Humanities Happenings (8/31-9/4)

Incorporate some humanities into your Labor Day festivities! Film, poetry, and great discussions will make your holiday weekend complete.

Overland Park: Cinema Conversations

Did you know that National Hispanic Heritage Month begins on September 15th? Commemorate it early at the Rio Theatre with a screening of Mi Primera Boda (My First Wedding) a film described as “story of accidents, chaos, and errors; be prepared to laugh all the way.” Watch a 30-second preview:

The screening is followed by a bilingual discussion in English and Spanish led by Louis Imperiale of the University of Missouri-Kansas City. The event is part of the Latin American Cinema Festival, a film discussion series that runs through September 21st. The Festival is sponsored by Sociedad Hidalgo. August 31st at 11:00 AM. Click here for details.

Wyatt Townley Photo by Terry Weckbaugh

Wyatt Townley
Photo by Terry Weckbaugh

Topeka, Harper, and Newton: One Poet Laureate, Three Events

There are three opportunities to see presentations by Wyatt Townley, Poet Laureate of Kansas in the coming week. On September 2, Townley joins past Poets Laureate Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg and Denise Low for “Poets Laureate Three,” a reading and discussion at The Garden House in Topeka. Sponsored by Kansas Area Watershed Council. September 2nd at 11:00 AM. Click here for details.

On September 4th, Townley presents “Coming Home to Poetry” in two Kansas communities. Townley will be at the Harper Public Library at 2:00 PM and at the Newton Public Library at 7:00 PM.

Many more events are happening in September. Click here for the full KHC Calendar.

Humanities Happenings (8/28 & 8/29)

As we approach Labor Day weekend, here is the first of a two-part “Humanities Happenings” post. There is so much to see and do in Kansas this week!

Westmoreland: Take Shelter

Do you have a story about native stone arched-roof root cellars used by pioneers in the Flint Hills? Bring your information to the community forum at Rock Creek Valley Historical Society. Your story or photograph may be used in an upcoming exhibition at the Marianna Kistler Beach Museum of Art in Manhattan. August 28th at 7:00 PM. Click here for details.

nerd_niteAbilene: It’s Hip to be Square

Be there and be square at Nerd Nite. Self-proclaimed “nerds” and non-nerds alike are welcome to this series of fun-yet-informative presentations on history, science, art, and pop culture at the Great Plains Theatre. Jamie McDaniel, professor of English at Pittsburg State University, discusses how horror films use vampires and zombies to illustrate cultural issues. Erika Nelson, KHC Speakers Bureau member, presents “Hucksters, Barkers, and Sideshows.” The event is sponsored by the Dickinson County Historical Society. Not sure what to expect at Nerd Nite? Listen to this Kansas Public Radio story about Nerd Nite in Lawrence. August 29th at 7:00 PM. Click here for details.

De Soto: Return of the Riverkings

Barbara Higgins-Dover continues her tour of Kansas River communities as she presents the story of the commercial fishermen who worked on the river in the early 1900s. Sponsored by Watkins Community Museum of History. August 29th at 6:30 PM at De Soto City Hall. Click here for details.

WWL1Salina: Farm Lit

Join Tom Averill, noted author and professor of English at Washburn University, at the Salina Public Library as he presents “Living Squarely on the Land: Agriculture in Kansas Literature.” The lecture is part of 100 Years of Agriculture, an exhibit of art, essays, and oral histories commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Kansas State Fair. Sponsored by the International Fiber Collaborative. August 29th at 6:30 PM. Click here for details.

There are many more humanities events in August and September. Click here for a full list.

Created Equal in Kansas

Ordinary people do extraordinary things. Case in point: the Americans who participated in the civil rights movement. In honor of the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, here are some stories and events related to the civil rights movement in Kansas.

Created Equal

march_on_washingtonKHC will offer Created Equal: America’s Civil Rights Struggle, a series of four film screenings and discussions in Wichita and Kansas City featuring civil rights documentaries produced with the support of the National Endowment for the Humanities. The events will take place at The Kansas African American Museum in Wichita in fall 2013 and the Kansas City Kansas Public Library in spring 2014. KHC is one of 12 organizations in Kansas to be awarded the Created Equal: America’s Civil Rights Struggle film sets. Click here for event details.

Memories of the March

“We held hands and rocked. This was a benchmark of my life.” In 1963, Bob Miller participated in the March on Washington. In 2007, he and his wife Shirley shared his story at the StoryCorps booth in Baldwin City sponsored by KHC and Kansas Public Radio.

Kansas Plays a Key Role

For over 40 years, KHC has supported grant projects exploring Kansas’ role in the civil rights movement. Click here for a list of KHC-supported civil rights grant projects. Does your Kansas community have a civil rights story? Consider a KHC Humanities or Heritage grant. The fall grants deadline is September 25th. The deadline for draft proposals is August 28th. Contact Murl Riedel, director of grants, at murl(at) for more information.

