Humanities Happenings (11/28-12/1)

Thanksgiving is here and KHC has a full plate of humanities events taking place throughout the state this holiday weekend.

Topeka: Food for Thought

Feed your mind this Thanksgiving with an episode of Sunflower Journeys. Thursday night’s episode, “Museums & Artifacts,” features the Smoky Hill Museum in Salina, the Kansas Museum of History, and the NOTO Arts District in Topeka. November 28th at 7:00 PM on KTWU channel 11.1. Click here for details.

Your Hometown: A New Black Friday

Tired of leftovers? Not big on Black Friday shopping? Start a new day-after-Thanksgiving tradition by preserving stories of families and friends through oral histories. Both the Kansas African American Affairs Commission and StoryCorps have ideas and tips to help you record your memories on November 29th. Click here for details.

McPherson: Double Feature

In honor of the grand opening of the new McPherson Museum & Arts Foundation building, the McPherson CVB is hosting a screening of Oil and Gold: The McPherson Globe Refiners Basketball Story and All-Schools Day. Both short films highlight McPherson’s history and were supported by a KHC Humanities grant. November 30th at 11:00 and 11:30 a.m. Click here for details.

Russell Springs: Scene Steeler

Cowboys in Clark County

Cowboys in Clark County by F. M. Steele. Image from, Kansas Historical Society, copy and reuse restrictions apply.

In 1890, photographer Francis Marion Steele arrived in Dodge City to document cowboys at work on the open prairie. But his subject matter changed when the prairie began to fence up and cattle ranching gave way to crop farming. Jim Hoy shares Steele’s images and discusses how he photographed the dramatic ways work changed at the turn of the 20th century in his Speakers Bureau presentation, “A Photographer’s Work and the Work of Western Kansas” at the Butterfield Trail Association. December 1st at 1:00 PM. Click here for details.

KHC is thankful for your support of humanities events in Kansas. Click here to find more KHC-supported events happening now through the end of the year. Happy Thanksgiving!

A New Thanksgiving Tradition

The day after Thanksgiving is known for Black Friday sales and turkey leftovers. Two organizations want to add a third item to the Thanksgiving Friday schedule: oral histories. Both the Kansas African American Affairs Commission and the StoryCorps national listening projects want to help you preserve your family stories on November 29th.

kaaac_flyerA New Black Friday

The Kansas African American Affairs Commission (KAAAC) is sponsoring “A New Black Friday,” a Kansas African American oral history project November 27 – December 1, 2013. According to the KAAAC brochure:

 The A New Black Friday project is a Kansas African American oral history project developed to provide a meaningful alternative to the activity in which society engages the day after Thanksgiving holiday. While much is known about the founding of our great State, little is known about the African American contribution. Every family has “family stories” that have been passed down from generation to generation and it is through these stories that we hope to tell ours.

Click here for more information, including a brochure with step-by-step instructions.

National Day of Listening

For ten years, the StoryCorps national listening project has been preserving the stories of everyday people. On November 29, StoryCorps is sponsoring the National Day of Listening, an opportunity to record interviews with loved ones on the StoryCorps website. Watch the 1 minute, 30 second video for more information:

Click here for information on how you can participate in the National Day of Listening.

Are you a nonprofit organization for with an idea for a community oral history project? Click here for information about KHC Heritage grants.

Humanities Happenings (11/14-11/15)

Accessible Archives copy

It’s a busy month for the humanities in Kansas! The number of innovative events and inspiring conversations give Kansans plenty to be thankful for this November. Here’s a sampling of events taking place today and tomorrow:

El Dorado: Archives Open House

The Butler County History Center recently cataloged and indexed documents in their collection, with the support of a KHC Heritage grant, to make them more accessible to researchers and community members. Tonight, the public is invited to an open house and a behind-the-scenes tour of the archives and collection storage. 6-8 PM, November 14th. Click here for details.

pl_lawrenceLawrence: Poetry, Humanities, Music, and Art

The Lawrence Public Library hosts an evening with Wyatt Townley, Poet Laureate of Kansas, at the Cider Gallery. Townley will present “Coming Home to Poetry” and music will be provided by the Lawrence Free State High School Orchestra Gig Group. 7:00 PM on November 14th. Click here for details.

St. John: Foam on the Range

As settlers streamed into Kansas, brewers set up their mash tuns and wort kettles when making beer was still an art and state prohibition a bemusing notion. A reassuring fixture in German enclaves, Kansas’s 90+ breweries fueled social events and made brewers one of the most influential citizens in town. Join Cindy Higgins at the Ida Long Goodman Memorial Library for her “Kansas Brewers and Breweries” Speakers Bureau presentation and discover these brewers of early Kansas, German social customs, livelihood loss, and the emergence of artisan brewing today. 7:00 PM on November 14th. Click here for more information.

slavery by another nameWichita: The Conversation Continues

To mark the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act, a panel of experts, including historians Gretchen Eick of Friends University and Robert Weems of Wichita State University, will discuss the documentary “Slavery by Another Name” at The Kansas African American Museum.  This event is part of the Created Equal: America’s Civil Rights Struggle, an initiative of the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History. 6:00 PM on November 15th. Click here for details.

There are many more humanities events taking place this week and throughout November. Click here for the full KHC calendar of events.

2014 Grant Guidelines Available

The #QR1863 Twitter project in Lawrence was funded by a KHC grant in 2013. Photo by Nick Krug, Lawrence Journal-World.

The #QR1863 Twitter project in Lawrence was funded by a KHC Humanities grant in 2013. Photo by Nick Krug, Lawrence Journal-World.

