Kansas Grant Writing Workshop

Kansas City, MO
November 10, 2015

Please join us for the 2015 Kansas Grant Writing Workshop at the Kauffman Foundation on November 10, 2015! For just $30, you’ll learn new approaches to grant-writing, strengthen your skills, and connect with potential funders. Don’t miss this one-day workshop – registration is open now. Click here to register. Lunch will be provided. Keynote speakers include Becky Eason with Wordcraft LLC and Jill D. Miller with Creative Solutions, as well as breakout sessions presented by the Kansas Volunteer Commission and the Kansas Humanities Council.

This event is hosted by the Kansas Volunteer Commission, Kansas Humanities Council and Kansas Enrichment Network. If you have questions, please email volunteer@ksde.org.

Grant Writing Workshop, Final

Humanities Happenings 10/30-11/1

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Scene from “Prejudice and Pride,” Episode 5 of the “Latino Americans: 500 Years of History” documentary. Image courtesy of the American Library Association and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

It’s all treats and no tricks for humanities events in Kansas during the last weekend of National Arts and Humanities Month!

Overland Park: Prejudice and Pride

Frustrated by the persistent discrimination of the 1960s, Latino Americans organized labor and fashioned a “Chicano” identity with hopes of achieving political equality. Watch “Prejudice and Pride (1965-1980),” part of the “Latino Americans: 500 Years of History” documentary series and participate in a discussion led by Peter Haney of the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies at the University of Kansas. You can also record your own story about the Latino American experience in northeast Kansas. Sponsored by Johnson County Community College. 10:00 AM on October 30th at the Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art. Click here for details.

Kansas City: Nicodemus Connection to a Vice President

Before homesteading as free men in the African American settlement of Nicodemus, Kansas, Tom Johnson and John Samuels were enslaved by U.S. Vice President Richard M. Johnson (1831-1841) and his daughter Imogene Pence. Johnson became a controversial figure when he married Julia Chinn, a biracial woman and mother of his two daughters. Angela O. Bates’ Speakers Bureau presentation follows Tom and John’s journey from enslavement in Kentucky to freedom experienced in an all-Black town. 10:00 AM on October 31st at Metropolitan Baptist Church. Sponsored by the Kansas Institute for African American and Native American Family History. Click here for details.

Garden City: Buffalo Girls

Valerie Brown-Kuchera leads the Talk About Literature in Kansas book discussion of Larry McMurtry’s “Buffalo Girls.” McMurtry returns to the Montana scene of “Lonesome Dove” as Buffalo Bill Cody convinces Calamity Jane and a handful of the West’s aging legends to tour with his Wild West Show. 11:00 AM on October 31st at Finney County Public Library. Click here for details.

Hiawatha: Gowns Fit for the Halloween Queen

It’s the closing weekend for the Wedding Gown exhibit at the Brown County Historical Society. View dresses preserved as part of the historical society’s KHC Heritage grant project, including wedding dresses, Halloween Queen gowns, and dresses from the early 1900s. Closing day: October 31st. Click here for details.

Don’t forget to visit the Hometown Teams Smithsonian exhibition in Humboldt and Partner Site exhibitions in Cottonwood Falls, Independence, La Cygne, Larned, Lawrence, and North Newton. Visit the KHC Event Calendar for a full listing of events.

Tinker, Player, Hero, Legend

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

This 1911 Joe Tinker baseball card was printed just a few seasons after Tinker helped the Chicago Cubs win back-to-back World Series.  Image Courtesy Benjamin K. Edwards Collection, via Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division.

This 1911 Joe Tinker baseball card was printed just a few seasons after Tinker helped the Chicago Cubs win back-to-back World Series. Image Courtesy Benjamin K. Edwards Collection, via Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division.

No one still living in the small town of Muscotah, Kansas, ever saw Joe Tinker play baseball. They certainly weren’t around for either of the World Series the shortstop won with the Chicago Cubs in 1907 and 1908.

Despite that, Tinker’s memory is alive and well in his hometown of Muscotah, located in northeast Kansas, where the Kansas House of Representatives declared July 27—the anniversary of his birth in 1880 and his death in 1948—Joe Tinker Day.