Don’t Forget

Commemorations in honor of the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington are underway in Kansas and across the nation. On August 28th at 2:00 PM CST, you can join KHC in the worldwide movement to “Let Freedom Ring.” The Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site is also hosting an event in honor of the March on Washington’s 50th anniversary. Click here for details.

Ring a Bell for a Dream

1963 March on Washington, D.C. Photo by Warren K. Leffler via Library of Congress.

1963 March on Washington, D.C. Photo by Warren K. Leffler via Library of Congress.

“I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up, live out the true meaning of its creed: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.'” Fifty years ago, on August 28, 1963, Martin Luther King, Jr., delivered an inspiring speech that became a defining moment for both the civil rights movement and the 20th century. Now you can join in a worldwide commemoration of that historic event.

The Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change invites Americans and people throughout the world to “Let Freedom Ring” by ringing a bell on August 28th at 3:00 EST (2:00 CST) in memory of Dr. King’s speech. You can read his speech online, watch a video, and get inspired by going here.

Be There with Bells On

Join KHC in a virtual bell ringing and online viewing of Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech at 3 PM EST (2 PM CST) on August 28th by tweeting the following:

Ring! In honor of the 50th anniversary of the #ihaveadream speech #MLKDREAM50 @kshumanities is a link to an mp3 of a bell ringing via the National Park Service’s “How The Liberty Bell may have sounded” page. is a link to a YouTube video of Dr. King delivering his “I Have a Dream” speech in 1963.

You can also retweet KHC’s tweet on Twitter or share KHC’s post on Facebook to commemorate this pivotal event in American history.


Things to Do: August 21, 2013

Reunion of Quantrill's Raid Survivors-1925

Reunion of Quantrill’s Raid survivors, 1925. Photo courtesy of:, Kansas State Historical Society. Copy and Reuse Restrictions apply.

In honor of the 150th anniversary of Quantrill’s Raid on Lawrence, KHC has some ideas to help you commemorate the event:

1. Wake up early and follow #QR1863 on Twitter for the “live” Quantrill’s Raid Twitter event. Not on Twitter? No problem. You can follow all the action here.

2. If you’re in Lawrence, make plans to attend Jonathan Earle and Jeremy Neely’s discussion of the Twitter event and the aftermath of the raid at Watkins Community Museum of History at 5:30. Click here for details. The event is supported by a KHC Humanities Grant.

3. Read the final blog post of the “Quantrill’s Raid & Order No. 11” Shared Stories of the Civil War script. You can find all the posts here.

4. Check out Jonathan Earle and Diane Mutti Burke’s new book, “Bleeding Kansas, Bleeding Missouri: The Long Civil War on the Border.” A book launch and signing is tonight (August 20th) in Lawrence.

For more events, visit the 1863 Commemorate Lawrence website. For more information about the war on the Kansas/Missouri border, read the Shared Stories of the Civil War scripts.


Hosts Needed for Hometown Teams

Deadline: September 30, 2013
Click here for eligibility requirements and application.

KHC invites museums, public libraries, arts center, and other nonprofit cultural organizations to apply to host the Hometown Teams Smithsonian Institution traveling exhibition in 2015. Eligible applicants will be located in a community with a population below 20,000, tell a unique local history that ties in with the theme of Hometown Teams, and provide the following: a minimum of 900 square feet of display space, additional space for an exhibition telling the local story, a ceiling height of at least 8 1/2 feet, and four electrical outlets in the display space.

For more information, contact Tracy Quillin, director of communications at tracy(at)

Work By the Numbers

The numbers are in and it’s clear that KHC’s The Way We Worked statewide initiative was a success! Here’s a glimpse of the impact of The Way We Worked in Kansas:

  • 6 communities hosted the Smithsonian exhibition, The Way We Worked
  • 22 communities explored the theme of work locally as partner sites
  • Over 450 Kansans volunteered across the state
  • 57,475 visitors viewed the exhibitions and attended programs

All exhibition hosts saw attendance increase by at least 41%, with big increases in school field trips and visits from first-time museum goers. The Way We Worked drew out-of-towners too, with visitors traveling regionally and nationally (people from 42 states signed in).

Want more information? This infographic breaks down the success of The Way We Worked in Kansas:


The Way We Worked may be over, but Hometown Teams, the next Smithsonian traveling exhibition, opens January 2015. Stay tuned!

Humanities Happenings (8/16-8/21)

Celebrate the start of the school year by attending a humanities event in Kansas. You’ll be sure to learn something new, but you won’t have to do any homework!

Hiawatha: Mail & Murals

Cattle Roundup, Eureka

“Cattle Roundup,” 1938 by Vance Kirkland. Eureka Post Office.

