Concordia’s Work Stories

Sisters Miriam and Louise Vaughan

When The Way We Worked Smithsonian Institution traveling exhibition was at the National Orphan Train Complex, Concordia residents contributed their work stories to the exhibition’s audio tours. From the sometimes messy work experiences of an egg separator to twin sisters whose desire to help people led them down two different career paths, Concordia’s work stories offer a glimpse into north central Kansas’ working world.

Where We Worked with Gwen Trost. The food industry has a reputation for being messy, and Gwen Chizek Trost’s stories from the Seymour Packing Plant are no different. Transcript.

How We Worked with Paul Rimovsky. Music has always been one of America’s favorite pastimes, but few Americans have the opportunity to work in the music industry. Paul Rimovsky is one of those lucky few. Transcript.

Who Worked with Marlesa Roney. Marlesa Roney’s family owned and operated three movies theaters in Concordia, including the Brown Grand Theatre. Transcript.

Why We Worked with Miriam and Louise Vaughan. Twin sisters Miriam and Louise Vaughan both became Sisters of St. Joseph. They entered the convent together and then went their separate ways: Miriam began work as a teacher and Louise as a nurse. Transcript.


A Lumberyard’s Legacy in Baldwin City

When Baldwin City’s downtown lumberyard closed in 2002, community members rallied to save the historic building from demolition. After seven years and a half-million dollar renovation, the Lumberyard Arts Center was born. Now, the building that served generations of Baldwin City’s workers will host an exhibition about work from the Smithsonian Institution.

The story of the lumberyard and Baldwin City’s workers is featured in the Lumberyard Arts Center’s companion exhibition to The Way We Worked Smithsonian Institution traveling exhibition. The exhibitions are on display March 23-May 5, 2013.

Parade in Baldwin City

The Ives-Hartley lumber building serves as a backdrop to a parade in downtown Baldwin City. Photo via Lumberyard Arts Center.

“Work history in this area is really the history of the Lumberyard Arts Center. The two are linked together,” said Tony Brown, board member of the Lumberyard Arts Center and KHC board member. “When the lumberyard closed, it looked like the workers there just laid down their tools and walked away. And so they left all their ledgers, all their receipts, and all their equipment. Those are the documents that tell the story of what was happening here and how it was that the lumberyard was an integral part of the Baldwin City community.”

Click here for more information about The Way We Worked hours and events in Baldwin City. For a special treat, read about the history of Baldwin City, as told from the lumberyard’s perspective.


It’s that time of year…

Welcome to March Madness in Kansas! In honor of college basketball’s big month, here’s a KHC-funded short film, Oil & Gold: The McPherson Globe Refiners Basketball Story, about the first U.S. basketball team to compete in the Olympics. Would it be any surprise to learn that the team was made up of Kansans?

Want to learn more? The documentary will air on the Impact program on KPTS public television in Wichita on Thursday, March 21 at 8:00 p.m. accompanied by an interview with Anne Hassler of the McPherson CVB.

These are the Workers in Your Neighborhood

How do 6th graders view work? Inspired by The Way We Worked Smithsonian Institution traveling exhibition, USD 352 students produced this short film about work in Goodland and Sherman County.

The Way We Worked was at the High Plains Museum in Goodland December 15, 2012 – January 27, 2013.

KHC is an All Star!

2013 All Star logo2012 All Star Award from Constant Contact for our E-News. Each year, Constant Contact bestows the All Star Award to a select group of businesses and nonprofits. KHC ranked among the top 10% of Constant Contact’s international customer base.

Thank you to all the KHC E-News subscribers whose participation help KHC achieve the All Star Award. If you’re not receiving E-News, click here to sign up for twice-monthly email newsletters featuring engaging stories and the latest information from KHC.

Thanks again for making KHC an All Star. We could not have done it without you.

Preserve & Share

Photo digitization at Stafford County Historical MuseumHave an idea for an oral history project? Want to digitize photos and documents in your collection? The Oral History/Digital Collections workshop in Hays on April 11, 2013, will help you preserve and share your community’s stories. Click here for more information or to register.

Presented by the Kansas Museums Association, the Kansas Humanities Council, and the Forsyth Library, the workshop teaches best practices for documenting the stories of your community, digitizing your collections, and sharing the results using the internet.

For more information, contact Lisa Dodson, executive director of the Kansas Museums Association, at email: director(at) or (316) 765-9197.


Boeing Oral History Update

“History is history and you can’t change it, and they [Boeing] were a big part of Kansas, America, and Wichita’s history.”

