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Free history programs resume at Finney County Museum

GARDEN CITY — The Finney County Historical Society’s next series of free public programs will offer something for people interested in writing their own personal histories, attending Finney County’s Renaissance festival, learning the story of the ill-fated Soule Canal or discovering how a crusading Kansas newspaper editor defeated the Ku Klux Klan.

Personal History Writing

The History at High Noon and Evening at the Museum series will start at noon Jan. 12 and 7 p.m. Jan. 18 with “Writing Your Personal History,” offered by Johnetta Hebrlee, Finney County Museum education coordinator.

“Your life story is important, and we’ll show how to make sure it’s recorded for future generations,” Hebrlee said.

The free series includes noon programs on the second Wednesday, and 7 p.m. programs the third Tuesday of January through April, as well as September through November.  

Those attending should use the north entrance of the Finney County Museum and are welcome to bring their own lunch or dinner, if desired.  The host organization will provide cookies and beverages.

Attendees are advised to use their own best judgement in terms of virus precautions and immunity.  Masks and hand sanitizer will be available but not required.

Silver Sage Renaissance Festival

Presentations at noon Feb. 9 and 7 p.m. Feb. 15 will be given by Jacque Swartout and others from the local organization that recently began staging the Silver Sage Renaissance Festival on an annual basis.  The festivals provide the chance to step back in time for a taste of life and culture in the 15th and 16th Centuries, and the organizers will offer details on their 2022 festival, as well as participation and attendance details.

Soule’s Folly

Howard Koehn, a history researcher and enthusiast from Montezuma, will speak at noon March 9 and 7 p.m. March 15 on “Soule’s Folly,” a 96-mile irrigation canal dug during the late 1800s through Ford and Gray Counties by developer and entrepreneur Asa Soule.  While the project failed, evidence of the ambitious plan remains today in Southwest Kansas.

William Allen White and the KKK

The series will conclude for spring at 7 p.m. April 19 with “William Allen White and the KKK” by Winfield native Beverly Olson Buller, an author, Humanities Kansas lecturer and leader of the William Allen White Book Awards Program.  She will explain how the nationally known Emporia Gazette editor’s efforts, during the 1924 Kansas governor’s office race, led to a Kansas Supreme Court ruling that outlawed the Ku Klux Klan.

Buller’s program is offered in partnership by the FCHS and the Humanities Kansas cultural organization, which provided grant funding for her appearance. It will be preceded April 13 with a noon program by Hebrlee about the history of militant and vigilante groups in Kansas.