The TALK of Topeka

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“Today our Independent Living residents enjoyed a terrific book discussion about Zora Neale Hurston’s classic, ‘Their Eyes Were Watching God.’ [KHC makes] wonderful experiences possible for people from all walks of life across the Great State of Kansas. We appreciate all you do!”

—TALK Program Coordinator, Topeka

Since 1997, KHC has supported 180 Talk About Literature in Kansas (TALK) book discussions at Topeka senior living facilities. That’s 10 opportunities each year to bring readers together with a discussion leader for an engaging conversation about a good book. KHC provides the books and discussion leader to make these lifelong learning events possible. With your help, we can bring even more TALK book discussions to Topeka’s seniors.

Will you support KHC at Topeka Gives on Tuesday, June 2nd? Your gift to KHC will be matched by the Topeka Community Foundation.

Stop by Fairlawn Plaza, located at 21st and Fairlawn in Topeka, on Tuesday, June 2nd between 7 AM and 6 PM to make your donation to KHC at Topeka Gives. Download this donation form or pick one up at the event.

Your contribution to KHC at Topeka Gives will keep TALK going strong for Topeka seniors. 

Research shows that lifelong learning activities stimulate the mind, promoting a healthy brain and mental alertness.  KHC needs your support to keep these programs free and available to those who need them. Thank you for supporting TALK in Topeka.

Topeka Gives Map

 

Humanities Happenings: 05/29-05/31

More Hometown Teams events this weekend! And, mark your calendars for the opening of Great Bend’s Hometown Teams partner site exhibit!

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Jetmore: “Friday Night Lights”
The public is invited to “Friday Night Lights, 8-Man Style,” a “Hometown Teams” partner site exhibit that documents the people and traditions that make eight-man football possible in rural Hodgeman County. The exhibit is on display through May 31st at Hodgeman County Courthouse. Click here for details.

 

 

 

The 1936 U.S. Olympic basketball team was rooted in McPherson, Kansas.  Image Courtesy McPherson Convention and Visitors Bureau.

The 1936 U.S. Olympic basketball team was rooted in McPherson, Kansas. Image Courtesy McPherson Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Greensburg: From Rivals to Teammates
The “Hometown Teams” Smithsonian Institution traveling exhibition continues at Kiowa County Historical Museum and Soda Fountain.

Kiowa County’s companion exhibition, “Maverick Nation: Our Hometown Team,” is also on display. “Maverick Nation” focuses on how sports brought the community together after the 2007 EF-5 tornado and how the community has come full circle with one school, the Kiowa County High School, and one mascot, the Mavericks. Both exhibits run through June 21st at the historical museum.  Click here for details.

Additionally, Rich Hughes, author of Netting Out Basketball 1936, will present on Kansas’ long and storied connections to the game of basketball. The presentation will also include a screening of the KHC-funded short documentary film Oil and Gold. May 30th at Kiowa County Historical Museum and Soda Fountain at 2:00pm. Click here for details.

 

 

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Great Bend: The Beat of Their Own Drum
“The Hometown Team: How Our Community Championed Its Youth” partner site exhibit tells the story of the Argonne Rebels, a successful competitive drum and bugle corps established in Great Bend in the 1940s. The exhibit is on display through August 31st. June 1st at Great Bend Public Library. Click here for details.

 

 

 

For details about upcoming KHC events, please visit our calendar.

A-Hunting We Will Go

This 1867 Harper's Weekly illustration, "Buffalo Hunting on the Plains by Officers of the United States Army," shows the kind of hunting that took place at Fort Larned.  Image Courtesy Fort Larned Old Guard.

This 1867 Harper’s Weekly illustration, “Buffalo Hunting on the Plains by Officers of the United States Army,” shows the kind of hunting that took place at Fort Larned. Image Courtesy Fort Larned Old Guard.

This year, KHC features weekly posts related to the Smithsonian Institution traveling exhibition Hometown Teams, currently touring Kansas.

Today, Kansas enjoys a reputation for having some of the best hunting in the country. Tales of plentiful pheasants and “monster bucks” lure hunters eager to test their mettle against Kansas wildlife.

When Fort Larned was established in the late 1850s, though, bucks were small potatoes.

In those days, it was all about the buffalo, said Ellen Jones, Fort Larned Old Guard’s Hometown Teams Partner Site Project Director.