The small community (population 176 as of 2010) embraces its heritage as the home of the Cubs legend, who formed one-third of the “Tinker-to-Evers-to-Chance” infield combination immortalized in newspaper columnist Franklin P. Adams’s famous 1910 poem “Baseball’s Sad Lexicon.” Muscotah citizens are building a Tinker museum inside “The World’s Largest Baseball,” a water tower painted like a baseball. The hometown hero is the subject of a local mural, too, painted by artists from Lucas, Kansas, and finished in 2013.

The same year, Muscotah commemorated Joe Tinker Day with a vintage baseball game attended by several hundred spectators. The town also brought Tinker’s grandsons and great-grandsons, some of whom had never met one another, to Muscotah as part of the celebrations.

It’s a prime example of how sports can help hold communities together, even long after the fact, writes Bob Lutz:

“We’ve got people here [in Muscotah] now who are doing great,” said Tom Wilson, who has lived in Muscotah for all of his nearly 73 years. “The whole Joe Tinker thing kind of came to light about 15 or 20 years ago and ever since then it’s just grown. I think we had our first Tinker celebration back in 2002. Yeah, he’s helping us keep the town alive. At least his spirit is.”

Now Tinker just needs to help the Cubs end their drought. 100-plus years and counting…

Humanities Happenings, 10/23-10/25

The Wichita Bull Stockings vintage base ball team. Photo courtesy of Aaron Staab/Topeka Westerns.

The Wichita Bull Stockings vintage base ball team heads to Humboldt this weekend. Photo courtesy of Aaron Staab/Topeka Westerns.

National Arts and Humanities Month continues with a full lineup of humanities events.

Humboldt: Party Like It’s 1885

The Wichita Bull Stockings take on the Olympics of Lincoln, Nebraska, in a vintage rules “base ball” game straight out of the 19th century as part of Hometown Teams in Humboldt. October 24th at 11:00 AM at George Sweatt Field and 2:00 PM at Walter Johnson Field. After the game, be sure to check out the Hometown Teams Smithsonian exhibition on exhibit at Humboldt City Hall and be sure to come back on Sunday for Rich Hughes’ “Netting Out Basketball Presentation” at 1:00 PM on October 25th.

Fort Scott: Digitizing the Learning Tree

Katherine Karlin, professor of English at Kansas State University, presents on KSU’s online digital resource that features the work of late photographer and filmmaker Gordon Parks. Parks’ 1964 novel, “The Learning Tree,” will also be discussed. October 23rd at 1:30 PM at Gordon Parks Museum/Center for Cultural Diversity. Click here for details.

Independence: Sports as Religion: Fact or Fiction?

Tour Scholar Michael J. Zogry makes unexpected connections between the worlds of sports and religion in this Hometown Teams presentation. Drawing on different cultures and historical periods, Zogry highlights several examples when athletic games and religion cross paths. October 24 at 2:00 PM at Independence Public Library. Click here for details.

Riley: The Things They Carried Home

Cynthia Harris, archivist at Hale Library, Kansas State University, leads a preservation workshop aimed at helping veterans and their families preserve materials related to military service. October 24th at 2:00 PM at Riley Community Center and sponsored by the Solomon Valley-Hwy 24-Heritage Alliance. Click here for details.

Speakers Bureau

There are lots of Speakers Bureau presentations to choose from this weekend. On October 24th Jordan Poland discusses “The Common and Quirky Mascots of Kansas” in Garnett, Joan Nothern talks about how “The Humanities Combat Rural Decline” in Harper, Lorraine Madway looks at “World War I on the Homefront: Persuasion and Propaganda” in McPherson, D. W. Carter revisits “Fire From the Kansas Sky: The Piatt Street Plane Crash of 1965” in Park City, and Aaron Barnhart explores “How Kansas Mennonites Changed Mental Health Care” in Wichita. On October 25th Jim Hoy presents “Singing the Cattle North” in Scott City.

Plus, many more events. Visit KHC’s Calendar of Events for a full listing.

 

A League of Our Own in Chase County

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

The Chase County Lady Bulldogs. Photo courtesy of Chase County Historical Society.

The Chase County Lady Bulldogs. Photo courtesy of Chase County Historical Museum.

Chase County, Kansas, home to a population of just under 3000 people, isn’t a big place.

But as any Kansan knows, small doesn’t mean lacking in stories—and particularly when it comes to sports, Chase County is brimming with them.

There’s the story of Ryan Kohlmeier, a local boy who played baseball in the area before going on to pitch for the Baltimore Orioles—and then settling down in nearby Emporia, where he owns a dental practice.

