The Kansas Historical Society is observing Hispanic Heritage Month with two exhibits at the Kansas Museum of History in Topeka.
The exhibits will be on display Sept. 20 through Nov. 1 at the museum, 6425 SW Sixth Ave. in Topeka.
Hispanic Heritage Month is commemorated Sept. 15 through Oct. 15.
This is the first time the historical society has observed the month. It partnered with the Tonantzin Society in Topeka, an organization that helps nurture and preserve Hispanic art and culture.
“If you go back in Kansas history, there was a time when we were traditionally part of Spain – and at one point, Mexico,” said Lois Herr, education coordinator at the Kansas Historical Society. “With the Santa Fe Trail going through Kansas, we always had a lot of travel going on between Mexico and Kansas.”
In the early 19th century, a portion of southwest Kansas helped mark the international boundary between the United States and Spain, Mexico and Texas until 1845, when it became part of the U.S. territory.
One exhibit features Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) objects made in Topeka and Mexico with the traditional Aztec symbols of skeletons and skulls.
The other exhibit, “Continuing the Tradition: Mexican American Folk Arts,” highlights several forms of traditional Mexican folk art.
“There are a lot of communities throughout the state with Mexican-American populations,” Herr said.