, and there are plenty of activities for kids too.
My young son pet animals, wrote with mulberry ink, pumped water to water a vegetable garden, and wrote on a slate with soapstone.
The indoor museum offers a hands-on lab that allows kids to explore scientific discoveries of the era, do crafts, and see artifacts from the period. They offer many seasonal activities as well; Fourth of July and Halloween celebrations come to mind, but there are many others.To plan a trip, see their web site at http://www.connerprairie.org/
. Some areas are closed in winter, so be sure to consult the site before you visit.