Humanities Happenings 1/30-1/31

Happy Kansas Day!


Continue your Kansas Day celebration through the weekend with humanities events exploring Kansas’ rich history and heritage!

North Newton: Common and Quirky Mascots of Kansas

The mascots of Kansas come in all shapes, sizes, and colors and are some of the most recognizable characters of our state. From the KU Jayhawk and the K-State Wildcat to the more obscure Fowler High School Goldbugs and the Hill City Ringnecks, Jordan Poland’s Speakers Bureau talk features the history and pageantry of Kansas mascots. January 30th at 11:00 AM at Krehbiel Auditorium, Bethel College in North Newton. Details here. 

Altamont: Jackalopes, Hodags, and Other Larger than Life Myths from the American Road

Johnny Kaw shaped Kansas’ landscape with his oversized scythe. Lonesome cowboys first saw the mythical Jackalope while riding the range. Erika Nelson’s Speakers Bureau lecture explores the roadside monuments devoted to fantastical legends, from the Sasquatch of Washington to the Hodag of Wisconsin and the many commemorations of Paul Bunyan throughout the country. 6:00 PM at Labette County High School in Altamont. Sponsored by Labette County Conservation District. Details here. 

Hays: Volga German Heritage

For the past year, the American Society of Germans from Russia, Sunflower Chapter, has been digitizing, transcribing, and translating Volga German songs and letters written in the late 19th and early 20th centuries with the support of a KHC Heritage Grant. Learn about the culture and experiences of Volga German settlers in Kansas on January 30 at 2:00 PM at the Hays Public Library. Details here. 

Wichita: Freedom to Expand

It’s the opening day of two exhibitions, “Gordon Parks: Back to Fort Scott” and “Freedom Now: Photographs of the Civil Rights Struggle,” featuring the work of Kansas-native Gordon Parks, one of the most celebrated artists of his time. Both exhibitions are supported by a KHC Humanities Grant. January 30 at the Wichita Art Museum. Details here.

Fredonia: Head ‘Em Up & Move ‘Em Out

A thousand miles on the trail brought the cattle drover of yesteryear into contact with all that nature could throw at him: lightning, flooded rivers, tornadoes, and stampeding cattle were constant challenges. Jim Gray’s Speakers Bureau presentation looks at how today’s massive beef industry owes its beginnings to the men and women who were bold enough to “head ’em up and move ’em out.” January 31 at 2:00 PM at Rollin “Red” Vandever Memorial Park Community Building. Sponsored by Wilson County Conservation District. Details here. 

WaKeeney: 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 (1837-1941) and his daughter Imogene Pence. Angela O. Bates’ Speakers Bureau presentation follows Tom and John’s journey from enslavement in Kentucky to freedom experienced in an all-Black town. January 31 at 2:00 PM at Western Electric Cooperative Meeting Room. Sponsored by Trego County Historical Society. Details here. 

Larned: Harvey Girls’ Multicultural Workforce

The Fred Harvey Company not only hired recent immigrants to work in their famous Harvey House restaurants, they actively recruited them. Eventually African American workers became part of the workforce, and during World War II American Indians and Mexican Americans were hired as well. Michaeline Chance-Reay’s Speakers Bureau presentation explores the job duties and working conditions of Harvey Girls from 1876 to the early 1950s. January 31 at 2:00 PM at the Santa Fe Trail Center. Details here. 

More humanities events can be found on KHC’s Calendar of Events.

Humanities Happenings – 1/23 -1/24

KHC-supported humanities events are the cure for the winter blues: a film premiere, a book discussion, and presentations sure to get you thinking and doing this weekend.

Topeka: Meet “Our Charley”

The Shawnee County Historical Society presents the premiere of “Our Charley: A Boy Forced to Choose,” a documentary short film about the Kansas years of Charles Curtis, the 31st Vice President of the United States. January 24 at 2:00 PM at the Jayhawk State Theatre of Kansas in Topeka. Details here. 

Courtland & Belleville: Soda Fountains of Kansas

Relive the glory days of the soda fountain where tonics and curatives evolved into refreshments like the Brown Cow, the Mudslide, and the Egg Cream. Cindy Higgins’ Speakers Bureau presentation looks at how and why Kansas pharmacists made more ice cream concoctions and added food to keep their evolving fountain sidelines profitable. The presentation also explores soda fountains in Kansas today and the revival of soda fountains throughout the nation. January 23rd at 3:00 PM at Courtland Arts Council. January 24th at 2:00 PM at Belleville Public Library. 

Lansing: Sharing Patterns, Sharing Lives

In the early 20th century, Emporia was home to a group of innovative quilters that included Rose Kretsinger, Charlotte Whitehall, and Hannah Hayes Headlee. Deborah Divine’s Speakers Bureau presentation looks at the unique collaborations that sparked “the Emporia, Kansas phenomenon.” Participants will make a Kretsinger-inspired quilt square of their own. January 23rd at 10:00 AM at Lansing Historical Museum. Details here. 

Mount Hope: Standing in the Rainbow

In “Standing in the Rainbow,” author Fannie Flagg takes us to Elmwood Springs, Missouri, where we meet Bobby Smith, a 10-year-old living an idyllic postwar boyhood; his mother, Neighbor Dorothy, broadcasts her Midwest housewife’s radio show; and later on, Tot Whooten, a very incompetent hairdresser; mortician Cecil Figgs; Hamm Sparks, the tractor salesman turned politician, and many, many others. Rosemary Kolich leads this Talk About Literature in Kansas book discussion on January 23 at 7:00 PM at the Mount Hope Public Library. Details here.

Osborne: A Tour of Remembrance

Von Rothenburger and Cynthia Harris present the results of a multi-month research project to document veterans memorials and collections of veterans artifacts in museums along the route of US 24, designated as the World War II Veterans Memorial Highway. January 23 at 1:00 PM at United Methodist Church in Osborne. Sponsored by Solomon Valley-Highway 24-Heritage Alliance.  Details here.

Find more events at KHC’s Calendar of Events.