Kansas Humanities Council receives award from Library of Congress

Boeing employees at the assembly point for the B-47 Stratojet bomber, 1951. Photo courtesy of Kansas Historical Society.

The American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress recently awarded the Kansas Humanities Council an Archie Green Fellowship in support of “The Boeing Oral History Project.” In partnership with the Wichita-Sedgwick County Historical Museum, the project will record and preserve the stories of workers at the Boeing aircraft manufacturing plant and Wichita community members in advance of the plant’s closure in 2013.

“It’s significant to have one of the aviation giants pull out and leave after three generations of shaping the Wichita community. Collecting these oral histories will be very valuable for our future,” explained Eric Cale, director of the Wichita-Sedgwick County Historical Museum.

KHC is one of five recipients of the fellowship named in honor of the late Archie Green, a prominent scholar of labor-related folklore. The Archie Green Fellowship supports independent research on the culture and traditions of American workers and the creation and preservation of digital archival materials for future use by researchers and the public.

The fellowship will fund the collection of oral history interviews with Boeing machinists, engineers, and office staff, as well as city officials and other community members to record the impact of the plant’s closure on the “Air Capital of the World.” The interviews and transcripts will be archived in Wichita as well as the American Folklife Center in Washington D.C.

“The Kansas Humanities Council is honored to be the recipient of the Archie Green Fellowship,” said Julie Mulvihill, executive director of the Kansas Humanities Council.
“We are grateful to have the opportunity to partner with the Wichita-Sedgwick County Historical Museum to preserve and share stories from Boeing employees and Wichita residents at this pivotal moment in the community’s history

“The Boeing Oral History Project” is part of “The Way We Worked in Kansas,” KHC’s statewide initiative highlighting Kansans’ relationship with work over time and across generations.