KHC awards twelve grants


A wartime newspaper drive in Ottawa, Kansas captured by photographer J.B. Muecke. Part of the Franklin County Historical Society’s “Home Front in the Heartland, Revisited,” one of twelve projects supported by a KHC Grant. Image courtesy of Franklin County Historical Society.

KHC recently awarded $70,611.00 in Humanities and Heritage grants to twelve organizations. Local contributions to the projects are estimated at $350,151.00.

Carriage Factory Art Gallery, Newton ($2,105)
“Vernon Rickman, Smithsonian Sculptor: Artful Life of a Kansan”
An oral history project documenting the life and work of Vernon Rickman, a Newton native who was staff artist and sculptor for the Smithsonian Institution. Cindy Snider, project director.

Cimarron City Library ($3,500)
“Cimarron City Library Special Collections: Accessible Archives”
A project to inventory and archive historical documents and photos from Cimarron and Gray County and make them available to the public. Sara McFarland, project director.

Franklin County Historical Society, Ottawa ($3,430)
“Home Front in the Heartland, Revisited”
A research and oral history project about life in Ottawa during World War II as seen through the lens of photographer J.B. Muecke. Henry Fortunato, project director.

KOOD/Smoky Hills Public Television, Bunker Hill ($10,000)
“Eric Bransby – A Last Mural”
A documentary film featuring artist Eric Bransby and his return to Kansas to visit the murals he painted with the Federal Art Project in the 1930s and 1940s. Jay Kriss, project director.

Lansing Historical Museum ($1,446)
“Faces of the Kansas State Penitentiary”
A project to digitize and share photographs and glass plate negatives depicting life in the Kansas State Penitentiary from the late 1800s through the mid-1900s. Jennifer Myer, project director.

Marla Quilts, Inc., African American Quilt Museum and Textile Academy, Lawrence ($3,398)
“From Slavery to a Free State: The Story of Maria Rogers Martin”
A project to research the life and legacy of Maria Rogers Martin, a quilter and former slave who came to Lawrence with abolitionists in 1862. Marla Jackson, project director.

Rosedale Development Association, Inc., Kansas City ($3,148)
“Shaping Rosedale Identity Through Our Local History”
A project to archive and digitize documents and photographs chronicling the Rosedale community’s history from the 1800s to the present. Adrianne Matlock, project director.

Shawnee County Historical Society, Topeka ($9,950)
“Our Charley: The Early Years of Charles Curtis”
A documentary short film about the Kansas years of Charles Curtis, the 31st Vice President of the United States. Debra Goodrich, project director.

Storytime Village, Inc., Wichita ($6,895)
“Literary Legacy: A Book Talk Series for Children & Parents”
A book discussion series engaging multi-generational readers in humanities themes. Prisca Barnes, project director.

Thomas County Historical Society, Colby ($10,000)
“Sorting Out Stereotypes”
Public programs and a traveling exhibition, “Sorting Out Race,” examining racial identity and stereotypes. Ann Miner, project director.

University of Kansas Center for Research, Lawrence ($6,739)
“See/Saw Festival: On the Brink: Borders, Boundaries, and Becoming”
A community film festival exploring physical and ideological borders and boundaries through humanities discussion. Hailey Love, project director.

Wichita Art Museum ($10,000)
“Freedom to Expand: Gordon Parks”
Two exhibitions, “Gordon Parks: Back to Fort Scott” and “Freedom Now: Photographs of the Civil Rights Struggle,” feature the work of Kansas-native Gordon Parks. Patricia McDonnell, project director.

For more information about KHC Humanities and Heritage grants, contact Murl Riedel, director of grants, at murl(at)


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Humanities Happenings 11/13-11/15

This could be you! Hurry to Humboldt to see "Hometown Teams" before it goes back to the Smithsonian. Thanks to Cole Herder, Humboldt City Administrator, and Heather Bosier of The Humboldt Union for the photo.

This could be you! Hurry to Humboldt to see “Hometown Teams” before it goes back to the Smithsonian. Thanks to Cole Herder, Humboldt City Administrator, for joining Tracy Quillin and Julie Mulvihill on the bleachers and Heather Bosier of The Humboldt Union for the photo.

The Hometown Teams Smithsonian Institution traveling exhibition tour is coming to an end after ten months of touring Kansas.

Humboldt: Closing Ceremony

This weekend is your last chance to see the Hometown Teams Smithsonian Institution traveling exhibition in Kansas! The exhibition is open at Humboldt City Hall from 1:00 to 4:00 PM on Saturday and Sunday. The closing ceremony will be at 2:00 PM on Sunday, November 15, with a presentation by Mike Miller. Click here for details.

Independence: Last Inning

It’s also one of your last chances to see the Hometown Teams: A Bat and a Ball partner site exhibition at the Independence Historical Museum and Art Center before it closes on November 21. The exhibition features the baseball history of Independence, including the first night game in organized baseball history. Click here for details.

Augusta: Matchmaking and Manners

Beautiful, accomplished Emma, the heroine of Jane Austen’s nineteenth-century comedy of manners, has only one fault: her love of matchmaking. But she finds out the hard way that people don’t fall in love according to plan. Linda Lewis lead the TALK book discussion of Emma at the Augusta Public Library, November 14 at 10:30 AM. Click here for details.

