Museum News (January 8, 2024)

Published 01/10/2024

Reading all about it, Steve McMurry (Norton) and Eva Cribbs (Eustis, FL) enjoyed visiting the NOTORIOUS exhibit on view at the Hansen Museum in Logan.

Through the years, the Museum has purchased several John Deere tractors. I do not know if it is a result of those purchases or not, but we receive their monthly magazine The Furrow. In the back of the magazine, there is a section called fun & Philosophywhich I always enjoy pursuing. January’s edition contained a very thought-provoking statement under the Capsule Sermonscolumn: “You can’t go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the ending.” Thought provoking and encouraging words with which to start a new year.

These words also fit with our current exhibition NOTORIOUS, a look at the colorful characters who helped shape the great state of Kansas. Several of the individuals highlighted in this exhibit impacted the history of our State. Women like Clarina Nichols laid the groundwork for women’s suffrage and hurled Kansas to the forefront of the national women’s rights movement. Nichols’ tenacity helped earn women constitutional rights such as child custody and property rights for married women. In 1867, other advocates such as Susan B. Anthony and Lucy Stone joined Nichols’ fight for women’s rights eventually earning them the right to vote in Kansas in 1912—seven years before the United States passed the 19th Amendment. After each setback and failure these women had to start where they were to change the ending.

Although controversial, John Brown, another individual highlighted in the NOTORIOUS exhibit, remains an important historical figure. Some considered Brown to be delusional, others thought he was a pawn of political extremism, but one would be hard pressed to question his leadership during the battles of Bleeding Kansas. Brown’s fierce abolitionism heighten the debate about slavery in the United States. No matter one’s thoughts on Brown himself, it would be hard to deny that he is the perfect epitome of “one person can make a difference.” Brown could not change the beginning, but he changed the ending for many.

The work of notable figures in Kansas history like Clarina Nichols and John Brown helped shape the great State of Kansas. It is important for today’s citizens to fight the good fights, correct the wrongs, and prepare for tomorrow. We understand we cannot change the beginning, but we believe we can change the ending. The NOTORIOUS exhibit is not only historical, but it is also inspirational. Reviewing the past pushes one to consider the future. Remembering those that made positive contributions to Kansas reminds us that profound change does not just happen. These folks were purpose driven and intentional in their actions.

NOTORIOUS and Carol Bales’ Santa Collection, will remain on view through January 28, 2024. Keep up to date with Museum happenings by following the Museum Facebook page. The Museum is open Mon. through Fri. 9-12 and 1-4; Sat. 9-12 & 1-5; Sun. and holidays 1-5. We are closed Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day. We are handicapped accessible, and admission is always free thanks to the generous support of the Dane G. Hansen Foundation. For more information or if you have questions, please contact us at 785-689-4846. We hope to see you at the Museum!