The various Native American tribes in the area had long hunted buffalo as a source of food and skins. But when officers stationed at the new outpost saw the herds of buffalo stampeding across the plains, they envisioned hunting for sport

For the most part, it was the elite officer class who formed the hunting parties: Captain Albert Barnitz of the 7th Cavalry, stationed at Larned, wrote to his wife in 1867 that officers from his unit “had engaged in competition to see who of two parties could kill the most buffalo in one day.”

Barnitz’s wife didn’t take part in the hunt, but other officers’ wives certainly did, both at Fort Larned and in other army outposts in Kansas.

Elizabeth Custer, wife of General George Armstrong Custer, encouraged other women to join her in camp activities, including buffalo hunting. She even claimed to have been the first woman on a buffalo hunt in Kansas!

But it wasn’t all fun and games. As herds dwindled due to over-hunting, tensions increased between local Native Americans, who depended on the buffalo for survival, and whites stationed at Fort Larned.

Fort Larned’s exhibit will explore these aspects of sport hunting and more.

As Jones pointed out, hunting is still a huge part of local culture and recreation. She thinks focusing the exhibit on a topic people already care about will help stimulate interest in the history of the area.

“If you can tie your local history to the things people like to do anyway, you’re pretty set,” she added.

The exhibit will be on display at the Fort Larned Visitor Center and Museum from April 24 to November 30. For more information, contact (620) 285-6911.

Humanities Happenings: 05/23-05/25

It would be downright unsportsmanlike to let this weekend’s Humanities Happenings pass you by!

 

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Blue Rapids: Glory Days
The public is invited an open house and sneak preview of “For a Day, for a Decade, for a Century,” a special exhibit that explores the tradition of local sports and features a 1913 exhibition baseball game between the Chicago White Sox and the New York Giants played in Blue Rapids.

Local high school alumni are encouraged to attend and bring sports memorabilia and photographs. The partner site exhibit is on display through August 9th.

This project is part of “Hometown Teams,” a statewide initiative exploring the way sports build and unite communities. May 23rd at Blue Rapids Historical Society at 9:00am. Click here for details.

 

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La Cygne: Semi Pro
The public is invited to an open house for “What Binds Our Community Together? It’s Hometown Teams!,” a special exhibit that examines the semiprofessional baseball teams popular in Linn and Miami counties at the turn of the 20th century. The Hometown Teams partner site exhibit is on display through December 31st. May 24th at La Cygne Historical Society at 11:00am. Click here for details.

Additionally, Phil Dixon, an independent scholar, will present on the Kansas City Monarchs, members of the Negro National League, and a highly skilled baseball team with a rich history. Learn about the communities around Linn County that hosted the team. Sports-themed books and local memorabilia will also be on display. May 24th at Linn County Library, District 2 at 1:00pm. Click here for details.

 

Photo courtesy of: Ashley Bergner/The Newton Kansan

Photo courtesy of: Ashley Bergner/The Newton Kansan

North Newton: Reflecting on Race
Annette LeZotte, Kauffman Museum Director, and Rachel Pannabecker, Exhibit Researcher will share community reactions toward and interactions with “Sorting Out Race,” a special exhibit at the Kauffman Museum that uses thrift store race-related objects as a starting point for conversations about race and racial identity. May 24th at Kauffman Museum at 3:00pm. Click here for details.

 

 

 

Jane Holwerda

Jane Holwerda

Garden City: Waiting
Author Ha Jin provides a moving, but disturbing, view of Cultural Revolution-era China and human frailties. Lin Kong, a doctor whose duties separate him from his arranged-marriage wife, falls in love with Manna. Lin’s wife won’t agree to divorce. Thus, he is “waiting” the 18 years before he can divorce without her consent. 308 pp. Jane Holwerda leads the TALK book discussion. May 25th at Finney County Public Library at 11:00am. Click here for details. 

 

 

 

 

 

For more dynamic humanities events, visit KHC’s calendar.

 

Uniting a Community, Eight Men at a Time

This year, KHC features weekly posts related to the Smithsonian Institution traveling exhibition Hometown Teams, currently touring Kansas.

The current Hodgeman County High School Longhorns' success on the football field follows in the footsteps of other successful area teams, like the undefeated 1935 Hanston Rural High School Elks.  Image Courtesy Hodgeman County Economic Development.

The current Hodgeman County High School Longhorns’ success on the football field follows in the footsteps of other successful area teams, like the undefeated 1935 Hanston Rural High School Elks. Image Courtesy Hodgeman County Economic Development.

When small-town teams consolidate, there are always fears about how the new team will shape up.