Between 1936 and 1942, the federal government’s Fine Arts Section of the Procurement Division of the Treasury Department partnered with local citizens in Kansas and professional artists and architects to select images for post office murals. Join Lorraine Madway as she discusses how the murals preserved local autonomy while projecting the New Deal values of optimism and communal progress in “Images of Depression-Era Work in Kansas Post Office Murals” at the Frances Sewell Plamann History Center. August 16 at 7:00 PM. Sponsored by the Brown County Historical Society. Click here for details.

Montezuma: A Mighty Fine Line

Perceived as transient laborers and barely mentioned in railroad oral histories, ethnic crews not only worked the rail lines, they also impacted the cultures of rural Kansas communities. In “Ethnic Labor and Small Towns on the Rock Island Line,” M. J. Morgan draws on oral histories of residents who remember when Mexican and town women exchanged recipes, Mexican workers lived in boxcars near the rail lines, and the sounds of Greek music echoed over the fields at twilight. August 17 at 2:00 PM at Stauth Memorial Museum. Click here for details.

Park City: Waiting on Dignity

Waiter in Washington, D.C.In 1820’s urban America, free black men prized the position of restaurant waiter, instilling pride, status, and dignity into their work. In “Waiting on – and for – Dignity: Black Waiters before the Civil War,” Kelly Erby explains how black waiters’ efforts to raise the status of their labor sheds light on the enduring centrality of work to the American identity. August 17 at 7:00 PM at Park City Public Library. Click here for details. Image via Library of Congress.

Council Grove & Topeka: Lots of TALK

Two great communities, two great Talk About Literature in Kansas book discussions. Dennis Etzel leads a discussion of John Irving’s “A Prayer for Owen Meany,” on August 18 at 3:00 PM at Aldersgate Village in Topeka. Click here for details.

“The Last Cattle Drive” by Robert Day is the featured book at the Council Grove Public Library on August 20 at 7:00 PM. Steven Foulke lead the discussion. Click here for details.

Lawrence: Tweet Like it’s 1863

bleeding kansas bleeding moThis week in Lawrence, the big news is the 150th anniversary of Quantrill’s Raid. On the eve of the raid’s anniversary, KU professor of history and former KHC Speakers Bureau presenter, Jonathan Earle and co-author Diane Mutti Burke launch their book “Bleeding Kansas, Bleeding Missouri: The Long Civil War on the Border,” August 20 at 7:00 PM at the Carnegie Building. Sponsored by the Lawrence Public Library. Click here for details.

Don’t forget to follow #QR1863 on Twitter for KHC’s daily tweets from the “Quantrill’s Raid and Order No. 11” Shared Stories of the Civil War script and as Lawrence residents and historians “live tweet” the events of Quantrill’s Raid now through August 21st. Join Jonathan Earle and Jeremy Neely, professor of history at Missouri State University, as they lead a community discussion about the raid at 5:30 PM on August 21 at the Watkins Community Museum of History. Click here for details. A full schedule of 1863 Lawrence events can be found here.

Humanities Happenings (8/2-8/3)

Hello, August! Ring in the new month with KHC-supported events this weekend.

McPherson: Taking Care of Business

If buildings could talk, what tales they would tell! McPherson Main Street is offering the next best thing: an exhibition featuring the histories of buildings and businesses on McPherson’s Main Street. Head to the McPherson Public Library through August 31 to find out the stories behind some of McPherson’s oldest structures. Click here for details.

On to Lawrence, KS

On to Lawrence, KS, Image courtesy of:, Kansas State Historical Society. Copy and Reuse Restrictions apply.

Fort Scott: Sharing Stories

On August 21, 1863, William Quantrill and his band of pro-Confederate guerrillas stormed the free state town of Lawrence in a surprise attack. The attack claimed the lives of approximately 200 citizens and left the town in ruins. Four days later, Border Commander Brigadier General Thomas Ewing issued Order Number 11. The order mandated that citizens in four Missouri border counties must establish their loyalty to the Union or be forced to evacuate their homes or move within a mile of a Union post. Property was burned while women and children fled with only the clothes on their backs. Chaos and looting engulfed the border region for weeks.

150 years later, Fort Scott National Historic Site is commemorating the events of August 1863 with a reader’s theater presentation of the “Quantrill’s Raid and Order Number 11” Shared Stories of the Civil War script. August 3rd at 2:00 PM. Click here for details.

Image courtesy of

Image courtesy of

Twitter: Today in 1863

Speaking of Quantrill’s Raid and Order Number 11, you can follow the events of 1863 as they unfold in “real time” on Twitter by following #QR1863. It’s all part of a commemoration of the 150th anniversary of Quantrill’s Raid. Click here for the latest KHC E-News with information about Quantrill’s Raid Twitter projects.