We had an excellent slate of submissions this year for awards, and we appreciate all of you who took the time out to apply and the committee members who were charged with the difficult task of choosing the winners.
Award of Excellence
Watkins Museum of History, Lawrence, KS
Kansas People’s History Project
The Kansas People’s History Project (KPHP) consisted of an exhibition and series of workshops facilitated by lead artist, Dave Loewenstein, at sites across Kansas. Participants shared stories about people and events in Kansas’ past, explored ways to depict these stories in broadside prints, learned about resources for historical research, and were encouraged to partner with others to develop and submit concepts for broadsides. By spring 2016, 42 designs were submitted and displayed on the project website, www.kansaspeopleshistoryproject.com
. A group of 13 designs were selected for development as a portfolio of hand-pulled screen prints, printed by Justin Marable.
In May, 2016, “Hidden Forces: The Kansas People’s History Project,” an exhibition featuring work from the project, opened at the Watkins Museum. Two venues have committed to showing it in fall 2016 and winter 2017. Overall, 2,448 people participated in project workshops, attended museum programs, and viewed the exhibition.
The Awards Committee would also like to give special recognition to the Kansas Museum of History for their exhibit, “Captured: The Extraordinary Life of Colonel Hughes.”
Tonganoxie Community Historical Society, Tonganoxie
“Traditional Tales of Tonganoxie; The First 100 Years” DVD Series
“Traditional Tales of Tonganoxie” is a set of four DVDs that tell the history of the first 100 years of Tonganoxie, Kansas. The set contains thirty chapters and totals six hours. The history and stories are presented using photographs, maps, and diagrams with descriptions provided by narration and clips from over fourteen oral history interviews. Released in 2016, it coincides with the 35th anniversary of the Tonganoxie Community Historical Society. The DVD series was introduced to the community at the Sesquicentennial celebration of the platting of Tonganoxie on June 11, 2016. The most important goal was recording the local history and making it available to the community.
Graphic Design Award
Kauffman Museum at Bethel College, Newton
Gallery Guide for “Memory Matters: Works by Gesine Janzen”
The Kauffman Museum’s 2016-2017 special exhibit “Memory Matters: Works by Gesine Janzen” features large-scale mixed-media installations by printmaker Gesine Janzen juxtaposed with a “memory island” of artifacts drawn from the Kauffman Museum collection. The artist requested that traditional wall labels NOT be used to identify her works of art to avoid “visual clutter” that would distract from her complex pieces. This required the creation of a gallery guide for visitors to identify the titles and materials of the works of art and to provide the artist’s descriptions of the works. The goal of the project was to create a gallery guide that could be “taken away” and become a memory of the exhibit, since memory was the key theme.
Distinguished Service Award
Katie Armitage, Lawrence, KS
Nominated by: Douglas County Historical Society, Lawrence
For nearly fifty years, Katie Armitage has served the Kansas museum community through her work as a volunteer and researcher at the Watkins Museum, work at the Kansas State Historical Society, providing Lawrence history classes and tours, and co-founding Civil War on the Western Frontier in Lawrence. Throughout this period, she has continued to research and publish work on Kansas History and advocate for museums and museum education.
Katie Armitage has served as a volunteer and part-time employee in several capacities at the Watkins Museum of History/Douglas County Historical Society since the 1970s. Katie now serves the museum on many levels. In addition to her membership in the Douglas County Historical Society and her financial donations to the Watkins Museum, each Wednesday afternoon she is stationed at the front entrance of the Watkins where she greets visitors and provides an introduction to the museum. She also uses this time to make herself available to researchers with questions about Kansas history. Katie has also made significant contributions as an excellent lecturer and tour guide for numerous public programs. She has researched and developed not only lectures, but also hands-on educational programs such as the Let’s Build a Mud Fort program for youth, which she began in 1996. She has conducted tours of Oak Hill Cemetery for youth and the general public. In addition Katie has conducted many walking and bus tours featuring the infamous Quantrill’s Raid on Lawrence in 1863 and the history of the Santa Fe and Oregon Trails. In 2012, Katie served on the Core Exhibit development team at the Watkins Museum and wrote several sections of exhibit script. She was the Douglas County Historical Society Volunteer of the Year in 2013. In 2015, she served on a special committee to develop a memorial walking tour of Oak Hill Cemetery that featured the graves and life stories of veterans from the Civil War to Vietnam. Thank you to Katie Armitage for her many years of dedicated service to the Kansas museum community!