There’s the story of Rich Potter, a longtime local coach of Little League baseball and softball so beloved by his community that they honored his 47 years of coaching by naming a field after him in a ceremony attended by hundreds.

There’s even the story of Knute Rockne, the famous Notre Dame football coach, and his 1931 death in a plane crash in the county—an event still commemorated by a memorial marker and an exhibit in the Chase County Historical Museum.

But the biggest story of the last few years is Chase County Junior/Senior High School’s softball team, the Lady Bulldogs.

In a community justifiably proud of its sports heritage, the Lady Bulldogs have written themselves into the history books, winning three Kansas State 2-1A softball championships in a row.

Along the way, they tied the state record of 72 consecutive wins—an accomplishment that helped earn them the title of 2014 Small School Softball Team of the Year from MaxPreps, a national high school sports website. Head Coach Brian Potter took Small School Coach of the Year honors, and catcher Cassidy Kelsheimer was named to the site’s Small School All-American Second Team.

The team even had a day named after them. The mayor and city council of Cottonwood Falls, where CCHS is located, proclaimed May 20, 2014 to be Chase County Junior/Senior High School Softball Day in recognition of the Lady Bulldog’s athletic achievements.

“Chase County: A League of Our Own” will be on display at the Chase County Historical Museum through November 14, 2015. For more information, contact cscohist(at)sbcglobal.net or (620) 273-8500.

Humanities Happenings: 10/16-10/18

 

Larger than Life: Hodag statue, Rhinelander, WI and Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox statues, Bemidji, MN. Images courtesy of Erika Nelson.

Larger than Life: Hodag statue, Rhinelander, WI and Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox statues, Bemidji, MN. Images courtesy Erika Nelson.

Did you know October is National Arts & Humanities Month? There’s never been a more perfect time to attend a weekend humanities event in Kansas!

Junction City: Mythical Creatures
Johnny Kaw shaped Kansas’ landscape with his oversized scythe. Lonesome cowboys first sited the mythical Jackalope while riding the range. Erika Nelson, Speakers Bureau, will explore the roadside monuments devoted to our fantastical legends, from the Sasquatch of Washington to the Hodag of Wisconsin and the many commemorations of Paul Bunyan around the country. Our legends reflect our culture, growing out of geographically specific lore, while engaging in a favorite American pastime of Tall Tale telling. Nelson examines the origins of the legends, the people who crafted them, and how they reflect the regions they inhabit. October 17th at Geary County Historical Society & Museums at 1:30pm. Click here for details.

Topeka: Snow Falling on Cedars
In David Guterson’s book, a fisherman drowns and a Japanese American is charged with his murder, forcing the island residents of San Piedro to come to terms with their past, including the exile of local Japanese families during World War II. 460 pp. This book is from the TALK series, “Community: The Way We Live.” Sandra Wiechert will lead the TALK book discussion. October 16th at Aldersgate Village at 2:30pm. Click here for details.

Osage City: Prairie Law
John K. Burchill, Speakers Bureau, explains Kansas was once the center of operations for many organized bands of horse thieves. In reaction, many independent anti-horse thief societies were formed, with the national Anti-Horse Thief Association especially strong in Kansas. By 1910 Kansas held the most members, was home to The Anti-Horse Thief Weekly News, and consistently had residents hold offices in the national order. So effective were these organizations that local law enforcement were often the first to join, and the Kansas Bank Commissioner called for their assistance to help fight bank robberies that plagued the state. Sponsored by Friends of Osage City Public Library. October 16th at Osage City Public Library at 6:00pm. Click here for details.

Lawrence: Recipe for History & Heritage
Community cookbooks have carried the stories of Kansas women over the years, sharing sentiments of home, family, and faith. Louise M. Hanson, Speakers Bureau, provides a survey of Kansas cookbooks from 1874 to the present, which reveal not only changes in foodways but also poems, prayers, personal reflections, and histories. These humble publications show that food, home, community, and faith were the foundation upon which Kansas women constructed their lives. October 16th at Douglas County Extension Office at 1:30pm. Click here for details.

Independence: Remembering Baseball in Independence
Panel discussion and luncheon to commemorate Independence as a professional baseball site. Hear from former players, radio announcers, and community members involved with early baseball in the community. This event supports “Independence, Baseball, & History” a “Hometown Teams” partner site exhibit at the Independence Historical Museum & Art Center, on display through November 21st. October 17th at Independence Historical Museum & Art Center at 10:00am. Click here for details.

