News Releases

4/10/2015 - K is for Kansas: Exploring Kansas from A to Z

Program Information: Joshua Morris, Curator of Exhibits
Phone: 785.309.5776 (day)

General Museum Information: Susan Hawksworth, Director
Phone: 785.309.5776 (day) 785.825.6306 (evening)



 K is for Kansas: Exploring Kansas from A to Z

Date: April 14 to August 2, 2015
Time: Tuesday-Friday 12-6, Saturday 10-5, Sunday 12-5
Location: Smoky Hill Museum, 211 W. Iron, Salina, KS 67401
Admission: Free

Take an alphabetic journey across the Sunflower State, from “aviation” to “Z-Bar Ranch” in the exhibit K is for Kansas: Exploring Kansas from A to Z. The exhibit will be at the Smoky Hill Museum April 14 to August 2, 2015. It was developed by Kauffman Museum, Bethel College, North Newton, Kansas and received a 2004 Award for Excellence from the Kansas Museums Association and a 2006 Award of Merit from the American Association for State and Local History – their highest prize.

K is for Kansas uses the letters of the alphabet to illustrate significant features of the natural and cultural history of Kansas. Composed of big alphabet blocks, the exhibit seeks to increase appreciation of the unique people, places, animals, plants and everyday things of Kansas.

Each of the 26 alphabet blocks provides in-depth coverage of a word meaningful to Kansas. These words are represented in various ways from maps and historic photographs to the real object. Preschoolers can play with an ornate box turtle shell or a toy Santa Fe locomotive. Schoolchildren can learn about James Naismith, the inventor of basketball and first University of Kansas basketball coach, by playing a mini-game at the “N” block. Everyone will appreciate the breeze of the Vornado fan invented in Kansas, and a carving of an upland sandpiper by Newton artist Ray Cook.

The exploring theme is also reflected in the exhibit’s design. In-depth information about grasshoppers is hidden until you lift flippers marked ‘pests?’ and ‘partners?’ while the definition and picture of a free state ‘jayhawker’ is revealed only when you push a slider.

Hundreds of words were considered while developing the exhibit. “The exhibit reflects where we are and who we are – an exhibit team of parents, designers, teachers, scientists, artists and carpenters who, after a combined 200 years of living here, have come to love Kansas,” said Kauffman Museum exhibit designer Chuck Regier.
The words selected by the exhibit team include personal favorites that point to the quirky and fun sides of Kansas. For example, Dalton Gang, Dexter helium wells, and dogbane are listed as D words. But the exhibit also supports social studies and science standards established by the Kansas Department of Education by including Kansas symbols and words such as dust bowl. 

The Smoky Hill Museum is a nationally accredited history museum, in the heart of downtown Salina, Kansas. This FREE museum is open Tuesday-Friday 12-6, Saturday 10-5 and Sunday 1-5. Also, be sure to stop by the Museum Store for a wide variety of regional and Kansas products, local artwork and gifts for all ages.
For needed accommodations, please call Nona Miller at 309-5776 between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m.  Every effort will be made to accommodate known disabilities. For material or speech access, please call at least 5 working days prior to the event.