When the Well Runs Dry

“When the well runs dry we shall know the value of water.”
–Benjamin Franklin

Ask a Kansan — any Kansan — about water and they’ll have plenty to say. When the Well Runs Dry, a documentary short film supported by a KHC Humanities grant, explores regional and national water issues through the perspectives of the residents of the southeast Kansas community of Florence.

Filmmaker Stever Lerner teamed up with the award-winning documentary filmmaker Ruben Aronson and the Florence Historical Society to capture the vital connection that rural Kansans have with water. Lerner hopes the film will spark a discussion among all Kansans. “Even though most of Kansas is out of drought we are in a time where water is a great issue both regionally and nationally,” he said.

Watch the 60 second trailer for When the Well Runs Dry:


Screenings of When the Well Runs Dry are being held across the state. Visit the When the Well Runs Dry Facebook page or KHC’s Calendar of Events for updates.

Reel Love

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Where can you watch a collection of short films featuring Kansas stories created by Kansans for Kansans? In the KHC Short Films Gallery, of course! There you’ll find a dozen documentary shorts on topics including Topeka’s Mariachi Estrella, Clyde Cessna, Bartlett Arboretum, soccer in Garden City, and more. The KHC Short Film Gallery was recently named #7 on the list of “Reasons We Love Kansas” in the summer 2014 issue of KANSAS! Magazine.

Click here to watch the short films.

P.S. Humanities Grants are available for documentary short films that tell a unique Kansas story rooted in the humanities. Contact Murl Riedel, director of grants, at murl(at)kansashumanities.org for more information.

Partners Wanted for Short Film Project

Turning Points: Stories of ChangeDeadline: July 31, 2013.
Click here for the application and eligibility requirements.

KHC invites museums, historical societies, public libraries, and other nonprofit cultural and civic organizations to apply for a special short film initiative, Turning Points: Stories of Change. KHC will partner with four organizations to develop 5-minute short films that explore a significant moment of change in each of their communities. This project is supported by a generous gift from Suzi Miner in memory of Kansas historian Craig Miner.

What is a Turning Point? Think of it as an idea, event, action, or moment in time that directly caused decisive change in your community. This change can be social, cultural, or economic, but it ultimately and significantly affected your community’s way of thinking or doing. Need inspiration? Click here for Turning Points project ideas.

Watch this short film to learn more:

Turning Points Promo from Gizmo Pictures on Vimeo.

Contact Leslie Von Holten, program officer, at leslie(at)kansashumanities.org or (785) 357-0359 for more information.


It’s that time of year…

Welcome to March Madness in Kansas! In honor of college basketball’s big month, here’s a KHC-funded short film, Oil & Gold: The McPherson Globe Refiners Basketball Story, about the first U.S. basketball team to compete in the Olympics. Would it be any surprise to learn that the team was made up of Kansans?

Want to learn more? The documentary will air on the Impact program on KPTS public television in Wichita on Thursday, March 21 at 8:00 p.m. accompanied by an interview with Anne Hassler of the McPherson CVB.

Dream Jobs

What’s your dream job? Are you working at it, working toward it, or retired from it? Is it still only a dream? What do our dream jobs say about us — our hopes, goals, and sense of self? The High Plains Museum in Goodland recently asked participants at the annual Flatlander’s Festival about their dream jobs and made a short film with the results:

Learn more about jobs — dreams and otherwise — while The Way We Worked is at the High Plains Museum  through January 27, 2013. While you’re in northwest Kansas, make time to visit The Way We Work in Trego County, an exhibit at the Trego County Historical Museum, sponsored by the Trego Hospital Endowment in WaKeeney. Save the date for High and Dry: Farming in Western Kansas!, an agriculture and agribusiness exhibit opening April 18 at the Prairie Museum of Art and History in Colby.

5-Minute Films: Part Three

In recognition of KHC’s 40th anniversary, KHC produced a collection of five short films featuring signature programs’ impact in Kansas. The fifth and final film in the series looks at the Kinsley Library’s efforts to preserve community stories through oral history projects supported by KHC Heritage Grants.

Kinsley was one of the over 100 communities that benefited from 500+ humanities events in Kansas last year. Your gift in support of KHC’s fall fundraiser can help KHC continue to reach new audiences and sustain existing programs that organizations depend on. Click on the DONATE button on the righthand side of the screen to donate safely and securely through Network for Good.

Be sure to watch KHC’s other 5-Minute films available on the KHC blog.

5-Minute Films: Part Two

In recognition of KHC’s 40th anniversary, KHC produced a collection of five short films featuring signature programs’ impact in Kansas. The third and fourth films in the series look at the story behind “Strugglers Hill: A People, A Community,” a short film supported by KHC Humanities Grants and the Stafford County Historical Museum’s preservation of thousands of glass plate negatives through a KHC Heritage Grant.

Be sure to watch KHC’s other 5-Minute films about “The Way We Worked” and TALK book discussions. There are more 5-Minute films yet to come. Stay tuned!

History is Calling

Abilene entrepreneur and philanthropist C.L. Brown is the subject of a new short film produced by the Dickinson County Historical Society with the support of a KHC Humanities grant.

“C.L. Brown and Kansas Independent Telephony” follows the Brown Telephone Company over the course of the 20th century, from its founding in Abilene in the early 1900s to becoming Sprint in 1989. The film also examines Brown’s investment in the Abilene community, including the Brown Memorial Park and the Brown Memorial Home, a retirement community still in operation today. Brown’s legacy of local philanthropy lives on in Kansas’ over 30 independent telecommunications companies who follow his example of giving back to their communities.

The Way We Worked

The Kansas tour of The Way We Worked Smithsonian Institution traveling exhibition continues its tour of Kansas. The exhibition is at the Lumberyard Arts Center in Baldwin City through May 5. Additional stories about work and working in Kansas are available at 16 “The Way We Worked in Kansas” Partner Sites across the state.

Click here for The Way We Worked tour schedule.

Click here to read “The Way We Worked in Kansas” by Virgil Dean, The Way We Worked tour historian.

Watch KHC’s The Way We Worked short film to find out what hosts have in store for the Kansas tour.



Drought Presents Opportunity

This Drought of 2012 brought parched land, dried crops, and blistering heat to Kansas. For the Bartlett Arboretum in Belle Plaine, it brought an opportunity. This summer, the arboretum’s flood-prone Euphrates Creek is being dredged for only the third time since 1910.

The project is another chapter in the over 100 years of the Kansas “tree museum,” which was the subject of a short film produced  by the Bartlett Arboretum and filmmaker Jaime Green with the support of a KHC Humanities Grant.