First Affiliate Tea, October 13, 2012
How is Kansas regional and local history preserved? What kinds of public history and education projects are effective on a shoestring budget? How can small historical societies and museums create exhibits and programs so exciting, grade school classes will line up to come? How can Chapman Center interns become part of these energizing ideas?
For two hours on October 13, seven historical societies and Chapman Center interns, directors, and assistants shared ideas and frustrations about "doing history" in 2012. Members and volunteers of active societies in our service area came to visit the Center for an autumn tea and exchange forum. We enjoyed meeting guests from Wabaunsee County Historical Society, Geary County Historical Society, Clay County Historical Society, Rock Creek Valley Historical Society, St. George Historical Society, Riley County Historical Society, and Riley County Genealogical Society.
Intern Aaron Melby presented his research on patterns of territorial Kansas crime, a project made possible through the cooperation of Wabaunsee County Historical Society. Angela Schnee discussed the Pool Table Research Project and shared her GIS map of pool table distribution in early 20th century rural Kansas, research again made possible through leads and contacts primarily provided through our county affiliates. MJ Morgan overviewed our developing website and collections; she also mentioned upcoming Chapman projects in 2013.
The Tea was our way of saying "Thank You!" to historical societies who have opened doors to our students on weekends, called interviewees on their behalf, loaned critical resources, and supported student work with their own research, a collaboration we love. We collected a detailed Affiliate Wish List of projects that our interns and interested students can assist with, as well as noting accomplishments in the past year. This information forms a vital form of connection for all of us. As Nola Wilkerson of Rock Creek Valley (Pottawatomie County) and Benetta Foster, Wabaunsee County, both put it, "I loved learning what other people are doing in their organizations!"
Special Honoree Mr. Melvin Bruntzel was the recipient of the first Chapman Center Bruntzel Award for Preservation of Kansas History; Mr. Bruntzel's three-volume reference set of lost Kansas communities, over 9,000, represents a truly staggering commitment and dedication. Look for his research on our website soon.