Kansas Humanities Council Awards Five Grants

The Kansas Humanities Council recently awarded $36,464 in Heritage and Humanities grants to five Kansas organizations. Local contributions to the project are estimated at $323,886.

Goddard Woman’s Club ($3,000)

“Historical Preservation Project”
A project to preserve and share historical materials documenting the Goddard Woman’s Club’s community work dating back to the 1930s. Lisa Stoller, project director.

Kauffman Museum, North Newton ($10,000)

“Voices of Conscience: Peace Witness in the Great War”
An exhibition and series of public programs exploring the stories of conscientious objectors during World War I. Annette LeZotte, project director.

Northeast Kansas Topeka Chapter #14 American Historical Society of Germans from Russia ($3,464)

“Oral History of Topeka’s Germans from Russia”
An oral history project documenting the stories of Topeka’s Germans from Russia, a group whose ancestors originally settled in the city in the 1870s. Vera Kononova Brown, project director.

University of Kansas Center for Research, Inc., Lawrence ($10,000)

“Exhibiting African American Story Quilts at the Spencer Museum of Art
An exhibition featuring 400 years of African American history as depicted on story quilts. Saralyn Reece-Hardy, project director.

William Allen White Foundation, Lawrence ($10,000)

“William Allen White Sesquicentennial Film”
A documentary film exploring the life, work, and legacy of William Allen White, owner and editor of “The Emporia Gazette.” David Seaton, project director.

The next deadline for Heritage and Humanities grants is May 25, 2017

Bill of Rights 225

Kansas libraries and museums in 13 communities commemorated the 225th anniversary of the ratification of the Bill of Rights with “The Bill of Rights and You,” a special pop-up display from the National Archives.

“The Bill of Rights and You” at the Topeka & Shawnee County Public Library.

Over 45,000 Kansans viewed “The Bill of Rights and You,” including participants in public programming opportunities that ranged from writing workshops, presentations on the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, and KHC Speakers Bureau topics related to free speech. Host organizations have plans to share the display at other locations in their communities and plan to incorporate the pop-up display into Constitution Day and Bill of Rights Day activities in 2017.

“The Bill of Rights and You” sparked conservation and reflection about the Constitution and American democracy among visitors. According to Jacqueline Suptic of the Johnson County Library-Lackman Branch in Lenexa, “the timely arrival of the Bill of Rights display here allowed our patrons to see specifically what those rights are and how they apply to daily life.”

“The Bill of Rights and You” is part of Amending America, a National Archives initiative to explore the importance of the Bill of Rights, its history and implementation, and its impact today. The Kansas Humanities Council presented “The Bill of Rights and You” through a partnership with the National Archives and the Federation of State Humanities Councils.




Humanities Happenings – Kansas Day Edition

The “Langston’s Lawrence” documentary short film premiere on January 27 kicks off a Kansas Day weekend of hometown humanities.

Sunday, January 29th marks 156 years of Kansas statehood. What better way to celebrate than with a weekend of hometown humanities events highlighting the Kansas stories that move us and make us?

Lawrence: Langston’s Lawrence

The Watkins Museum of History’s Art of Conversation series features the debut of “Langston’s Lawrence.” The documentary short film about the life of young Langston Hughes is followed by a panel discussion with Hughes scholars Randal Jelks, Edgar Tidwell, and Carmaletta M. Williams. The film project is supported by a KHC Humanities grant. Friday, January 27 at 6:00 PM at the Watkins Museum of History. Details here.

North Newton: Head ‘Em Up & Move ‘Em Out

The early days of ranching and trail driving required stamina and determination. The drover of yesteryear had little choice but to face the elements placed before him if he was to get his wild cattle to market. A thousand miles on the trail brought him into contact with all that nature could throw at him: lightning, flooded rivers, tornadoes, and stampeding cattle. Jim Gray’s Speakers Bureau presentation explores this exciting story of cowboys, cattle, and the steak on your plate. Saturday, January 28 at 11:00 AM at Kauffman Museum. Details here.

Derby: Kansas Weather in Life, Literature, and Photography

When it comes to talking about the weather, we have a lot to say in Kansas, and for good reason: not only is our weather some of the most dramatic in the world, but our relationship to weather shapes how we see ourselves. Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg’s Speakers Bureau presentation opens with weather chaser Stephen Locke’s vibrant images of Kansas paired with poetry by contemporary Kansas writers inspired by the drama that unfolds in the Kansas sky. Saturday, January 28 at 10:00 AM at Derby Public Library. Details here.

El Dorado: Community Writing Workshop with Kim Stanley

Just as William Allen White defended free speech “by voice, by posted card, by letter, or by press,” participants in this Community Writing Workshop are welcome to express themselves through essays, poems, letters to the editor, memoirs, fiction — any way they so choose. Part of the Pulitzer Project in Kansas: William Allen White and Freedom of Speech. Saturday, January 28 at 10:00 AM at Bradford Memorial Library. Details here.

