K is for Kansas: Exploring Kansas from A to Z
On Display March 10th – May 9th
Explore the Sunflower State
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 that surround a large-scale carpet map of Kansas, the exhibit seeks to increase appreciation of the unique people, places, animals, plants and everyday things of Kansas. The exhibit will lead visitors on an alphabetic journey across the Sunflower State, from “aviation” to “Z-Bar Ranch.” The exhibit was developed by Kauffman Museum, Bethel College, North Newton, 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 Sante Fe locomotive. School children 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. Discovery packets with activity suggestions are available to orient families with children to the exhibit.
Hundreds of words were considered while developing the exhibit. “The exhibit reflects where we are and who we are–an exhibit team of parents, designer, 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 included personal favorites that point to the quirky and fun sides of Kansas. For example, Dalton Gang, Dexter helium wells and dogbane are listed ad D words. But the exhibit also supports social studies and science standards established by the Kansas Department of Education including Kansas symbols and words such as dust bowl.
A 28-page, folding booklet featuring the Kansas alphabet provides the complete list of words included in the exhibit. The “K is for Kansas” booklet a bookmark and two postcards are available for free with the exhibit.
We are expecting many large groups for this exhibit. Please call in advance to schedule groups and tours of 5 or more so we can make sure the museum is fully staffed for you to have the best experience during your visit. Tours/groups welcome by appointment, contact 620-846-2527 for information or to set up a tour. Business hours for the Stauth Museum, 111 N Aztec Street, Montezuma KS are Tue-Sat, 9am-12pm & 1pm-4:30pm. Admission is free, but donations are gratefully accepted to help pay for this amazing and future incredible exhibits!