Next Museum program to focus on area’s Mexican heritage

Locals participate in a flag raising ceremony during the 1975 Garden City Community Mexican Fiesta.

The Finney County Historical Museum’s 2018 Evening at the Museum lecture series will continue Tuesday, March 20, in Garden City with a presentation by Henry “Hank” Avila, focusing on southwest Kansas families who trace their heritage to Mexico.

Now in its fourth year, the series features a different presentation on the third Tuesday of each month, January through April and September through November.

All programs begin at 7 p.m. in the meeting room of the Finney County Museum and run about an hour each, followed by a question-and-answer period.

Admission is free and those who attend should use the museum’s north entrance.  The museum staff will provide dessert and beverages.  Listeners may bring their own dinner, if desired.

Sponsored by the Southern Council of the AT&T Pioneers, the session will draw from Avila’s current book project, which has included research at the museum and various additional sources.

Avila, a Garden City native, is a veteran researcher for the Kansas State Legislative Research Department in Topeka. He has published a number of articles, including “Immigration and Integration,” which appeared in Volume 20 of “Kansas History, a Journal of the Central Plains.”

The Henry Avila Collection of the Kansas Historical Society includes transcripts from oral interviews he conducted with nearly two dozen Finney County residents of Mexican-American heritage.

Avila’s interviews were also the basis of a one-time exhibit at the museum, entitled “As American as We Could Be.”

There will also be a program April 17 about German Mennonite history by retired USD 457 History Instructor Norman Clark.

Information is available at (620) 272-3664.  The museum is located at 403 S. Fourth St.