Mary Theresa Seig's work with Conner Prairie Interactive History Park began during the summer of 2002 when she did an initial research study in which she recorded the conversations of families as they experienced the outdoor living history museum. After that summer, Seig analyzed her data and “helped Conner Prairie to restructure its interpreter training program and change the ways that interpreters interacted with visitors.”

In 2004, Conner Prairie received a grant that allowed it to begin the development of a training DVD for docents in museums around the world. Seig worked with Conner Prairie to write and produce Opening Doors (2006), a DVD that went on to win numerous awards as a training program.

Since the production of Opening Doors, Seig has continued to be involved with Conner Prairie in various ways. In the spring of 2008, she and Kecia McBride, another English faculty member, cotaught an immersive learning course in which undergraduate students developed a series of museum theatre pieces and playbooks for interpreter training. Seig says her “relationship with Conner Prairie has been evolving and growing since 2001.”

The work that Seig does with Conner Prairie directly relates to her teaching, especially her courses on discourse analysis. Furthermore, the Conner Prairie projects have helped Seig to develop as a scholar.

“These various projects provide me the opportunity to apply linguistic knowledge in real-world settings as well as offer service from the university to the greater Indiana community. In each situation, I provide pedagogically and theoretically sound input, which enables the decision-makers in each setting to make better decisions. In addition, I enhance the reputation of the university by helping the greater Indiana community to understand that there can and should be partnerships between higher education and other aspects of society.”