Preserving words and unlocking memories: that’s what we hope to do through the letters written for our Fishers Time Capsule. Over the past few weeks, Fishers residents have spent time writing down their story and best memories of Fishers for those in 2073 to open and read. Life will be so different in 50 years, so we want to make sure the future community if this great city learns and remembers what it was like before them.
Below is a special letter from President and CEO of Conner Prairie, Norman Burns.
Norman Burns, President & CEO of Conner Prairie
To Future Generations,
Today, as I write this letter in June of 2023, I am filled with anticipation and wonder, knowing that you will read these words in a world so different than mine. It’s my hope you have inherited a future shaped by countless discoveries, awe-inspiring innovations and, above all, understanding, empathy, and equality for all humanity.
I write to you as the current President and CEO of Conner Prairie. Conner Prairie is a unique historic place that inspires curiosity and fosters learning by providing engaging and individualized experiences for everyone. This moment in time is an exciting one for us because we’re making plans for you – the next generation of visitors. As we say in 2023, can we provide engaging and individualized experiences for everyone, well maybe not, but it shouldn’t be because we didn’t try. It is my desire that when you read this letter in 2073 you see how we have done more than just try.
As the stewards of more than 1,046 acres along 3.3 miles of the White River, we’re leading the path to create a more sustainable future. The work we’re doing today will serve generations to come. I can’t help but wonder how far your generation has journeyed on the path of sustainable development. It is my sincerest hope that you have found solutions to pressing challenges, creating a future that cherishes the beauty of our planet while nurturing the well-being of all its inhabitants.
In 2023 we were beginning plans for our new Food, Farm, and Energy Experience (FFEE) to tackle tough questions and educate the public about where their food comes from. One of those questions in 2023 is how do we plan to feed nearly 10 billion people on this planet by 2050 with less than 1% of the population responsible for growing and producing food? Agriculture is at the crossroads of the two largest challenges we face in 2023 – feeding a growing population and climate change. Conner Prairie’s Food, Farm, and Energy Experience will showcase innovation in agriculture, and we hope will inspire everyone to pursue solutions to feed and power the world by your generation in 2073.
As one of America’s largest outdoor history museums and experiential sites that is accredited by the American Alliance of Museums (AAM) and is a Smithsonian Affiliate, we serve an ever-expanding audience and the ways in which we help our guests learn. Even now we know our audience is changing as the United States becomes a more diverse nation. I’m hopeful the Diversity, Equity, Accessibility, and Inclusion (DEAI) work we are doing today to make Conner Prairie a place where the doors are always open to a diversity of voices and limitless experiences is still impacting Conner Prairie and our community in 50 years. I wish I could see the visitors walking through the grounds in 2073 to appreciate the blend of cultures, voices and stories being shared that are reflective of all Hoosiers.
I wonder as you read this, how similar the experience may be to my own as I reflect on the questions and stories of the past. In 2023 we’re celebrating the 200th anniversary of the William Conner House and Hamilton County. And just as we’re thinking of 50 years in the future, we’re reflecting on the previous five decades as we get ready to celebrate the anniversary of Prairietown in 2024. I wonder what the 100-year anniversary of Prairietown will look like in 2074?
As I sit here surrounded by the echoes of the past, it’s not lost on me that while you’re reading this, I won’t be at Conner Prairie nor will any of my current colleagues, but I do know that the work we’re doing in 2023 will live on. In 2023 our aspirational goal is to change the way the world views and uses museums like Conner Prairie. When you read this letter in 2073, I hope that you agree that Conner Prairie played an important role in achieving this goal.
We embarked on this endeavor of preserving our words and thoughts, not only to offer you a glimpse into our lives but also to remind ourselves of the responsibility we bear towards shaping the future. May this time capsule serve as a reminder of the hopes and dreams we held for you, the challenges we faced, and the resilience of the human spirit.
As I seal this envelope, I am filled with hope that Conner Prairie’s values of having a heart for the past, head for the present, and an eye to the future will serve as a bridge between eras and is the reason why it remains a community cultural and educational asset even in 2073.
Sincerely, your friend from the past with great hope for the future,
President & CEO, Conner Prairie
Share the story of Fishers with future residents by writing a letter to be included in our community time capsule to be opened in 2073. Fishers is partnering with Towne Post to curate a community time capsule that will be placed inside the keystone of the new Arts & Municipal Complex. Letters can be delivered in person to the blue mailbox in the breezeway of the Fishers City Services Building (3 Municipal Drive) and lobby for Hamilton East Public Library- Fishers (5 Municipal Drive) or addressed to “Fishers Time Capsule” and mailed to 3 Municipal Drive, Fishers, Indiana 46038 by Friday, June 30. You can also swing by the Fishers Parks booth at the Fishers Farmers Market on June 10 and 17 to write and deliver your letter. Learn more at ThisIsFishers.com/Fishers150.