Kansas Day events honor state’s 151st anniversaryBy Beccy Tanner
The Wichita Eagle
Kansas celebrates its 151st birthday on Sunday.Over the next few days and weeks, Kansans will celebrate with a variety of events.
Here are a few:
Topeka – 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. The Kansas Museum of History will host free Kansas Day activities for schools, home-schoolers and the general public. Visitors to the museum can see the exhibit “You are Here: Putting Kansas on the Map,” which features the best maps from the Kansas Historical Society’s collections, as well as rare maps on loan. The museum is at 6425 SW Sixth Ave. For groups of 10 or more, register in advance. Information, 785-272-8681 or visit www.kshs.org.
Singer/storyteller Thad Beach will perform “Kansas, the 34th Star” at 9:30 and 11:30 a.m. Meteorologist Drew Switzer from WIBW Channel 13 will share stories about Kansas weather at 10:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m.
Republic – 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Pawnee Indian Museum State Historic Site will honor the state animal, the American bison (buffalo), with an exhibit of antique bison prints from the 1700s and 1800s. A drawing for a bison skull painted by a Pawnee elder will be held. Refreshments will be served. Admission is free. The museum is eight miles north of U.S. 36 on K-266. Information, 785-361-2255 or kshs.org.
Hays – 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Fort Hays State Historic Site, four miles south of I-70 exit 157 at Hays, offers a free event with performances of “Out of the Bedroll,” a first-person interpretation about Kansas cowboys by Don Rowlison; “Flint Knapping and Indian Weapons,” a demonstration by Gary Schuler; and “Music and Entertainment at the Fort,” a first-person interpretation by Marla Matkin. Schools and home-schooling groups may call 785-625-6812 to reserve a spot or for more information.
Salina – 1 to 3 p.m. Kansas Day open house at Smoky Hill Museum, 211 West Iron Ave. Free. Activities include churning butter and shelling corn. Presentations on broom-making and its equipment and history, and making rag rugs. Visitors can eat birthday cake and make crafts.
Nicodemus – 4 p.m. Nicodemus Township Hall/Visitor Center hosts “The Politicians of Nicodemus and the struggle for civil rights in Kansas.” Featured speaker is Gretchen Eick, history professor at Friends University in Wichita. Several descendants of Nicodemus residents will portray local personalities. Park ranger Michelle Huff will present information on the 1879 census and Abram Hall.
North Newton – 1:30 p.m. Kauffman Museum, 2801 N. Main St. Presentations on using local clay in ceramics, experiments with chemicals found in Kansas, sing-a-long featuring the museum’s 261-year-old organ. Free mini-bags of Kansas flour, indoor and outdoor crafts and demonstrations, wagon rides, popcorn and a bake sale and flea market. Information, firstname.lastname@example.org or 316-283-1612.
Abilene – 7 to 10 p.m. Statehood Ball at Sterl Hall, 619 N. Rogers, with 1860s period music by the Kansas Brigade Band and dancers dress in period clothing. Attendees can learn dances that were popular in 1861. Period clothing not required. Refreshments. Admission $5 for nonmembers, $2 for children under 12. Information, 785-263-2681.
Larned – 2 p.m. Santa Fe Trail Center program with songs commemorating 151 years of statehood. Reception with birthday cake follows. The center is two miles west of Larned on K-156.
Lecompton – 2 p.m. Constitution Hall State Historic Site, 319 Elmore St., “Bleeding Kansas” series, Sundays through Feb. 26. Suggested donation $3 for adults. Sunday’s Kansas Day topic is “The Underground Railroad on the Kansas Frontier,” by Todd Mildfelt. Speakers will sign copies of their books, available for purchase. Information, 785-887-6520 or kshs.org/portal_constitution_hall.
Wichita – 1 p.m. Wichita/Sedgwick County Historical Museum, 204 S. Main. Traveling exhibit “Our Lives, Our Stories: America’s Greatest Generation” opens to the public; 2 p.m., Kansas Day program by Jay Price, director of public history at Wichita State University.
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