June 23, 2018
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Follow the North Star program takes participants on journey through Underground Railroad

 Nationally renowned Follow the North Star program takes participants on journey through Underground Railroad

Nine-night event includes dialogue with author of “The Slave Ship: A Human History”


FISHERS, Ind. (Nov. 3, 2009) – The nationally acclaimed Follow the North Star program at Conner Prairie Interactive History Park returns Nov. 5-7, 12-14 and 19-21. The program, developed after several years of research, immerses participants in the life of a runaway slave as they live through one of the most compelling periods in Indiana history. This powerful and interactive glimpse into Indiana’s past affects guests in ways that reading a book or watching a movie about it cannot.


During the program, small groups of participants take on the roles of fugitive slaves traveling along the Underground Railroad, risking everything for freedom. Every moment is filled with uncertainty, with new twists along the way. Playing the role of a fugitive slave, participants encounter an illegal slave sale and a variety of characters like a belligerent Southerner, a reluctantly helpful farm wife, a slave hunter, a Quaker family and a free black family. Through authentic interaction with costumed characters, participants learn to depend on each other.


New this year, Marcus Rediker, author of “The Slave Ship: A Human History” will engage participants in a dialogue on Nov. 8 at 4 p.m. Rediker, professor and chair in the department of history at the University of Pittsburgh, is part of Conner Prairie’s adult lecture and dialogue series, which brings nationally acclaimed historians, authors and scientists to discuss historical topics in a contemporary context. His thought-provoking book tells the story of the trade in human flesh from an unexplored perspective—the decks of the slave ships. Thanks to this unique vantage point, the author comes to a thought-provoking conclusion: the violence of the trade was no accident, but was central to the rise of global capitalism. The cost of the lecture is $10 per person and is free for Conner Prairie members.


Follow the North Star is the 2003 winner of the Award for Excellence in Programming from the American Association of Museums and has won an Award of Merit from the American Association for State and Local History. Since 1998, more than 48,000 people have participated in this award-winning program. Follow the North Star runs nightly, Nov. 5-7, 12-14 and 19 – 21, from 6:30 – 9:30 p.m. The program lasts 1 ½ hours and groups start every 15 minutes. Tickets are $19 for non-members and $16 for members. Reservations are required and can be made by calling 317.776.6000.


Follow the North Star is not for everyone. This program takes place outdoors in all weather conditions, and participants walk approximately one mile on rough terrain. The emotional effect of the program is intense, as participants are treated as slaves, being told to keep their eyes down and not to speak unless spoken to. Because of the nature of the experience, participants must be 12 years or older. Follow the North star is made possible through support from Fifth Third bank.


For high-resolution, downloadable images of Conner Prairie’s Follow the North Star program, click here.


To view a short video of the program, click here. For a downloadable professional quality video of Conner Prairie’s Follow the North Star program, click here.




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