Two locally produced documentaries will be shown this week at the Barton County Historical Museum. The historical society will celebrate Kansas Day with a program today, and local history with its annual meeting on Monday, Executive Director Beverly Komarek said. Kansas became the 34th state on Jan. 29, 1861.
The public is invited to today’s free Kansas Day program at the museum, located just south of Great Bend’s Arkansas River bridge on U.S. 281. At 2 p.m., Wendell Hinkson will provide the program, a 57-minute video titled “Astra per Aspera – Kansas: Territory to Statewood.”
“The public is invited and encouraged to attend,” Komarek said. “Following the program, the little train will run, weather permitting.”
Ten governors, seven years, four constitutions, national politics, economics, westward expansion and slavery all contributed to the struggle over the government of the Territory of Kansas. The period from May 30, 1854, to January 29, 1861, is one of the most confused and confusing in Kansas and United States history. This period’s list of characters, hero or villain, depending on your outlook includes John Brown, Jim Lane, John W. Geary and many others. Abraham Lincoln said, “No other territory has ever had such a history.”
“Astra per Aspera – Kansas: Territory to Statehood,” is a Sunflower Showcase video produced by Sagebrush Video Productions in Otis, which is headed by Rachel Harmon, a professional photographer and videographer.
Annual meeting Monday
The Barton County Historical Society annual meeting will be held at 7:30 p.m. Monday, Jan. 28, at the museum. It is open to members and prospective new members, Komarek said.
A short business meeting will be followed by the showing of “Long Days Journey to Sundown,” produced for the historical society in 1995 by Mark Adams at Barton Community College. This 22-minute documentary portrays historical features of the Sante Fe Trail from Plum Buttes to Fort Larned, and serves as a good review for the experienced historian as well as newcomers to this area.
Refreshments will be provided.
The Santa Fe Trail was well established by the time Kansas became a state, while settlement of Barton County came about 10 years later. All are worth remembering on Kansas Day, and for those interested in learning more, the Barton County Historical Society is a good place to start.