Have an idea for a humanities project? KHC has grant opportunities available to Kansas nonprofits in 2014.

KHC Humanities and Heritage grants support projects that use the humanities to connect people with ideas, places, and history. Eligible projects include, but are not limited to:

  • museum exhibitions
  • short films that strengthen community and encourage discussions
  • oral history projects
  • photograph digitization projects
  • research projects

The 2014 grant deadlines are February 19, May 28, and September 24. Click here for more information about the grants.

Questions? Contact Murl Riedel, director of grants, at murl(at) or (785) 357-0359.

KHC Awards Five Fall Grants

Ada Towns, Miss Stafford County, 1928. Photo by W. R. Gray.

Ada Towns, Miss Stafford County, 1928. Photo by W. R. Gray.

KHC recently awarded $23,318 in Humanities and Heritage grants to five organizations. Local contributions to the projects are estimated at $50,760.

Flint Hills Discovery Center, Manhattan ($8,725)
Flint Hills Forces: The Shaping of Manhattan, Fort Riley, and KSU, 1917-1963  

The Flint Hills Discovery Center, Fort Riley, Kansas State University, and the Riley County Historical Society will join forces to produce an exhibition and series of public programs exploring the history of the region between 1917 and 1963. Roy Garrett, project director.

Linwood Community Library ($3,224)
Linwood History Online

The Linwood Community Library will index a collection of early 20th century photographs. Chris Bohling, project director.

Northeast Kansas Cooperative Council, Inc., Kansas City ($9,900)

Founded in 1857 on the Missouri River, the town of Quindaro thrived for six years. The Quindaro documentary short film examines the history of the northeast Kansas community and looks at future plans for the area’s revitalization. Jefferson Edward Donald, project director.

Rice County Historical Society, Lyons ($2,972)
Harvesting the Agricultural Equipment

The Rice County Historical Society will research and document the agricultural items in their collection, resulting in an exhibition on the agricultural heritage of Rice County. Charlene Akers, project director.

Stafford County Historical and Genealogical Society, Stafford ($3,497)
Gray Studio Glass Plate Negatives Project

A collection of 4,000 glass plate negatives from the studio of W. R. Gray, an early 20th century photographer, will be cleaned, preserved, and made available online. Michael Hathaway, project director.

The Kansas Humanities Council is a nonprofit organization that supports community-based cultural programs, serves as a financial resource through an active grant-making program, and encourages Kansans to engage in the civic and cultural life of their communities.

2014 Humanities and Heritage grant guidelines are available. Click here or contact Murl Riedel, director of grants, at murl(at) for more information.

Apply to be a Hometown Teams Partner Site

Partner Site_bannerDeadline: December 13, 2013
Click here for application guidelines.

Hometown Teams_Title Treatment_SM_color_FNLDoes your community have a history of dedicated fans, inspiring athletes, motivational coaches, or legendary rivalries? What sports traditions bond your community across time, cultures, and generations? Are you wondering how your nonprofit organization can be a part of a statewide conversation about sports and community? Apply to be a Hometown Teams partner site with the Kansas Humanities Council.  

As part of the Hometown Teams statewide initiative, partner sites work alongside the six sites hosting the Smithsonian Institution traveling exhibition to tell the story of how sports build and unite communities in Kansas.

Hometown Teams partner sites receive $1,500 to tell their story of sports and community through exhibitions, oral history projects, speaker series, and other humanities projects. Click here for examples of past partner site projects.

Partner sites also receive training with Smithsonian Institution staff and statewide publicity and promotion of their Hometown Teams project from KHC, including listing in a statewide brochure.

For more information about Hometown Teams partner sites, contact Murl Riedel, director of grants, at murl(at)

Humanities Happenings (11/1-11/4)

Fall into the humanities this weekend and throughout November with KHC-supported events across the state.

Zora Neale Hurston by Carl Van Vechten. Library of Congress.

Zora Neale Hurston by Carl Van Vechten. Library of Congress.

Augusta: Mules and Men

In her introduction to Mules and Men, Zora Neale Hurston recalled: “I was glad when somebody told me, ‘You may go and collect Negro folklore.'” The resulting book established the territory she would continue to explore in both fiction and non-fictional terms, the shaping of African American identity in the context of both the experience of the South and the Great Migration to the cities of the North. Shawn Leigh Alexander leads the TALK book discussion at the Augusta Public Library on November 2nd at 10:30 AM. Click here for details.

Newton: The Road to Valhalla Premiere

150 years ago, the Civil War raged on the Kansas-Missouri border. This weekend, a documentary film telling the story of that tumultuous period premieres at the Historic Fox Theatre. The Road to Valhalla: Civil War on the Border, produced by Lone Chimney Films, recounts the conflict between bushwhackers and jayhawkers, the forced removal of civilians, and the military clashes that sealed the fate of the Confederacy and the ultimate success of the Union. November 2nd at 6:00 and 8:30 p.m. and November 3rd at 2:00 p.m. Click here for details.

march_on_washingtonWhitewater: Civil Rights in Kansas

Gretchen Cassel Eick discusses how the Civil Rights movement of the 1950s-1970s dramatically affected the way we work in Kansas in her Speakers Bureau presentation “Civil Rights Working in Kansas,” sponsored by the Frederic Remington Area Historical Society. Eick explores how, by implementing various strategies, civil rights advocates forced the state and other government agencies to alter their policies. November 4th at 7:30 p.m. at Remington High School. Click here for details.
Image: March on Washington, 1963. Library of Congress.

Find more humanities events in November on the KHC Calendar of Events.