As players on the Hodgeman County High School Longhorns 8-man football team found out, there’s nothing quite like winning to help smooth that transition.

After a 2013 season that saw the football team go all the way to the Kansas state 8-Man Division I state championship game, the community has largely come to support its new-look Longhorns. But that wasn’t always the case, said Lea Ann Seiler, Hodgeman Country Economic Development’s Hometown Teams Partner Site Project Director.

“Like many small towns in Kansas, the Friday night football rivalry went a bit further than Friday night sometimes,” Seiler said. “When it was evident that the consolidation [of the Hanston Elks and the Jetmore Longhorns] was a must, it really created a division within the community.”

But local organization Hodgeman First was determined to make sure that the school consolidation strengthened community bonds in the county—and saw the brand-new football team as a great way to achieve that.

Hodgeman First raised funds to buy HCHS Longhorns t-shirts for community members and distributed them at the year’s first pep rally, where cheerleaders symbolically released old Hanston Elks and Jetmore Longhorns balloons into the air before passing out new balloons bearing the HCHS Longhorns logo. A day that could have been painful instead became a way to simultaneously commemorate the county’s sports history and celebrate its future.

Seiler said she hopes the exhibition about Hodgeman County’s 8-man football history will remind those who see it that local sports are about more than the games, players and coaches—that the whole community is involved.

The team’s success elicits community support, she said, but the community support also adds to the team’s success. From bus drivers to pre-game concessions workers, everyone contributes.

“Football brings people together out here,” Seiler added. “We’re one county, one community and one school.”

Hodgeman County’s exhibit, “Friday Night Lights…8 Man Style,” will be on permanent display at the Haun Museum beginning in April. For more information, contact Hodgeman1@unitedwireless.com or (620) 357-8831.

 

Hometown Teams: Walking Progress Update

HT Walking Progress 2

We’re not in Kansas anymore!

Since the launch of the Smithsonian Institution traveling exhibition, “Hometown Teams: How Sports Shape America,” in January, Kansans have laced up their walking shoes and logged some serious mileage. After totaling Walking Scorecards from “Hometown Teams” host and partner communities Ellinwood, Glasco, and Wamego, as well as KHC’s own Walk Kansas team, we have walked a grand total of 1,159 miles (see map graphic above). This means we are only 301 miles shy of our original goal: walking the “Hometown Teams” exhibition back to its home in Washington, D.C.

Thanks to a $50,000 grant from the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas Foundation, KHC used the “Hometown Teams” Smithsonian exhibition to jumpstart a statewide initiative that promotes healthy behaviors via sports and fitness public programs. The eight “Minute for Movement” activity stations at the “Hometown Teams” host sites, which supplement the Smithsonian exhibition proper, have already proved popular. In addition, visitors to host and partner sites are given a pedometer and a “Hometown Teams” Walking Scorecard so they can track their number of steps and/or minutes they spend on the move.

Help us walk the rest of the way to D.C. and achieve our goal by downloading your own Hometown Teams Walking Scorecard here. When your scorecard is full, you can e-mail your totals to Tracy Quillin, Associate Director, at tracy(at)kansashumanities.org.  You can also pick up a pedometer and Walking Scorecard at any of the “Hometown Teams” host or partner sites.

 

Humanities Happenings: Hometown Teams Edition

It’s a “Hometown Teams”-themed Humanities Happenings! Read on to find out about upcoming and ongoing “Hometown Teams” exhibits and programs.

 

Michael J. Zogry

Michael J. Zogry

 

Greensburg: Another Side to Naismith
The presentation “Religion and Basketball: Naismith’s Game” explores how and to what extent religion played a part in James Naismith’s life. Michael J. Zogry, “Hometown Teams” Kansas tour scholar, will make connections between Naismith’s faith and his creation of the game of basketball, and Naismith’s historical and cultural legacy. May 17th at Kiowa County Historical Museum and Soda Fountain at 2:00pm. Click here for details.

 

 

 

 

 

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Pratt: Rec League Revelry
The public is invited to the opening of “Images of Hometown Teams in the Pratt Region,” a special partner site exhibit at the Vernon Filley Art Museum. The exhibit is on display through June 21st. *Please note the exhibit opening was originally scheduled for May 9th, but was cancelled due to severe weather.*

The Pratt Recreation Commission has been strengthening the community since the 1950s. This exhibition features the work of citizen photographers from the Vernon Filley Art Museum. Embedded with local teams, the photographers documented one season of rec league play. View their images and learn about the Recreation Commission’s unique history.

