Turning Points: Community


KHC’s special initiative, Turning Points: Stories of Change, invites museums, public libraries, and other nonprofit cultural and civic groups to tell their community’s pivotal moment in history as a five-minute short film. The project is supported by a generous gift from Suzi Miner in memory of Kansas historian Craig Miner.

What is a Turning Point? Think of it as an idea, event, action, or moment in time that directly or indirectly caused decisive change in your community. This change can be social, cultural, or economic, but it ultimately, and significantly, affected your community’s way of thinking or doing.

Here are some topics and videos to use as inspiration for your Turning Points application. Note: inclusion of video or articles in this post is not an endorsement.


All Turning Points: Stories of Change projects relate to community, but this topic category looks at turning points that impact the community fabric and way of life. Turning points can take communities in new directions, reconnect residents with the past in new ways, and help citizens chart a course for the future. Ideas for Community Turning Points include:

Uniting & Rebuilding

When disaster strikes, many communities come together to unite and rebuild. While a disaster in and of itself is a turning point, it can also be a catalyst for community change for the positive: community teamwork, new partnerships, new construction, and a change in perspective. How has your community’s response to a disaster been a positive turning point for your community?

Ideas to consider:

Read about a Wisconsin community’s rebuilding efforts after a devastating flood. [Baraboo News Republic]

Heritage & Culture

Preserving the Past: Topeka’s Jayhawk Theatre (FLIKS Version) from WonderCat Productions on Vimeo.

Many communities find that investing in heritage and culture is an important turning point for their community. Restoration of an historic building or districts, establishment of historical museums or arts centers, or other investments that promote engagement with history and culture can create positive ripple effects in a community. Has a heritage or cultural project been a turning point for your community?

Ideas to consider:

Watch a story about a North Carolina community’s historic preservation success story. [UNC TV]

New Beginnings

A monumental event can completely change the course of a community and send it in a new direction. The most famous example in Kansas is the 2007 tornado in Greensburg and the town’s new life as a green, sustainable community. But, it’s not just tornados, floods, or fires that prompt new beginnings. What turning points have sent your community on a new path or created a new vision for the future?

Ideas to consider:

Watch a story about Greensburg’s use of green standards to rebuild after the 2007 tornado. [USA Today]

It’s Local!

A renewed interest in slow food and support of local agriculture has impacted the way communities grow, purchase, and eat their food. Farmers markets, food hubs, community gardens, farm tours, and urban farms bring people together and impact local farms, businesses, community health, and tourism. Has your community experienced a turning point related to community agriculture?

Ideas to consider:

Read about food hubs in Iowa. [Iowa Public Radio]

Watch a story about the urban farming movement. [New York Times]

The deadline for Turning Points: Stories of Change applications is July 31, 2013. Click here for application and eligibility requirements. Contact Leslie Von Holten, program officer, at leslie(at)kansashumanities.org or (785) 357-0359 for more information.