Hutchinson: Feeding Those Who Feed Us
Harvest has always been an important element of Kansas culture. Roy Bird, Speakers Bureau, explores the food heritage of one of the most important seasons in farm family life: feeding the harvest crews. Mealtime traditions have both remained as they were–women busy preparing large meals for men and women in the fields–and have adapted thanks to conveniences such as pizza take-out. Bring a dish to share your family’s favorite harvest-time recipe and enjoy learning about your community’s harvest mealtime traditions in this lecture, discussion, and meal. Sponsored by Reno County Genealogical Society. October 17th at Delos V. Smith Senior Citizens Center at 11:00am. Click here for details.

Humboldt: The Kansas City Monarchs & Humboldt
Formed in 1920, the Kansas City Monarchs revolutionized baseball: not only were they charter members of the Negro National League and the first professional team to use outdoor lighting, the Monarchs also sent more players to the major leagues than any other Negro League franchise. Phil S. Dixon, Speakers Bureau, explores the exciting early barnstorming days of the Monarchs, highlights great players such as Wilber “Bullet” Rogan, Satchel Paige, and Jackie Robinson who wore the uniform, and connects the spirit of the Monarchs to the many Kansas communities in which they played. Where possible, specific games and players from your community will be discussed. Sponsored by Humboldt Historic Preservation Alliance, Inc. October 17th at Humboldt High School at 2:00pm. Click here for details.

Meade: Nathan Coulter
Our nation came of age on the family farm. The stories of growing up that comprise this four-part series are interwoven with the story of American agriculture as it evolved from the self-sufficient homesteads of the 19th century to the large mechanized farms of today. Books in this series include Farmer Boy; Winter Wheat; Nathan Coulter by Wendall Berry (128 pp.); and Good Land. Berry’s novel is from the TALK series, “Coming of Age in Rural America.” Sponsored by Friends of Meade Public Library. October 17th at Meade Public Library at 1:00pm. Click here for details.

Lawrence: “Growing Up Grimm” Panel Discussion
What is psychoanalysis and what does it tell us about fairy tales? The panel, moderated by playwright Max Bush, explores moments in childhood when the perception of something familiar suddenly, and uncannily, shifts. This panel discussion supports “The Boy Who Left Home to Find Out About the Shivers,” a contemporary adaptation of a Grimm fable performed at the Lawrence Arts Center. This event is also part of “Uncanny Tales of Growing UP,” a series of panel discussions that explore the works of the Grimm Brothers, Edgar Allen Poe, and E.T.A. Hoffman. October 17th at Lawrence Arts Center at 5:00pm. Click here for details.

Emporia: “La Colonia de Emporia”
Members of the Latino community are invited to participate in intergenerational oral history event to record their stories. The Lyon County History Center will provide training, equipment, and space. Material from the event will be part of a Latino community exhibit. This event is part of “La Colonia de Emporia: Stories of the Latino Community,” a project in which the museum will work this local Hispanic organizations to document the Latino experience in Emporia. The project is part of “Latino Americans: 500 Years of History,” a special initiative supported by the Kansas Humanities Council, National Endowment for the Humanities, and the American Library Association. October 17th at Lyon County History Center at 9:00am. Click here for details.

Humboldt: The Legacy of “The Big Train”
Join Henry Thomas as he discusses his grandfather Walter “The Big Train” Johnson’s baseball legacy. Johnson, a Humboldt native, is a baseball legend who played for the Washington Senators in the early 1900s. Thomas is the author of Walter Johnson: Baseball’s Big Train. The presentation is part of “Hometown Teams,” a Smithsonian Institution traveling exhibition on display through November 15th. Sponsored by Humboldt Historic Preservation Alliance, Inc. October 17th at Humbolt High School Auditorium at 2:00pm. Click here for details.

Independence: Mickey Mantle Homerun Derby
A homerun derby at the site of the first night game in the history of organized baseball. The public is invited to compete for prizes by attempting to hit a baseball over the wall where Mickey Mantle hit his first home run. The derby is planned in association with the Independence Recreation Commission. The event supports “Independence, Baseball, & History” a “Hometown Teams” partner site exhibit at the Independence Historical Museum & Art Center, on display through November 21st. October 18th at Independence Historical Museum & Art Center at 1:00pm. Click here for details.

