July 2017 Newsletter


July 2017

Hmmm, well I could start out this July newsletter by reminding you that just seven weeks ago we had more than a foot of snow on the ground, but would that make today’s 100+ degree high feel any cooler?  Probably not.  Oh well, this too shall pass. . .

Time for an update, and I hardly know where to begin.  It’s been a whirlwind of activity out here since before the June Jaunt.  The first ever kid’s summer activity, organized by our newest employee, Stephanie Fisher, was a program featuring “Baby Bob” a fossilized baby T-Rex.  Around forty children had pre-registered – more than 70 showed up!  Fortunately, most were accompanied by parents, so there was no lack of adult supervision, and the kids had a great time learning about digging for fossils.

That was the morning of the June Jaunt, and the meeting room was filled again for an afternoon presentation by Bob Detrich, the paleontologist who discovered Baby Bob in Montana, in 2013.  His program was most interesting and entertaining.

The ever-popular Historic Sites Guided Bus Tour on June 4th filled both VIP buses and included, for the first time ever, a stop at Little Jerusalem.  Special arrangements had been made for that stop, as that historic site is not yet open to the public.

The next weekend we were open for the first day of Biking Across Kansas participants, pedaling from Tribune to Dighton on June 10th.  Many of them stopped to take advantage of a cool place to rest and a welcome drink of water.  They enjoyed our gallery exhibits and complimented us highly on the fine quality of our facility.

The second summer activity for kids was held July 7th, with more than 45 children attending the geology workshop, led by Stephanie and Steven Fisher.  Registration for the three summer programs is $5 per child, per event, but members of the historical society, at $20 per family membership for the year, get in free.  Consequently, we have added 19 new family memberships and one business membership to date, with one more summer activity still to be held in August.  Stephanie’s experience in building programs like this, coupled with her enthusiasm, makes her an invaluable addition to our staff.

On July 6th, we hosted a tour group of sixty folks who were participating in the Ft. Wallace 150th Anniversary Exposition.  They had spent the day exploring the historic sites between Oakley and Scott County, and arrived at the museum, hot and hungry, around 4:30.  They enjoyed the galleries as well as a catered dinner, before heading back to Oakley.  Most of them were enjoying the celebration at Ft. Wallace, where Jerry Thomas unveiled his newest work of art - a life-size bronze statue of Scout, William Comstock, at the Ft. Wallace Museum. 

Jerry Thomas continues to amaze us all with his broad range of artistic gifts.  From his little bird prints to the bold creation of large bronze sculptures, his talent and his passion for historical accuracy combine to enhance his body of work.  Congratulations, Jerry, on your impressive sculpture now on display at Ft. Wallace.

Among the recent donations to the museum is a small dedication booklet for the Friends Church which once stood near 7th and Main Street.  Many of you will remember that large gray brick structure as the Methodist Church for long years before the new church was built on 5th Street, but originally, it was built by and for the Friends Church.  The booklet is a bounty of information we had never seen before.  Built in thirteen months in 1910, at a cost of around $13,000, the book describes the use of each floor of the structure; the main auditorium for worship, and the basement, designed to be used as a gathering place for social organizations such as the YMCA, complete with a ladies rest room and bathing facilities.  On the lot to the south, the Friends community started construction of an educational building, but that was never completed, and that lot became the location of the high school, built in 1930.  There were many steps leading up to the worship auditorium, and a large porch where the high school band sometimes played summer concerts.  That would have been in the late 30’s, I think.  I only remember that because my older brother and sister were in Paul Grover’s concert band at the time.

We never know what wonderful treasures will come through our doors on any given day.  And many  donors don’t  realize how vital those items may be to make some historical connection we’ve been trying to work out.  Keep them coming!

Once again we have to say goodbye to some faithful members: Louise Parkinson, Wanda Depperschmidt  and Janet Marcy.  These special ladies will be missed.

Please welcome new family members: Jan and Kim Wilkerson, Aaron and Holly Beaton, Katie Cornlius/the Mayo Family, Clint and Amy France, Warren and Trisha Harkness, Jennifer Orr, Randy and Stacy Rogers, Steve and Valyndia Payne, Monica Beeson, Mike and Tricia Goode, Coleen Malek, Jeremy and Nicole Turner, Adam and Elisha Winter, Matthew and Emily Lightner, Aaron and Megan Dirks, Anastacia Gossman, Matt and Alex Fox, Joel and Danielle Edwards, Myles and Elizabeth Vulgamore, Armando and Edith Tarango, and Turner Sheet Metal.

Upcoming Programs for Kids and Families:

Artists!  Our last Summer 1st Friday is an opportunity for kids to talk, draw, and learn from our very own Artist, Jerry Thomas.  Jerry will share how he gets inspired and pass that on to our budding artists.  There will be time to tour the Jerry Thomas Gallery and Collection as well as visit with Jerry following his workshop.  Participants will receive a drawing pencil and paper to take home.  Older artists, ages 10 and up, can learn how to make a pocket sketchbook.  This workshop is best for kids ages 8 and up, but younger artists may attend with the help of an adult.  Cost is $5 for non-members and FREE for members.

Trunk Talks Coming This Fall! Beginning in September, we will host programs centered around Kansas State Historical Society’s Traveling Resource Trunks.  These trunks bring the history of Kansas to us in a unique and educational way.  Each trunk focuses on specific topics in Kansas history and include high-quality reproductions of historical artifacts, primary source documents, photographs and more.  This will be a wonderful educational opportunity for kids and families alike with lots of hands on activities.

•             1st Wednesdays:  For homeschooled and school aged children at 1:30 pm.

•             2nd Saturdays:  For families and kids of all ages at 2:00 pm

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