Marysville: Humanities Save the Day

Woven together over the years, humanities opportunities allowed one rural Kansas town to stretch beyond its own place and time. Struggling Glasco (pop. 498) was told that their town had no future, but residents pushed back by organizing cultural events and hosting cultural opportunities. Joan Nothern’s Speakers Bureau lecture leads you through their journey from Chautauqua to exhibits and special projects, lectures and book discussions, that strengthened the community and enabled small, but mighty, Glasco to become a facilitating agent beyond its own city limits.  November 14 at 1:00 PM at Marysville Public Library. Click here for details.

Topeka: Cafe Society

No one comes to Bailey’s Cafe for the food — they’re drawn by the grace and magic that attracts souls like alcoholic Sadie; Sweet Esther, who accepts only roses for her “services”; and Mariam, the Ethiopian child who may be the bearer of a miracle. Sara W. Tucker leads a TALK book discussion of Bailey’s Cafe by Gloria Naylor at Aldersgate Village. November 15 at 3:00 PM. Click here for details.

Keep up with humanities events in Kansas! Visit KHC’s Calendar of Events page for more book discussions, speakers, and exhibitions across the state.

Talking the Talk: Figures of (Sports) Speech

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


The United States bears a deserved reputation as a sports-obsessed nation. We love our sports so much that when we can’t play the actual games, we even play board games and fantasy games designed to mimic them.

It’s worth remembering, though, that not everyone considers themselves sports fans, even in a state with a sports history as rich as that of Kansas. For every die-hard Jayhawk or Wildcat, every person who lives and breathes the Hornets or Shockers, there’s someone else who has to Google each of the universities’ mascots every fall just to keep them straight.

But even if you don’t own a favorite athlete’s jersey or spend your evenings watching ESPN, sports still have a way of infiltrating all aspects of life in the U.S. Sports are some of the most popular topics for books, movies and T.V. shows, and many colleges and universities now offer courses in sports statistics.

Sports have even managed to insert themselves into the way we talk. In fact, so many common figures of speech originated in sports that we hardly notice them anymore.

Some are pretty obvious, once they’ve been pointed out. Make sure you “cover all the bases” so that you don’t “strike out” on that proposal at work (baseball). And if your co-worker “drops the ball” (baseball), it’s probably polite not to be a “Monday-morning quarterback” (football, obviously) and point out all the things you would have done differently.

Others are a little more obscure. If “the ball is in your court,” you’re referring to the game of tennis. Ever been “saved by the bell”? You weren’t referring to the famous T.V. show from the early 1990s; you were making a boxing reference. And if you’re exhausted and ready to “throw in the towel,” that’s boxing, too.

In other words, whether you’re a sports fan or not, sports are a common feature of everyday life in Kansas.

You might say they’re just par for the course.

“The Class of the State”: Haskell’s Gridiron History

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

Haskell's celebrated football team practiced and played at this stadium, built entirely through private donations from Native peoples.  Image courtesy of KansasMemory, Kansas Historical Society, Copy and Reuse Restrictions Apply.

Haskell’s celebrated football team practiced and played at this stadium, built entirely through private donations from Native peoples. Image courtesy of KansasMemory, Kansas Historical Society, Copy and Reuse Restrictions Apply.

Alabama. Florida State. Stanford. Haskell?

Today, the biggest names in college football are schools with enrollment in the tens of thousands from conference powerhouses. But in the early decades of the twentieth century, when the sport was still growing in popularity, small, Lawrence-based Haskell—then as now a school for Native Americans—fielded a team recognized nationally as one of the best around.

Between 1900 and 1930, the Haskell Institute (now Haskell Indian Nations University) football team traveled the country, putting up points and tallying wins everywhere from Boston, Massachusetts, to Spokane, Washington—even playing a game in Yankee Stadium. The 1926 season was particularly legendary; according to Kansas Sampler, the team went 12-0-1 that year, scoring 558 points while allowing only 63.

Haskell played closer to home, as well, regularly challenging (and often defeating) other Kansas-based and area teams. Haskell’s rivalry with the University of Kansas burned so hot, in fact, that the teams were not allowed to play one another between 1905 and 1930—not because of concerns about the relative skill levels of the teams, but because rival students and fans had taken to fighting each other in the streets.

The team was so renowned that, despite not playing under official college eligibility rules and therefore being disqualified to challenge as championship contenders, they “were easily the class of the state,” Harold C. Evans wrote in a 1940 article about the history of college football in Kansas.

Haskell’s famed skill on the gridiron earned them so many fans that they were able to build a 10,000-seat home stadium entirely through donations from former students and other Native peoples across the country. That stadium had been home to a number of teams through the years; aside from Haskell’s own team, Lawrence High played there from 1930-2008 and Free State from 1997-2008. Today, Haskell Memorial Football Stadium is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Haskell’s football tradition continued well into the twenty-first century; the football team played in the independent National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA). In May 2015, however, Haskell announced the suspension of its football program, at least for the 2015 season, citing lack of funding as the primary reason. Still, Haskell’s executive assistant to the president, Stephen Prue, told the Lawrence Journal-World he hoped the school can “make a positive out of this. It’s a pretty tall hill we’ll have to climb, but native people are resilient and always have been in the past.”