Humanities Happenings (2/7-2/9)

Relieve your cabin fever and warm up to humanities events taking place throughout the state this weekend.


DeSoto: Bird Paparazzi

Kansas has produced some of the nation’s foremost experts on birds, men and women who have devoted their lives to studying and portraying avian life with a passion that few might understand. In his Speakers Bureau talk, “Ornithologists, Artists, and Bird Paparazzi of Kansas,” David E. Seibel examines the rich and colorful history of ornithology as a profession in Kansas and the significant contributions of artists, photographers, and cinematographers who focus on birds as their subjects. Find out if there is a particular psyche that drives “bird people,” and learn about the unique interplay between professional and amateur bird people. Feb. 8th at 11:00 AM at the DeSoto Branch of the Johnson County Library. Click here for details.


Carnival sideshow in West Virginia, 1938, by Marion Post Wolcott. Image via Library of Congress.

Dodge City: Ladies and Gentlemen, Step Right Up!

See! and Hear! how the hucksters, barkers, and sideshow workers of Kansas plied their craft when Erika Nelson presents “Hucksters, Barkers, and Sideshows” at the Boot Hill Museum. This Speakers Bureau talk explores the businessmen, eccentrics, and entrepreneurs who took their work to the smallest communities across the country with transient show-based setups, selling entertainment, promise, and miracle cures and shaping how we hype, advertise, and “turn the tip.” From the carnival and sideshow culture of Kinsley (Midway, USA) to the infamous “goat gland doctor” John R. Brinkley of Milford, you’ll be Amazed! and Awed! at their inventiveness and chutzpah. Feb. 8th at 2:00 PM. Click here for details.


"The Scout Buffalo Bill" by P. Frenzeny. Image via Library of Congress.

Kinsley: Freight Lines and Buffalo Hunting

The “Kansas Trails and Rails” series explores 19th century human migration through Kansas over the overland trails and railroads. This week, Fort Hays State University history professor Leo Oliva leads a discussion about early trails in Kansas, including the Leavenworth & Pikes Peak Express Company, Central Overland California & Pikes Peak Express Company, Smoky Hill Trail, and the Pony Express. History professor Juti Winchester, also of Fort Hays State University, discusses Buffalo Bill Cody and explores how buffalo hunting fueled the railroad industry. Feb. 9th at 2:00 PM at the Kinsley Library. Click here for details.

More KHC-supported events are taking place throughout Kansas this February. Click here for the KHC Calendar of Events.

Image credits (top to bottom): Western Meadowlark by Margaret Whittemore, 1925. Image from, Kansas Historical Society, copy and reuse restrictions apply; Carnival sideshow in West Virginia, 1938, by Marion Post Wolcott. Image via Library of Congress; “The Scout Buffalo Bill” by P. Frenzeny; Forbes Co., Boston & N.Y. Image via Library of Congress.