Grant awarded to Finney County Historical Society

A portion of the Fleagle display inside the “True Crime” exhibit at the Finney County Historical Museum. The Finney County Historical Society opened the museum in 1964.

GARDEN CITY — The Finney County Historical Society has received a SHARP Recovery Grant of $10,408 from Humanities Kansas.

SHARP Recovery grants are designed to support Kansas Cultural organizations that provide humanities programming and have encountered challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The awards provide funds for general operational support, staff retention and needed digital or operational transitions for cultural work in the post-pandemic era.

“Humanities Kansas is honored to be able to support Kansas cultural organizations as we recover from the impact of COVID,” said Julie Mulvihill, HK executive director.  “This past year has demonstrated that Kansans lean into the humanities during challenging times.”

Kansas cultural organizations that do work in the humanities provide important social connections and contribute to the economic well-being and strength of our communities, Mulvihill added.

The granting organization recently announced the awarding of 121 of the grants statewide, including the one for the FCHS.

FCHS goal to ‘preserve past to enlighten future’

The FCHS operates the Finney County Historical Museum in Garden City, provides an extensive year-round educational program, offers ongoing research services from an in-house library and cares for more than 21,000 cataloged artifacts, photographs and records.

The FCHS also conducts events such as the Southwest Kansas Antiques Appraisal Fair, Flea Market Festival of Antiques, Collectibles, Art and Crafts, an annual history picnic and the upcoming Finney County Pioneer Awards.  Others include the recent Historic Walking Tours of Valley View Cemetery, as well as the parallel Evening at the Museum and History at High Noon series of free public lectures.

SHARP stands for “Sustaining the Humanities through the American Rescue Plan,” and the funds were made available through the National Endowment for the Humanities as part of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021.  The act took effect March 11, with the signature of President Joe Biden, after passage by the U.S. House and Senate.

Humanities Kansas defines itself as “an independent non-profit spearheading a movement of ideas to empower the people of Kansas to strengthen their communities and our democracy.”  It has been involved in programming, grants and partnerships statewide since 1972.  

The FCHS, founded in 1948, operates with the stated mission of preserving the past to enlighten the future.  It opened the museum in Garden City in 1964.

Among approved uses for the grants are salary expenses, facility rental, utilities and technical and consulting needs. The FCHS intends to use the funds for staff salary support.

A total of nearly $750,000 has been distributed through the Kansas program, and additional area recipients include the Ford County Historical Society, Dodge City; High Plains Public Radio, based in Garden City; Meade County Historical Museum, Meade; Morton County Library, Elkhart; Stanton County Public Library, Johnson; and the Stauth Memorial Museum, Montezuma.  Among other recipients across the state, with awards ranging from $2,750 to $12,000, are the Lyon County Historical Center and Emporia Public Library, both in Emporia; the Gordon Parks Museum, Topeka; and Bethel College, Newton.