Hear a panel of local experts discuss the history and long-term impact sports and the Pratt Recreation Commission.

The project is part of “Hometown Teams,” a statewide initiative exploring the way sports build and unite communities. May 18th at Vernon Filley Art Museum at 6:00pm. Click here for details.

 

 

hodgeman_1935_football

Jetmore: All for One and Eight-Man for All
Jetmore’s partner site exhibition, “Friday Night Lights, 8-Man Style,”  documents the people and traditions that make eight-man football possible in rural Hodgeman County, Kansas. The exhibit is on display through May 31st at Hodgeman County Courthouse. Click here for details.

The project is part of “Hometown Teams,” a statewide initiative exploring the way sports build and unite communities.

 

 

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Larned: Survival, Sport, or Both?
Larned’s partner site exhibition, “The Evolution of Hunting: From Survival to Marketing to Sport at Fort Larned,” examines how hunting transitioned from a survival necessity to a leisure sport enjoyed by cavalry officers and their wives. The exhibit is on display through November 1st at Fort Larned National Historic Site. Click here for details.

The project is part of “Hometown Teams,” a statewide initiative exploring the way sports build and unite communities.

 

For more information about “Hometown Teams” exhibits and other humanities events, visit KHC’s calendar.

 

Preservation Workshops Rewarding Experience for All

Audrey Coleman and a Vietnam War veteran examining a bamboo quiver and arrows. Photo courtesy of: Patty Locher

Audrey Coleman and a Vietnam War veteran in Sabetha. Photo courtesy of: The Sabetha Herald.

In January, KHC awarded grants to thirteen organizations as part of Standing Together, a National Endowment for the Humanities initiative to promote understanding of the military experience and to support returning veterans. Each organization received a $300 grant to host public community workshops, led by a preservation consultant, to help veterans and their families learn how to preserve uniforms, medals, letters, photographs, email correspondence, and other important items that soldiers carried home.

So far, Mary Cotton Public Library, Friends of Fort Scott National Historic Site, Coffey County Library-Lebo Branch, Leavenworth Public Library, Watkins Museum of History, and Friends of the Valley Center Public Library have successfully hosted preservation workshops. Nearly 100 Kansans have attended the workshops to learn how to preserve their history, and to share military-related objects and stories.

For veterans, their relatives, and curious citizens, “The Things They Carried Home” preservation workshops have proved both engaging and helpful. Audrey Coleman, Senior Archivist at Robert J. Dole Institute of Politics, explained, “In general, there is a big concern among attendees that they ‘do the right thing'” with their materials, whether these are documents, journals, or photographs.

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Preservation consultant Marla Day leads the workshop in Lawrence. Photo courtesy of: Richard Rees

Perhaps the biggest challenge with handling these materials is trying to strike a balance between properly storing them and wanting to display them in the home. Coleman said that, more often than not, “the best, right thing is to do very little with their materials” and keep them “in an interior climate-controlled environment.”

In addition to educating the public on proper preservation techniques, preservation consultants and project directors felt they themselves gained something meaningful from the workshops. Participants who shared military objects often opened the door to broader discussions about military experiences across time and place.

Kim Turner, the project director for the Leavenworth Public Library workshop, said, “Discussion of preservation led to discussion of objects and the stories behind them. Real life stories gave the wars a human face. Sacrifice we have heard about but to hear it from those directly involved is humbling.”

If you or someone you know is interested in participating in a “The Things They Carried Home” preservation workshop, there are seven more opportunities, with the next workshop taking place on June 18th at Abilene Public Library. Workshops are free and open to the public. For details on all upcoming preservation workshops, visit KHC’s calendar of events.

 

 

A Thousand Words and Then Some

This year, KHC features weekly posts related to the Smithsonian Institution traveling exhibition Hometown Teams, currently touring Kansas.

Pratt Recreation Department has been a major source of community pride for decades, sponsoring adult and youth sports teams that bring area residents together.  Image Courtesy Pratt Recreation Center.

Pratt Recreation Department has been a major source of community pride for decades, sponsoring adult and youth sports teams that bring area residents together. Image Courtesy Pratt Recreation Center.

The small town of Pratt, Kansas, is out to prove that old “athletes versus artists” cliché wrong.

After all, according to Brittany Novotny, Pratt’s Hometown Teams Partner Site Project Director, Pratt-region youths and adults experience success in both artistic and athletic pursuits—especially through the area rec league.

