KU News Release

Jan. 28, 2011
Contact: Rebecca Smith, KU Libraries, 785-864-1761

KU Libraries opens new exhibition to celebrate Kansas’ 150th birthday

More Information

LAWRENCE — In celebration of the Kansas Sesquicentennial, KU Libraries will launch “1861: Kansas from Statehood to Civil War,” a new exhibition at the Library Gallery in Watson Library.

The exhibit commemorates the rich culture and history of the state and why, 150 years later, it continues to thrive. An opening reception for the public will be held from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 4, in Watson Third Floor West.

The exhibit will highlight student and faculty research in Kansas history from disciplines across campus. Items from the Kansas Collection in the exhibition include a handwritten diary kept by a Civil War soldier stationed at Fort Leavenworth, maps depicting Kansas Territory and Kansas with its established boundaries in 1861, a printed circular designed to attract settlers to Atchison and a sketch from Harper’s Weekly depicting the ruins of Lawrence after Quantrill’s Raid.

Additionally, the exhibit will highlight 19th century primary resource material, accessed through KU Libraries’ electronic databases, of which historians across the country rely heavily. The exhibit also includes Civil War-era sheet music from the Kansas Collection and print replicas of late 19th century quilts held at the Spencer Museum of Art.

“This collaborative exhibition is intended to provide a snapshot of research relating to Kansas history occurring across campus,” said Sarah Goodwin Thiel, digital imaging librarian and chair of the library exhibits committee. “We hope participants will realize the depth and breadth of resources and scholarship on this subject that can be found right here at KU — not only in the libraries, but across the university.”

The exhibition’s opening event on Feb. 4 will feature Sherry Williams, curator of the Kansas Collection at Spencer Research Library, who will discuss Kansas statehood and its wide representation in the collection. Williams’ talk will focus on resources that document the period of Kansas’ history from 1854 (when Kansas became a territory) to 1865.

“I will be highlighting a selection of resources that include personal accounts such as diaries, letters and historical images from the time,” Williams said. “I will also talk about Territorial Kansas Online, a shared project with the Kansas State Historical Society, that was done a number of years ago and made freely available on the Web. It provides public, digital access to the best of both institutions’ territorial holdings.”

Kansas Day marks the anniversary of the state’s admission as the 34th in the Union on Jan. 29, 1861. Each year, schools, libraries and other organizations celebrate the long and interesting history of the state through various events.

The hour-long exhibition opening reception is free and open to the public and will include live period music, local hors d’oeuvres and beverages. Williams’ presentation will begin at 6:30 p.m. Those interested in attending should RSVP to smbarker@ku.edu or call 785-864-3601.

The exhibition will run from Feb. 4 through April 1.

The University of Kansas is a major comprehensive research and teaching university. University Relations is the central public relations office for KU's Lawrence campus.

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