Free noon and evening programs to resume at Finney County Museum Jan. 13

Meghan Flynn
Garden City Telegram
Jane Holwerda leads a discussion about the suffrage movement Oct. 20 at the Finney County Museum during an Evening at the Museum session. The program was titled "The 19th Amendment at 100." Holwerda is Dodge City Community College's vice president of academic affairs. The museum will be starting its 2021 noon and evening programs in January.

The Finney County Historical Society and Museum's free evening and noon-hour history programs will resume Jan. 13.

The noon programs are held the second Wednesday of each month, and the evening programs are held on the third Tuesday.

Each will be held in the Mary Regan Conference Room at the museum with access via the north entrance.

Steve Quakenbush, executive director of the Finney County Historical Society and Museum, said the 2021 winter-spring session will run from January through April, and like the fall 2020 session will have COVID-19 precautions in place.

The restrictions include a maximum of 40 people can attend each event, spaced out seating for social distancing and unlike sessions before the pandemic, people are not allowed to bring their lunch for the noon programs or dinner for the evening programs.

Face masks are also required this session, Quakenbush said. They were not required during the fall session.

"For the fall programs there was no city or county mask requirement in place, so we were encouraging masks and providing free masks and most people were very good about coming and wearing mask but not everyone did because they didn’t have to," he said. "Now with both city and county ordinances in place we’re requiring masks and we’re going to continue to provide free masks for anyone that doesn’t have one at the time they come."

Programs are sponsored by the Southern Council of the AT&T Pioneers and include:

• "1921: The Year That Was" at noon Jan. 13 and 7 p.m. Jan. 19.

• "Calkins Hall and Sabine Hall" at noon Feb. 10 and 7 p.m. Feb. 16.

• "Influenza 1918," set for noon March 10 and 7 p.m. March 16.

• "The 200th Anniversary of the Santa Fe Trail," at noon April 14 and 7 p.m. April 20.

Museum education coordinator Johnetta Hebrlee will present the 1921 segments, which will focus on the events and developments of 100 years ago.

Hebrlee is planning to share pictures and information about everything from baseball and racial violence in Oklahoma to Irish independence and the Tomb of the Unknown Solider created after World War I, with parallels to Finney County history of the same period.

The two February programs are a reprise of an earlier presentation by Hebrlee, with photos and additional details about the two substantial early 20th century structures on Garden City’s Buffalo Jones Avenue that originally served as home to Garden City High School and later Garden City Community College. Sabine Hall, still in use as Sabine Apartments, stands at Eighth and Buffalo Jones; while Calkins Hall, demolished in 1979-80, was located just to the west.

The March noon and evening programs should offer an insight on an earlier pandemic that struck Kansas and the nation, when severe influenza swept the globe in 1918-19. 

Both events will include a 60-minute PBS documentary that originally aired in 1998 as part of the American Experience series and features historic photographs and film footage about the health crisis that killed 650,000 Americans, as well as millions of victims around the world, more than a century ago.

The two presentations in April will mark the two-century anniversary of the Santa Fe Trail, which opened in 1821, linking the American frontier with what was then the Spanish colony of Santa Fe in present-day New Mexico.

Linda Peters will present the April 14 program. Peters leads the area chapter of the Santa Fe Trail Association and serves as a Kearny County Historical Society board officer.

The April 20 session will be given by Leo E. Oliva, an author whose work concentrates on the U.S. Army in the 1800s, Native Americans and related topics, including the well-known trail. The retired collegiate history professor lives in Rooks County and owns Western Books Publishing Company.

While Quakenbush feels that all the programs are exciting and will help people learn about local and area history, he is particularly excited about the Santa Fe Trail presentations as 2021 is its 200-year anniversary and because it was "one of the most important tails from the standpoint of trade and later settlement in the central and western part of the U.S. ... and the trail actually ran right through Garden City."

All 2021 FCHS event scheduling is subject to adjustment due to conditions, precautions and regulations tied to COVID-19.