Paola & Wichita: Poet Laureate of Kansas™

Join Eric McHenry, Poet Laureate of Kansas™, for readings and discussions about poetry in two Kansas communities this weekend.
Saturday, January 28 at 1:00 PM at Paola High School. Sponsored by Paola Chamber of CommerceDetails here.
Sunday, January 29 at 2:00 PM at Wichita Public Library. Details here.

Stockton: Lawbreakers for the Common Good

In the mid-1800s, some Kansans defied federal, state, and territorial laws in pursuit of a common goal: liberty for all. Anne P.W. Hawkins’ Speakers Bureau presentation explores true accounts of little-known operatives who worked illegally on the Underground Railroad in Kansas, a clandestine network that helped guide enslaved people to freedom. Sunday, January 29 at 2:00 PM at Rooks County Historical Society & Museum. Details here.

Find more hometown humanities events on KHC’s Calendar.

Can We Count on You?

News outlets recently began reporting on the possible plan to eliminate funding for the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Endowment for the Arts, and other important agencies critical to our American democracy. Many of us thought the same thing: We won’t let this happen. Kansans depend on the humanities.

At this time, the threat of elimination exists in a report and not in an actual budget. We remain heartened by the bipartisan support we have seen for the humanities in Congress over the last 45 years. We’ll work hard to make sure it stays that way, but we are going to need your help.

Are you willing to speak up on behalf of the humanities and the Kansas Humanities Council? Click here and let us know. When the time is right, we will call on you first to share our story with your member of Congress.

Here are two things you can do right now:

  1. Sign up to be the first to know.
  2. Share this message with a friend.

Thank you for your support of the humanities!

12 Months of the Humanities

Happy New Year from the Kansas Humanities Council!

As we embark upon a new year, KHC has 12 months of hometown humanities experiences to keep you engaged and inspired in 2017.


2016 in Stories

Kansans know that stories teach us, unite us, move us, and make us and that’s why telling Kansas stories is so much a part of what KHC does. Last year, KHC supported 788 humanities events in 127 communities and worked with 197 organizations. Just picture those 788 times when Kansans gathered to share, listen, and engage with the history and ideas that shape us. These gatherings happened from the east to the west, in small towns and large, with crowds of all sizes. Here are a few highlights from 2016:

A new year is right around the corner. Here is a sneak preview of what’s to come for Kansas:

  • New discussions, exhibits, and presentations on the future of water in our state.
  • A new Poet Laureate of Kansas™ ready to travel to you.
  • A new addition to our Big Culture Boost series for cultural nonprofits.

Please make a gift to keep the new stories going in the new years. 
Click here to make your tax-deductible donation to KHC. 


Thank you for making 2016 a great year for the humanities!

Humanities Happenings 11/19-11/20

"Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve: A Flint Hills Love Story." Image courtesy of Prairie Hollow Productions.

“Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve: A Flint Hills Love Story.” Image courtesy of Prairie Hollow Productions.

Take a journey this weekend to learn about our shared history, experience the Kansas landscape, and consider what it takes to create a new home.

Dodge City & St. Francis: Kansas Legends and Folktales

Grasshoppers so big that cowboys can ride them to herd cattle. Summers so hot that corn pops in the field. Kansas is a place of big skies and tall tales, but these exaggerated narratives help us understand the character of our state and its people. Jim Hoy’s Speakers Bureau presentation explores some of the many Kansas legends and folktales and help audiences decipher between a myth (folk religion), legend (folk history), and tale (folk literature).
Dodge City: November 19 at 2:00 PM at Boot Hill Museum. Details.
St. Francis: November 20 at 2:00 PM at Cheyenne Center for Creativity. Details.

Goodland: Dressing for Success, Victorian Style

Victorian Women in the United States and Britain took upward of four hours to dress themselves per day, and they usually had a maid to help them dress. Sara Jane Richter’s Speakers Bureau presentation explores why women endured such restrictive and sometimes deadly clothing, as well as the elements, purpose, and the proper way to put it all on. November 19 at 10:00 AM MT at the High Plains Museum. Details.

Garden City: The Beautiful Things that Heaven Bears

In 1990 Sepha Stephanos fled the Ethiopian revolution. Now he finds himself running a grocery store in a poor African American neighborhood in Washington, D.C. His only companions are two fellow African immigrants, a Congolese waiter and a Kenyan engineer, who share his feelings of frustration with and bitter nostalgia for their home continent. Told in a haunting and powerful first-person narrative that casts the streets of D.C. and Addis Ababa through Sepha’s eyes, Dinaw Mengestu’s novel illuminates what it means to lose a family and country — and what it takes to create a new home. Byron Caminero-Santangelo leads the TALK book discussion at the Finney County Public Library on November 19 at 11:00 AM. Details.

Manhattan: A Flint Hills Love Story

Prairie Hollow Productions and the Flint Hills Discovery Center Foundation host a screening of “Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve: A Flint Hills Love Story.”  The documentary film, supported by a KHC Humanities grant, focuses on the efforts to create a national park in the Flint Hills of Chase County. November 20 at 1:00 PM at Wareham Opera House. Details.

Find more humanities events on KHC’s Calendar of Events.