-Carl Brewer, Mayor of Wichita

Mayor Carl Brewer interview

Briana O’Higgins interviews Mayor Carl Brewer for the Boeing Oral History Project.

Wichita Mayor Carl Brewer, himself a former Boeing employee, recently conducted an oral history interview for the Boeing Oral History Project. The project is collecting and preserving 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 Wichita, a.k.a. the “Air Capital of the World.”

The Boeing Oral History Project is a partnership between the Wichita-Sedgwick County Historical Museum and the Kansas Humanities Council made possible through the support of an Archie Green Fellowship from the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress.

Find out more about the Boeing Oral History Project by contacting the Wichita-Sedgwick County Historical Museum at (316) 265-9314.

For Your Listening Pleasure

The Way We Worked Smithsonian Institution traveling exhibition has come and gone at the Stevens County Library in Hugoton and the High Plains Museum in Goodland, but you can still learn about the work stories of these communities through audio tours recorded for the exhibition.

Stevens County Library, Hugoton

Cowboys, wildcatters, one-room schoolteachers, and postmasters — the list of occupations in Stevens County in the late 1800s and early 1900s reads like something out of a Wild West novel. However, life and work in southwest Kansas was anything but fiction. Click on the titles to listen to the work stories of Stevens County.

Where We Worked: Southwest Kansas Cowboys. The Beaty family established cattle ranches in southwest Kansas in the late 1800s. Transcript

How We Worked: Gas Capital of the Southwest. The discovery of natural gas in Stevens County in the 1920s changed life and work in Hugoton. Transcript

Who Works: Rural Children at Work. Rural children led a busy life balancing schoolwork with farm chores. Transcript

Why We Work: Mail Call. Whether by cart, wagon, rail, or auto — it took a lot of work to deliver the mail to southwest Kansas farmers and homesteaders. Transcript

High Plains Museum, Goodland

one-room school early 1900s, Sherman CoFrom the farmer using a mobile app to track water usage to the family trading corporate careers in the city for the slower pace of jobs in a small town, work in northwest Kansas takes many unexpected forms. Click on the titles to listen to the work stories from Goodland.

Where We Worked: Changes on the Farm. Over a century, high tech equipment has replaced simple machines on the farm. Transcript

How We Worked: Education. A look at the work of students, from slates to computers. Transcript

Who Works: Work in a Small Town. A couple abandons corporate jobs and urban amenities for a new life in Goodland. Transcript

Why We Work. What happens to our work when we retire? Transcript

Click here to learn more about The Way We Worked Kansas tour.


Even More to TALK About

Things I’ve Been Silent About by Azar Nafisi (right, pictured with former KHC Board Member Shari Wilson) is one of the titles in the new TALK series, The Exile’s Place.

Young people coming of age. Exiled immigrants balancing life in their new home with memories of the one they left behind. Globalization bringing people from different countries and cultures together. These are the themes of three new Talk About Literature in Kansas (TALK) book discussion series made possible with a grant from the Kansas Health Foundation.

TALK facilitated book discussions immerse readers in captivating stories and introduce different experiences through literature. Each new series – Entangled World, The Exile’s Place, and Growing Up American – addresses different aspects of the human experience through conversations about sense of place and identity.

Entangled World

Globalization has accelerated the complex interactions of people and cultures in recent years. As a result, new languages, technologies, foodways, and lifestyles spring from cultures in collision where new multicultural identities give rise to new literary characters and plots. Titles in this series include:

Bel Canto by Ann Patchett (2001)
People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks (2007)
The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz (2007)
Anil’s Ghost by Michael Ondaatje (2000)

The Exile’s Place

People in exile face complicated struggles as they come to terms with a home lost and a new home discovered. Although immigration and exile are deeply rooted in human history, the twenty-first century is providing new voices in the world of literature as immigrants give voice to their experiences. Titles in this series include:

The Lazarus Project by Aleksandar Hemon (2008)
The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri (2003)
Things I’ve Been Silent About by Azar Nafisi (2008)
Brick Lane by Monica Ali (2003)

Growing Up American

In this series, the authors have used the coming-of-age story to comprehend both the terrain of the personal and the historically specific time period in which that character lives. Titles in this series include:

Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger (1951)
Tender at the Bone: Growing Up at the Table by Ruth Reichl (1998)
Sag Harbor by Colson Whitehead (2009)
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie (2007)

Click here find out how to bring these new TALK series to your community. You choose the series, the titles, time, date, and location, and coordinate with the discussion leaders. KHC Resource Center Support grants provide the funds necessary. For more information, contact Leslie Von Holten, program officer, at leslie(at) or (785) 357-0359.