FISHERS, Ind. (WISH) – One of the most visited outdoor museums in the country received a $500,000 donation that will help restore a historic venue on the museum property.
Conner Prairie was given the donation Wednesday night by the founders Ricker’s Convenience Stores, an Indiana fuel and convenience store chain . The founders, Jay and Nancy Ricker gave the gift that will help restore the museum’s Chinese House and use it as a venue for private events. The Chinese House was bought by Conner Prairie founder Eli Lilly in 1949 and will undergo a $1.4 million restoration in 2018.
“We are very grateful for this tremendous gift which honors the Lilly legacy of history and hospitality,” said Conner Prairie President and CEO Norman Burns. “The Rickers’ generosity will no doubt inspire others to help the museum begin to renovate, restore and expand the Chinese House to preserve Eli Lilly’s interest in Asian art and culture and preserve the structure as a special gathering place for community and corporate events.”
Jay Ricker joined the board of directors for Conner Prairie in 2011 and is currently in his second year as chairman. He also serves on the museum’s foundation board.
“We feel it’s very important to give back to the communities that have have supported our business,” said Jay and Nancy Ricker in a statement. “It has been our pleasure to give our time and financial resources to Conner Prairie. We have witnessed how the museum has touched the lives of our five grandchildren. They can’t wait for summer day camps and they thoroughly enjoy exploring everything from Animal Encounters to Treetop Outpost. We are pleased to be part of the legacy to keep Conner Prairie vibrant and ongoing.”
The Rickers are Purdue University alumni and live in Pendleton, Ind.