For information about upcoming KHC-supported events, visit our calendar.

Community and Coincidence: Researching Sports History in Linn County

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

Linn County got its first football team 100 years ago, in 1915.  Image Courtesy La Cygne Historical Society.

Linn County got its first football team 100 years ago, in 1915. Image Courtesy La Cygne Historical Society.

When Linn County Partner Site Project Director Janet Reynolds, primary researcher Ruth Reynolds and other members of the community were considering what topics to feature in their local Hometown Teams partner exhibit, they kept finding that conversations about one topic inevitably led to another.

For example, they knew that they wanted to display a baseball uniform, glove and ball used by Hank Helm, a pitcher who played for La Cygne’s semi-professional baseball team in the 1920s. La Cygne’s team regularly faced off against ball clubs from nearby towns like New Lancaster—even, occasionally, against professional teams, who they would play in exhibition games.

Helm had a particularly interesting story, they learned. He’d been good enough to play for the Kansas City Blues, a minor league team. But talent couldn’t compensate for homesickness, and Helm returned to La Cygne to be with his new baby girl.

Helm’s story led the Reynolds sisters to another: a local woman who found a jersey from La Cygne’s long-ago semi-pro team in a thrift store in Missouri.

“A lot of it’s been coincidence,” Janet said.

Also coincidence: that the exhibit takes place on football’s centennial in La Cygne, providing a perfect opportunity to celebrate that sport’s history in the area.

Football came to town in 1915 through “Doc” Morrison, the local doctor, who also served as scorekeeper for a number of teams and coach of the first football team.

But what started out as just “a kernel of an idea” to celebrate the town’s football history expanded through discussions with the community, Ruth Reynolds said.

That’s when people in the area brought up the 1970 state champion football team from local Prairie View High School, who went undefeated in pursuit of the Buffaloes’ only state championship to date. That team celebrates its 45th anniversary this year, and people were already looking to commemorate it—another coincidence.

“It all kind of winds and ties together,” Janet added.

The exhibit celebrating Linn County’s local sports history will be on display at the La Cygne Library between August and October, with various exhibitions also on display in the La Cygne Historical Museum between Memorial Day and the Christmas Homes Tour. For more information, visit www.lacygnelibrary.org or https://sites.google.com/site/lacygnehs.

Humanities Happenings: 10/09-10/11

Still image from Ilusiones S.A. film trailer. Trailer courtesy sociedadhidalgo.org.

Still image from Ilusiones S.A. film trailer. Trailer courtesy sociedadhidalgo.org.

From cornhusking in Oakley to a film festival in Overland Park, there are plenty of humanities events to keep you busy this weekend!

North Newton: Title IX & College Athletics: Individual Journeys
Allison McFarland, Professor of Business and Economics at Bethel College, presents on female student athletes and the impact of Title IX legislation. This Hometown Teams event supports Bethel College’s  partner site exhibit, “Root for the Home Team: Building Community Through Sports.” October 9th at Bethel College’s Luyken Fine Arts Center at 11:00am. Click here for details.

Basehor: The Grass Dancer
In Susan Powers’ book, Harley Wind Soldier, Charlene Thunder, and the Sioux dancers gathered for the powwow are swept up in romantic rivalry and a powerful journey of mystery and hope that weaves together young and old, the living and the dead. 333 pp. This book is from the TALK series, “Urban Indians: Native American Writers of the 1990s.” Sara W. Tucker will lead the TALK book discussion. October 9th at Basehor Community Library at 10:00am. Click here for details.

Independence: First Night Game Commemoration
The first night game in organized baseball was played on April 28, 1930, in Independence, Kansas. The game was between the Muskogee Chiefs (Muskogee, Oklahoma) and the Independence Producers. To commemorate the event, town teams from Muskogee and Independence will play again. Throughout the game, announcers will provide historic facts from the 1930 game. This Hometown Teams event supports “Independence, Baseball, & History” a partner site exhibit at the Independence Historical Museum & Art Center. Sponsored by the Independence Historical Museum & Art Center. October 10th at Independence Community College’s Emerson Field at 1:00pm. Click here for details.