Give Stories that Move Us and Make Us


Stories drive the humanities. Stories that make us who we are, stories that move us, stories that unite us, and stories that inspire us to engage in our communities.

Last year, 788 humanities events shared and preserved stories in 127 Kansas communities. More are waiting. Will you help?

KHC is $2,000 away from meeting a $15,000 challenge from the KHC Board of Directors for our annual fall fundraising campaign. Your #GivingTuesday gift keeps the humanities thriving in Kansas through the power of stories.

Support the humanities in Kansas on #GivingTuesday.


Humanities Happenings 11/11-11/12


A rich array of humanities program awaits you this weekend in Kansas. Which one will you choose?

North Newton: When Freedom Changed America

One hundred years separate the Emancipation Proclamation (1863) and the March on Washington (1963). Both movements were defined by the pursuit of freedom: one from the institution of slavery, the other from economic and political inequality. But what did freedom mean to Americans who participated in these historical events? John Edgar Tidwell’s Speakers Bureau presentation explores how today, as seekers of the American Dream, we can learn a great deal from the devotion and commitment of those looking to reclaim America and the principles for which it stands. Friday, November 11 at 11:00 AM at Bethel College. Details.

Marion: The Barn Raisers

The Kansas Barn Alliance presents the Kansas premiere of “The Barn Raisers,” a film produced by Fourth Wall Films and supported by a KHC Humanities Grant. The film shows that a closer look at the architecture of barns reveals much about the history, traditions, and culture of rural America. Click here to watch the trailer. Saturday, November 12 at 2:00 PM at the Marion Community Center. Details.

Emporia: A Flint Hills Love Story

Commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve and the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service at the premiere screening of “Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve: A Flint Hills Love Story.” Produced by Prairie Hollow Productions and the Flint Hills Discovery Center Foundation with the support of a KHC Humanities Grant, the film looks at the decades-long effort to establish a national park in the Flint Hills. Click here for a trailer. Saturday, November 12 at 7:00 PM at the Emporia Granada Theatre. Click here to register for the premiere. Details.

Garden City: On-Air Book Discussion

High Plains Public Radio Readers Book Club’s Fall Read, “Borders – Immigration,” wraps up with an on-air book discussion exploring the theme of borders and immigration in “My Antonia” by Willa Cather, “Enrique’s Journey” by Sonia Nazario, and “What is the What?” by Dave Eggers. Supported by a KHC Humanities Grant. Saturday, November 12. Details.

Lawrence: From Slavery to a Free State

Marla Jackson and Bobbi Rahder present the story of the life and legacy of Maria Rogers Martin, a quilter and former slave who came to Lawrence, Kansas, with abolitionists in 1862. Supported by a KHC Heritage Grant. Saturday, November 12 at 3:00 PM at the African American Quilt Museum & Textile Academy. Details.

Belleville: Community Writing Workshop

Daniel Hoyt leads a Community Writing Workshop at the Belleville Public Library as part of the Pulitzer Project in Kansas. Just as William Allen White defended free speech “by voice, by posted card, by letter, or by press,” participants are welcome to express themselves through essays, poems, letters to the editor, memoirs, fiction — any way they so chose. Saturday, November 12 at 1:00 PM. Details.

Find more humanities events in Kansas on KHC’s Calendar of Events.

Apply to Host the Bill of Rights Display


Bill of RightsClick here for the application (pdf)
Click here for display requirements (pdf)

December 2016 marks the 225th anniversary of the Bill of Rights and the Kansas Humanities Council invites museums, libraries, community centers, and other Kansas nonprofit venues to apply to host a special pop-up display from the National Archives.

Interested? Here are the details:

Submit an application to KHC by October 7, 2016.

Provide the following information:

  • Applicant/Organization Name:
  • Address:
  • Contact Person:
  • Contact Person email:
  • Contact Person phone number:
  • Venue:
  • Venue shipping address:
  • Why does your organization or community want to host the Bill of Rights pop-up display? (limit to 250 words)
  • Do you plan to sponsor any public programs associated with the display? Describe briefly. (limit 250 words)

Submit application materials to:
Valerie Mendoza, Grants Coordinator
Kansas Humanities Council
email: grants(at)kansashumanities.org

Bill of Rights Display Details


Bill of Rights exhibit

  • The display will be sent directly to you from the National Archives at the end of November.
  • There is no cost to you to host the display.
  • Display size is 66 1/2 inches high, 32 inches wide, and has a footboard of 45 inches square (see photo).
  • Display comes in two pieces to be assembled by you.
  • The display must on exhibit by December 15, 2016.
  • The display  may be exhibited as long as you like, but minimally through December 31, 2016.
  • The display is yours to keep.
  • Educational materials on the Bill of Rights are available through the National Archives website including links to documents, lesson plans, and a 3 minute video.
  • Public programs related to the display are optional but encouraged.
  • Opportunities for public programs related to the display provided by the Kansas Humanities Council include hosting a Pulitzer Project speaker or community writing workshop on the First Amendment rights to free speech and a free press. Click here for more details.
  • A final report must be submitted to the Kansas Humanities Council by February 28, 2017.