Longtime Kansans remember the stories surrounding one of the worst floods in Kansas history.
It was July 1951, and much of eastern Kansas was underwater.
Or they remember how the drought of 2010 and 2011 in the southwest corner of Kansas turned many crops dry as winds blew the topsoil in dust storms almost reminiscent of those in the 1930s.
A traveling Smithsonian exhibition partnered with the Kansas Humanities Council called “Water/Ways” is scheduled to open Saturday at the Eudora Community Museum, 720 Main in Eudora. It will be shown there through Aug. 6.
Over the next year, the exhibit will be in the following Kansas places and communities.
▪ Aug. 12-Sept. 25: Prairie Museum of Art and History in Colby
▪ Sept. 30-Nov. 12: Boot Hill Museum in Dodge City
▪ Nov. 18-Dec. 31: Hesston Public Library in Hesston
▪ Jan. 6-Feb. 18: Geary County Historical Society and Museums in Junction City
▪ Feb. 24-April 8: Symphony in the Flint Hills Gallery in Cottonwood Falls
▪ April 13-June 3: The Museum at Prairiefire, Overland Park
The exhibit explores how water affects our work, play, celebrations and communities.
Some of the stories are harrowing, such as those of the survivors of the 1951 flood. In one such story, Hazel Harris of Eudora needed to get to her husband, Jerry, who was in a hospital at Lawrence. She traveled by boat because K-10 was covered with floodwaters.
Nine community organizations are also participating in the “Water/Ways” initiative as partner sites with local exhibitions and public programs that extend the statewide conversation about water. “Water/Ways” partner sites do not host the Smithsonian exhibit, but they provide an opportunity to learn more about the local impact of water in Kansas. Partner sites include the Big Well Museum, Greensburg; Fort Scott Area Chamber of Commerce; Franklin County Historical Society, Ottawa; Mr. and Mrs. F.L. Schlagle Library and Environmental Learning Center, Kansas City, Kan.; Marion City Library; Rice County Historical Society, Lyons; Solomon Valley-Highway 24-Heritage Alliance; Stanton County Historical Society, Johnson City; and Wilson County Conservation District, Fredonia.