From July 18 – September 10, 2016 take a “hike” through history in the Library Atrium.
This unique exhibit blends health and local history, and ties together William Clarke Quantrill and Langston Hughes, 19th-century travelers on the Oregon Trail and World War II-era German prisoners of war, the artistry of William S. Burroughs and the agricultural history of Douglas County, plus a long-forgotten railroad line and a number of dimly-remembered east side neighborhood notables whose names still grace streets and parks.
“A Hike through History on the Burroughs Creek Trail” offers a ten-panel display of engaging stories that invites visitors to envision the 1.7 mile paved path and linear park running from 11th Street to 23rd Street as a venue where people (especially those taking part in our Summer Reading challenge!) can exercise their minds and their bodies at the same time.
“We are delighted to host this exhibit that highlights local history while encouraging health and wellness,” says Brad Allen, the Library’s executive director. “Additionally, as a largely locally-sourced undertaking, it demonstrates the depth of talent and expertise available for public humanities projects here in Lawrence and environs.”
A series of accompanying bookmarks will offer suggestions for further reading about each topic. It also comes with its own reading list and mobile PDF Walking Guide for smartphone hikes!
ABOUT THE PROJECT
Nearly two years in the making, the “Hike through History” exhibit was developed by Sunflower Republic, LLC, under the auspices of the Lawrence Public Library and the Watkins Museum of History, with in-kind support from the Hall Center for the Humanities at the University of Kansas. Funding was provided by Dolph and Pam Simons, the Kansas Health Foundation, and Freedom’s Frontier National Heritage Area. Exhibit scripts were written by scholars and experts in their fields. The panels are illustrated with archival images from the Kansas State Historical Society, the Douglas County Historical Society, the Kenneth Spencer Research Library at the University of Kansas, the Library of Congress, and other repositories. The project also enjoys formal support from the East Lawrence Neighborhood Association and the Brook Creek Neighborhood Association. “This exhibit aims to enhance a sense of place and promote a deeper understanding of the history that happened in East Lawrence,” notes Henry Fortunato, founder of Sunflower Republic, LLC, who conceived and directed the project, and is currently a visiting fellow at the Hall Center.
“Our hope is that it benefits residents who already use the Burroughs Creek Trail as an active transportation corridor while encouraging visitors to check it out.”
During its run here at the library, you will be encouraged to suggest other historical vignettes of more recent vintage for inclusion in possible future iterations of the project. “This exhibit is not supposed to be simply didactic,” adds Fortunato. “Ideally, it will spur dialogue as well, sparking conversations about other stories that need to be told.” Catch “A Hike through History on the Burroughs Creek Trail” at the East Lawrence Recreation Center, Lawrence Memorial Hospital, the KU Memorial Union, and the Watkins Museum of History after it leaves the library.