Tag Archives: Kansas City

Smithsonian Water/Ways exhibit is now traveling Kansas #thinkwater

None of us can live without water, and a new traveling Smithsonian Institution exhibit examines the role that water plays in our lives. Water/Ways is part of Museum on Main Street, a program that brings big topics to smaller towns all over the United States.

The Smithsonian Institution’s traveling Water/Ways exhibit is as beautiful as it is informative.

Water/Ways is currently traveling through Kansas, Alabama, Tennessee and Virginia. It’s a beautiful hands-on exhibit that looks at all of the ways we need, use, and interact with water. Water decides where we live, what we grow, and even our recreation and spiritual activities. Too much or too little water can be devastating.

Learn things you might not have known about water. Endorheic watersheds are made of water that drains to a basin instead of a river or the ocean.

In Kansas, we’re constantly thinking about water. We get too much rain. We don’t get enough. Our rivers are up. Our water supply is low. Our water mains break. Our reservoirs silt up. Zebra mussels threaten our water towers. We worry we’ll deplete our aquifers.

The rest of the world is having conversations about these things. too.

This display helps you understand how much water it takes to produce everyday things, like apples, blue jeans, and cars.

The Water/Ways exhibit looks at where we find water on earth and how human activity impacts our water resources. Learn how much water it takes to grow an apple, built a car, or produce a pair of blue jeans. Try your hand at developing good water policies that protect our water supply while supporting cities AND agriculture. [Hint: It’s super hard.] Discover the water challenges faced by people, plants, and animals around the globe, and how living things have adapted to them.

Try your hand at creating public policy that will both protect the water supply AND meet water demands.

It’s a small but powerful exhibit.

In addition to the traveling Water/Ways exhibit, the Kansas Humanities Council has also awarded grants to numerous sites around the state to tell their own water story. [Disclaimer: The Old Depot Museum, where I work, received one of these grants!] The local stories are amazing and demonstrate how our own state can have very diverse water experiences.

The Smithsonian exhibit is on display at the Eudora Community Museum through August 6. If you can’t make it to Eudora in time, you can catch the exhibit in other Kansas locations through 2018.

There are also three local stories being told during the summer of 2017:

At the Mercy of the Kaw: Eudora’s Relationship with Water,” the story of Eudora’s relationship with the Kansas River (Eudora Community Museum, Eudora, Kansas)

Crossings: Getting Over, Around, and Through Water in Franklin County,” the story of the love/hate relationship between Franklin County and the Marais des Cygnes River (Old Depot Museum, Ottawa, Kansas)

Dam, That Took a Long Time,” the story of the construction of Wyandotte County Lake and Dam (Mr. and Mrs. F.L. Schlagle Library and Environmental Learning Center, Kansas City, Kansas)

Upcoming local stories look at floods, failed canals, desegregating swimming pools, and artesian wells.

This is a powerful traveling exhibit and worth seeking out before it leaves the state.

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Rosedale World War I Memorial Arch

High up on a hill, the Rosedale World War I Memorial Arch is easily seen from the Seventh Street Trafficway in Kansas City, Kansas. However, this was the first time my husband and I ever actually made the trip to the park where the arch stands.

The Rosedale Arch was dedicated to local World War I soldiers in 1923.

The Rosedale Arch was dedicated to local World War I soldiers in 1923.

Rosedale was originally established in 1872 as a distinct Wyandotte County town. It was ultimately annexed by Kansas City, Kansas, but maintains its name as a community. The Rosedale Arch echoes the Arc de Triomphe in Paris and was originally designed by Rosedale native John Leroy Marshall and dedicated in 1923. More recently, monuments were added to commemorate soldiers from later wars.

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The little park is a lovely retreat in the middle of the city and is easily accessible. In addition to the arch, there is a great view of the downtown Kansas City, Kansas and Kansas City, Missouri skylines.

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The park is high on the hill and offers a view of the downtown Kansas City, Kansas and Kansas City, Missouri skylines.

Hear about a Kansas True Crime at West Wyandotte Branch

Information about my upcoming presentation at West Wyandotte Library in Kansas City, Kansas has been posted to the KCKPL blog.

Sunday Snapshots: Photographs of Kansas in Missouri

This weekend, Jim and I crossed the state line into Missouri to visit the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, which was hosting Heartland: The Photographs of Terry Evans. Evans grew up in Kansas City and studied at the University of Kansas. Her portraits are beautiful, but I was most moved by her amazing photographs of the prairie. It’s very difficult to capture the movement, shape, and texture of grassland, but her photographs are full of depth and energy. Her portraits and landscapes from Matfield Green, Kansas, truly capture the spirit of the Flint Hills.

Heartland The Photographs of Terry Evans at Nelson Atkins

Heartland: The Photographs of Terry Evans is on display at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art through January 20, 2013.

With an hour to spare after touring the exhibit, we dashed through the halls to see some of our favorite pieces. We were disappointed to discover that our absolute favorite painting, Saint John the Baptist in the Wilderness by Caravaggio, is on loan to the Los Angeles County Museum (lucky LA!). But many of my other favorites, ancient pieces that have fascinated me since my middle school class visited the museum to see the ancient Greek sculptures after reading Homer’s Odyssey, were still on display.

Heartland Nelson Atkins Kirkwood Hall

Looking up at the natural light in Kirkwood Hall.

Heartland Nelson Atkins Assyrian

Winged Genie Fertilizing a Date Tree, 884-860 B.C.E. , at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. Detail.

Heartland Nelson Atkins Greek Pottery

Ancient Greek pottery at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art.

Heartland Nelson Atkins Roman Sarcophagus

The Muse Sarcophagus at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art.

Sunday Snapshot: Sumner Academy, a high school with heritage

Originally known as Sumner High School, Sumner Academy of Arts and Science nurtures some of the brightest minds in Kansas City, Kansas.

I still remember walking through the doors of this fabulous Art Deco building to enroll for the first time in 1989. This was my dream high school, and I did a little dance the day I received my letter of acceptance. But what I didn’t fully understand about Sumner was its history and how that history is interwoven with the history of race relations in Kansas City.

Many Kansans believe that schools were racially segregated right up until Brown v. Topeka Board of Education. However, in Kansas City, Kansas, this was not true until 1904, when a Caucasian boy was allegedly killed by an African American boy in a baseball park. The next morning, 700 Caucasian students refused to allow the 80 African American students to enter Kansas City, Kansas High School even though the accused murderer was not a student. This incident led to the passage of a state law that mandated segregated schools in 1905.

Sumner High School was born at the corner of Eighth and Oakland.

The student population outgrew the original 1905 building, and in 1939, the Public Works Administration built the original sections of the present-day building. It was never as grand or flashy as Wyandotte High School, which catered to the Caucasian population, but it has an elegance that has graced the corner of Eighth and Oakland for more than 70 years.

In 1978, the courts ordered the integration of Sumner High School. That fall, Sumner Academy of Arts and Science opened its doors as a public college prep magnet. Sumner High School already had a reputation for providing an excellent education. Sumner Academy would provide that education to a more diverse student body.

My husband and I are part of the class of 1994, and we’re both incredibly grateful for the education we received there. However, it is only now, nearly two decades later, that I am beginning to really appreciate the role that Sumner Academy played in the history of an entire city.

Read more about Sumner Academy, its architecture, and its history through the National Historic Register application.