July 17, 2022 Program: Architecture of the People’s Houses

Sepia-toned photo of the Franklin County Courthouse, a three-story brick and stone victorian building. Inset: graphic of a man with dark hair and a beard. Humanities Kansas logo.

Architecture of the People’s Houses presented by Murl Riedel Sunday, July 17, 2022, 2 p.m. Ottawa Memorial Auditorium, 301 South Hickory, Ottawa, Kansas Kansas has 105 county courthouses and hundreds of city halls, plus a few more state capitals than you might expect. The manifestation of the greatest ideals occurs in these buildings, where the work of the people’s democracy is in action. The designs of these buildings tell us about the evolution of local government in the state. Larger societal issues, such as the Free State and the Civil…

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May 7, 2022: New traveling exhibit tells story of self-rule among Indigenous nations

Group of Kickapoo Indians, standing outside tent, dressed in Euro-American clothing

Image: Members of the Kiwigapawa (Kickapoo) tribe standing outside a tent, dressed in Euro-American clothing. 1909. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress. https://www.loc.gov/item/97512086/   A new traveling exhibit explores how Indigenous nations expressed autonomy during their years in “Indian Territory” Kansas. “Living Sovereignty: Sustaining Indigenous Autonomy in ‘Indian Territory’ Kansas” will open at the Old Depot Museum on Saturday, May 7. For generations before European and American settlement, Indigenous nations and tribes embodied sovereignty—the right to self-rule. Maintaining that sense of self-rule and self-government through years of interactions with the…

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NEW DATE February 6, 2022: Santa Fe depot architecture subject of virtual annual meeting

A train is pulled in to a Santa Fe depot. the Santa Fe logo and "Princeton" are visible under the gable of the depot's roof. People are gathered on the platform between the depot and the train. Passengers can be seen inside the train.

“Santa Fe Depots: Form and Function,” presented by Bob Walz 85th Annual Meeting of the Members of the Franklin County Historical Society  Recording Available   Update: In deference to our Chiefs fans, we are moving our program to February 6, 2022, 2 p.m.  What exactly is a depot and what is it for? Using images of depots along the Eastern and Western Lines of the AT&SF Railroad, Bob Walz will examine the history of the development of Santa Fe depots, from repurposed boxcars to large, ornate depots and everything in…

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October 12: The Orphan Train Movement (Online Event)

A train has pulled into the station. A large group of people crowd around the train as passengers deboard.

The Orphan Train Movement presented by Kaily Carson Tueday, October 12, 2021 – 7 p.m. RECORDING AVAILABLE!   Between 1854 and 1929, 250,000 children migrated from the East Coast to the West and Midwest on orphan trains. Learn how and why the orphan train system developed, how it worked, and hear the stories of orphan train riders to Franklin County. This free online program is presented by Kaily Carson, curator at the National Orphan Train Complex in Concordia, Kansas. Image: An orphan train arrives in Blue Rapids, Kansas. Photo courtesy…

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POSTPONED: November 14: Main Street Richmond: 1880-1980 (online program)

An aerial view of a street lined with businesses and cars.

Main Street Richmond: 1880-1980 presented by Dennis Peters Register at Zoom or watch via Facebook Live   The small town of Richmond, Kansas, has changed a lot over the years. Changing businesses, shifting community needs, and destructive fires have shaped and reshaped the community. Dennis Peters, volunteer with the Richmond Community Museum, will present a history of Richmond through photographs in the museum’s collection. This program will be rescheduled as in in-person program in the spring of 2022.  

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New exhibit explores transition from horse-drawn buggies to horseless carriages

Background: a photo of Central Street in Richmond, Kansas, showing both a horce and buggy and an automobile. The words "Horse Power" are in the foreground.

Horse Power Now through August 2022 at the Old Depot Museum   The Franklin County Historical Society’s newest exhibit, “Horse Power,” explores the transition from horse-drawn buggies to horseless carriages and how the automobile shaped our streets and our culture. The exhibit will be on display at the Old Depot Museum in Ottawa, Kansas, through August 2022. In 1899, the Ottawa Herald reported that “Franklin County has 6,622 horses. As yet, she has no automobiles.” “Horseless carriages” were still a rarity in Kansas; in 1900, Kansas ranked tenth in the…

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New Exhibit Features Historic Maps of Ottawa

Background shows a translucent image of the index page from the 1884 Ottawa Sanborn Fire Insurance Map. Text reads Our City in Sanborns: The City of Ottawa in Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps, 1884-1924

Our City in Sanborns: The City of Ottawa in Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps, 1884-1924 Now through July 2022 at the Old Depot Museum   The Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps were first published in the 1860s to help fire insurance agents assess risk to commercial, industrial, and residential buildings and properties. Sanborn ultimately printed more than 50,000 editions of maps for 12,000 U.S. towns and cities through the 1950s. Because these maps were expensive—ranging in price from $12 to $200 depending on the year and the size of the city—communities often…

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April 13: Trails of Kansas: Past, Present, and Future (Online Event)

Green-leafed trees arch over a gravel trail. The cover of the book Kansas Trail Guide is highlighted in the lower left corner.

Trails of Kansas: Past, Present, and Future presented by Jonathan Conard and Kristin Conard April 13, 7 p.m. Click here for recording The history of trails runs deep across the Kansas plains.  From the historic Oregon, Santa Fe, and Chisholm Trails to the steady growth in recreational trails throughout our state today, there are more opportunities than ever to explore Kansas on foot, bike, or horseback.  Trails that connect the past to the present are found throughout the state and we highlight some of the most scenic and interesting trails…

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New exhibit highlights teen’s photos of 1950s Franklin County

A black-and-white image shows a teen boy standing with a camera on a tripod, photographing a sun setting over a body of water. The exhibit title Through a Teen's Lens: The Photography of Jack Bremer appears in the upper right-hand corner.

Through a Teen’s Lens: The Photography of Jack Bremer Now through March 2022 at the Old Depot Museum Before Jack Bremer found his calling as a United Methodist minister and social activist, he was a teenager with a camera. The Old Depot Museum’s newest exhibit, “Through a Teen’s Lens: The Photography of Jack Bremer,” showcases 50 photographs Bremer captured during the early 1950s. The exhibit will be on display through March 2022. Bremer’s photographs caught the attention of the Franklin County Historical Society in June of 2020, when his daughter,…

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January 31:Historic maps the topic of this year’s virtual historical society annual meeting

An image of a hand-drawn 19th century map, featuring streets, buildings, and the Marais des Cygnes River is in the background. A photo of a man with a beard is featured in the foreground. The words "Mapping the Past" and "84th Annual Meeting of the Members of the Franklin County Historical Society" float over the map.

“Mapping the Past,” presented by Kelly Johnston 84th Annual Meeting of the Members of the Franklin County Historical Society Sunday, January 31, 2021, 2 p.m.   Click Here For Recording   Before technology like drones, aerial photography, and GPS, 19th and early 20th century cartographers were creating incredibly accurate and detailed maps of small and large towns and their historic structures. Kelly Johnston will explore the history of some of these maps and how they can be used to research the history of buildings and towns during his presentation at…

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