Augusta: Far From the Madding Crowd
In Thomas Hardy’s novel, Gabriel Oak watches Bathsheba, the impulsive young mistress of Weatherby Farm, enter into an unhappy marriage–as unaware as she that fate will finally bring them together. 374 pp. This book is from the TALK series, “British Classics.” Anne Hawkins will lead the TALK book discussion. October 10th at Augusta Public Library at 10:30am. Click here for details.

Overland Park: Ilusiones S.A.
Mr. Balboa had a heartless grandson who, at the time, was kicked out of the house (a fact concealed from his wife). Since then, Balboa has been forwarding himself letters sent supposedly by his grandson in order to please his wife. The real grandson decides to return home (looking for money) but the boat where he was traveling sinks. Balboa hires an impersonator and master of good intended illusions (Mauritius) and together with a cute girl (Isabel), they pretend to be the missing grandson and his “happy wife” to the grandmother who is very pleased with the guests. But then comes the surprise…the real grandson is alive and on his way back home. Luz Maria Alvarez, Professor of Foreign Language at Johnson County Community College, leads the film discussion. This event is part of the Latin American Cinema Festival XXIV, which features weekly films with topics that encourage a better understanding of Latino culture and traditions. Each film is introduced and discussed by a humanities scholar. All discussions are bilingual. Sponsored by Sociedad Hidalgo, Inc. October 10th at Rio Theatre at 11:00am. Click here for details.

Oakley: Cornhusking: Harvesting the Spirit of Athletic Competition
In the 1920s, farmers were national heroes and cornhusking was the next great sporting spectacle. Explore the history of the Kansas State Cornhusking competition and learn how Oakley, a Hometown Teams partner site, revived the sport after World War II. The public is invited to an encore exhibit viewing during the Kansas State Cornhusking Contest. See vintage tractors and participate in fun activities such as corn toss, corn pile money dig, and pumpkin decorating. Sponsored by Wild West Historical Foundation. Exhibit is open through October 10th at Buffalo Bill Cultural Center. Click here for details.

Humboldt: Hometown Teams
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. Humboldt Historic Preservation Alliance’s companion exhibition, “Walter ‘The Big Train’ Johnson and George ‘The Teacher’ Sweatt” is also on display. Exhibit is open through November 15th at Humboldt City Hall. Click here for details.

For more KHC-supported events, visit our calendar.

 

Let There Be Light

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

The 1949 Independence Yankees (including star player Mickey Mantle, bottom right) played at Shulthis Stadium, home to the first night game in organized baseball. Image Courtesy Independence Historical Museum & Art Center.

The 1949 Independence Yankees (including star player Mickey Mantle, bottom right) played at Shulthis Stadium, home to the first night game in organized baseball. Image Courtesy Independence Historical Museum & Art Center.

Night games are so common in today’s sports that it’s hard to believe that, not even 100 years ago, the idea of watching sports at night was laughable.

Independence, Kansas, helped change that on April 28, 1930, when it hosted the first night game in the history of Organized Baseball.

It was sort of the first, anyway. Baseball had been played under lights as far back as 1880, but according to Larry G. Bowman, those games were few and far between, intended only as one-off exhibition matches “to demonstrate the uses of artificial lighting [rather] than to promote night baseball.”

Baseball traditionalists resisted the innovation, but it helped revitalize flagging leagues. By the late 1920s, attendance was down for minor league baseball teams. It didn’t help that daytime games conflicted with work hours, or that playing in the summer sun meant that temperatures were uncomfortable for players and fans alike. Night baseball, its supporters believed, would solve both of these problems.

After an exhibition game on April 17, the Independence Producers played the first-ever regular season professional night baseball game. The atmosphere was a success, with 1500 spectators turning out to watch the game under the lights. The game itself was less so, as the Producers lost 13-3 to their rivals, the Muskogee Indians.

Regardless of the outcome, the Producers staked a claim to a piece of baseball history that night. But Independence doesn’t always get the credit it deserves.

Des Moines, Iowa, was constructing its own set of lights at the same time and played its first night game just four days after the Producers. The owner of the Des Moines Demons publicized the game so well that even today, Des Moines is sometimes erroneously credited as the home of the first professional night game.

But Kansans know that, whenever the lights go on over a night game, it’s Independence they have to thank for showing the way.

The exhibition will be on display at the Independence Historical Museum & Art Center from October 6 to November 21. For more information, visit www.independencehistoricalmuseum.org.