Few animals conjure the power and symbolic presence of the North American bison. On Saturday the Quivira Chapter and the McPherson Museum and Arts Foundation will present “Buffalo and More!” The family event will feature programs and demonstrations throughout the day.
The Bison: American Icon exhibit explores the meaning and significance of the iconic creature from the Plains Indian culture of the 1800s through the era of commercial exploitation and the emergence of the bison as a national symbol today. The exhibit is open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Complementing the exhibit are Native American wood carvings by Robert Button. The artist will be available from 1 to 4 p.m. to demonstrate the techniques used to create his many works of art. In the 1970s, Button began carving blocks of walnut while enduring idle time during the winter months on his farm. His first attempt took the shape of a duck, which was the beginning of his passion for woodcarving and the first of 500 birds he would carve over a 40-year span.
Over the years, Button expanded his art from caricatures, to bas-relief carvings, to Native American figurines and symbols and birds with intricate detailing. His ideas for the carvings came from magazines, birds he observed at Cheyenne Bottoms and from his travels. Button honed his skills by attending woodcarving seminars and asking for help from his colleagues in the Golden Belt Wood Carvers Association. Button is involved in the Barton County Historical Society, the Quivira Chapter and the Santa Fe Trail Association. He also has interests in Barton County archaeological artifacts and local Native American history. Button and his wife, Coralie, reside in Great Bend.
“Buffalo and More!” attendees can also view Native Americans in Kansas, an exhibit created by Paul Carver’s 5th grade class from Eisenhower Elementary School in McPherson. Their work features artifacts associated with the Wichita Indians. The exhibit is open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Bison: The Mercantile on the Plains presentation by Kevin Hiebert begins at 10 a.m. and highlights the importance of the buffalo to Native Americans and how they utilized all parts of the buffalo in their daily lives. Items made from the buffalo will be displayed, and attendees will engage the senses while discovering the rich history of Kansas through the importance of a once-common animal.
Presenter Dianna Henry has Cherokee, Blackfoot, Oglala/Apache family roots, which has launched her awareness into the world of Spiritual gardening. She will provide The Wisdom of Corn display and discussion of heirloom corn and the importance of these seeds. Henry, who resides in Esbon, will be available from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Ellen Jones has been a park ranger at Fort Larned National Historic Site since 2011. Her presentation A Long Way to Santa Fe begins at 2 p.m. and features a “traveling trunk” story with artifacts from the time. Jones will tell the story of Robert Earl, a ten-year-old boy who accompanies his father’s wagon train from Missouri to Santa Fe in 1850. Robert experiences the slow, monotonous travel of the trade caravan interspersed at times with exciting moments of adventure.
Prairie craftsman Mike Jose will provide demonstrations from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Attendees can learn more about the tools and woodworking crafts of the 1800s, and try their hand at churning butter!
The McPherson Museum is located at 1111 E. Kansas Ave.
Visit www.mcphersonmuseum.com or call 620.241.8464 to learn more about “Buffalo and More!” Cost is regular museum admission. Quivira Chapter members are free.