Friday, August 14, 2009

Some museums we need in Kansas

I don't know if museums is the right word. Maybe interpretive centers.

I was thinking ahead to the "8 Wonders of Kansas People" contest and was wishing we had a Hispanic museum. Then I thought that maybe we need a Kansas Immigration Museum even more. It would show that Swedes, Germans, Welsh, Hispanics, Eastern Europeans, French Canadians, and more share common threads. Maybe timing has been different but we're all part of some immigration movement.

We also need some kind of interpretation of our crops. We've all heard how city folks have come to Kansas in March or April and wondered where the wheat is. They don't understand that it doesn't just pop up golden. What is the evolution of a wheat, corn, or soybean crop? What use do all the different field implements offer? Why are certain crops grown in Kansas? Combines are run by computers and satellite? I might get to see the exhibit at the Smoky Hill Museum in Salina this weekend and hear that they do a good job interpreting the wheat story.

In working on the "customs" contest we've learned that we have some great stories in the state but they aren't interpreted in a way that would give a visitor a cause to go "see" something. If you have "hot and cold" water towers put a sign up to tell that story. If you park cars in the middle of your street, explain why. Burning the prairie and stubble fields is a Kansas custom but we don't interpret it anywhere? Or do we?

Are there other museums that we need to help people "Get Kansas"?

KE #2 Marci Penner


Milt said...

"Interpretive Centers" come in all sizes!
For example, see

- Dan said...

We need a severe weather museum in Kansas - Greensburg would be a great location. Something to cover all of the major catastrophes that have hit us over the years, from the dust storms, to blizzards, to droughts, to tornados, etc.
But also to interpret why we're the type of people who would stand out on the porch and watch funnel clouds pass over and the wind pick up, even if the tornado sirens told us to go in the basement 10 minutes ago.