“Pratt is really known for how tight-knit our community is,” Novotny said. “So we thought, what’s the best way to show how our community has come together over time?”

The town decided to tie sports and art together by creating a photography exhibit devoted to the athletes and teams that play in Pratt’s Recreation leagues. Well known in the area since the late 1950s, the Pratt Recreation Department sponsors sports and activities for both adults and kids.

The Rec leagues are incredibly active, too; the south-central Kansas town has a population of just under 7000, but more than 1000 youths and 400 adults take part in their programming, said Pratt Recreation Director Bruce Pinkall.

The Vernon Filley Art Museum embedded students in its photography classes with Rec league teams, giving these guerrilla photographers a chance to get on-the-ground sports photography experience and document the story of the players, audience and full environment at the games.

Paired with past photos and other objects provided by Charmaine Swanepoel, curator of the Pratt County Historical Society, the students’ artwork will create a visual history of what Pratt’s local teams mean to the community.

For Stan Reimer, photographer and VFAM executive director, sports photography offers one of the clearest examples of advancement in the art.

“Advances in the technology let us see the discipline and athleticism of the players,” he said. “The technology has caught up to actually show what the athletes can do.”

That explicit pairing of art and athletics is part of what Pratt hopes to explore in their exhibit, Novotny said.

“Sports hit so many different genres,” she added. “We want to the show the different mediums that can showcase and help preserve that.”

The exhibit will be on display at the Vernon Filley Art Museum from May 8 to June 26. For more information, visit www.vernonfilleyartmuseum.org.

Humanities Happenings: 05/08-05/10

This Mother’s Day weekend, spend some quality time with your mothers and loved ones by attending one of the following Humanities Happenings events:

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Greensburg: Rebuilding Communities through Sports
Experience the story of sports — the athletes, the coaches, and the fans who cheer them on — in “Hometown Teams,” a Smithsonian Institution traveling exhibition. Get up close to memorable artifacts and view over 200 photographs highlighting Americans and their love of sports. Get into the game with “Minute for Movement” sports-inspired exercise stations designed to get you moving.

The Kiowa County Historical Society’s companion exhibition, “Maverick Nation: Our Hometown Team,” focuses on how sports brought the community together after the 2007 EF-5 tornado and how the community has come full circle with one school, the Kiowa County High School, and one mascot, the Mavericks. Both exhibits are on display through June 21st.  May 9th at Kiowa County Historical Museum & Soda Fountain. Click here for details.

 

pratt_rec_league_team

Pratt: Rec League Revelry
The public is invited to the opening of “Images of Hometown Teams in the Pratt Region,” a special partner site exhibit at the Vernon Filley Art Museum. The exhibit is on display through June 21st.

The Pratt Recreation Commission has been strengthening the community since the 1950s. This exhibition features the work of citizen photographers from the Vernon Filley Art Museum. Embedded with local teams, the photographers documented one season of rec league play. View their images and learn about the Recreation Commission’s unique history.

Hear a panel of local experts discuss the history and long-term impact sports and the Pratt Recreation Commission.

The project is part of “Hometown Teams,” a statewide initiative exploring the way sports build and unite communities. May 9th at Vernon Filley Art Museum at 6:00pm. Click here for details.

 

 

Marilyn Klaus

Marilyn Klaus

Augusta: The Autobiography of Malcom X
Malcolm X boldly articulated the struggles, the anger, and the beliefs of African Americans in the 1960s. His powerful autobiography, written in collaboration with Roots author Alex Haley, is a modern classic. 527 pp. Marilyn E. Klaus leads the TALK book discussion. May 9th at Augusta Public Library at 10:30am. Click here for details.

 

 

 

 

 

Kelly Erby

Kelly Erby

Park City: Stirring the Pot
Late in the 1800s, a wide range of cafes opened in American cities to serve the country’s growing immigrant populations. The new variety of cuisines and dining rituals on display in these restaurants soon sparked curiosity among native-born Americans. After all, in few other public spaces was such intimate access to immigrant life available. Immigrant proprietors sought to capitalize on Americans’ curiosity by preserving, combining, and inventing food traditions to appeal to more affluent customers. Kelly Erby, Speakers Bureau, explains, how, by the end of the 19th century, it was this spirit of culinary diversity and experimentation that was most often identified as “American.” May 9th at Park City Public Library at 7:00pm. Click here for details.

 

 

 

 

For more information about upcoming events, visit KHC’s calendar.