Events: anytime, any location, all ages

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Kansas mills, located literally in the breadbasket of America, produced an enormous quantity of flour in an era when women routinely baked their families’ bread at home. Mill owners used cotton flour sacks as advertising tools to proudly display their names, locations, and unique brands, as well as to catch the consumer’s eye. The empty sack also served as a needed piece of fabric during the Depression.

Avid collector Nancy Jo Leachman, a longtime reference librarian at the Salina Public Library, has accumulated more than 100 vintage flour sacks from the 1920s-1940s, representing more than 30 Kansas counties. Her illustrated lecture of the best and most colorful—nothing “run-of-the-mill” here—reveals how each sack carries a fascinating story, be it advancing nutritional information, expressing political views, or reflecting popular culture.


Tuesday, April 21, 2015

LaShonda Katrice Barnett’s debut novel—about a black female journalist escaping the early-1900s Jim Crow laws of the South and fighting injustice in Kansas City through her African American newspaper—has drawn praise from the Chicago Tribune, The Wall Street Journal, and Oprah Winfrey’s O magazine, among other publications.

The Kansas City-born author sits down with journalist Eric Wesson of the city’s own landmark African-American newspaper, The Call, for a public conversation about the elegantly written work of historical fiction, which gains resonance from today’s social discontent. Events in Jam on the Vine lead up to and include the Red Summer of 1919, when race riots broke out in a number of American cities.


Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Aristocratic and sophisticated, Edith Kermit Roosevelt, the wife of Theodore Roosevelt, ran the White House with a sure hand and figured prominently in how the institution of the first lady developed during the 20th century. But her reputation as a secular saint is misleading, says historian Lewis L. Gould, who points among other things to her virulent racism.

Gould, the Eugene C. Barker Centennial Professor Emeritus in American History at the University of Texas at Austin, discusses the complex subject of his book Edith Kermit Roosevelt: Creating the Modern First Lady.

The presentation is part of the Beyond the Gowns series, made possible by grants from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation to the Kansas City Public Library and the Truman Library Institute.


Tuesday, April 28, 2015

The ranch house became an integral part of the vocabulary of the U.S. housing market after World War II, when the demand for a single-family home reached record levels.

Today, there is a resurgence of interest in this modernistic, uniquely American architectural creation and a new generation of homebuyers is discovering its allure. Mary van Balgooy, a leading authority on the ranch house and biographer of influential architect and ranch house pioneer Cliff May, discusses the legendary builder, the ranch home’s influences and features, and the race to preserve it.


Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Granted, there are creative lone wolves out there. But history and social psychology tell us that success stems far more often from one-to-one collaboration. Think John Lennon and Paul McCartney, Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak.

Writer Joshua Wolf Shenk sits down with native Kansan and former colleague Robert Day to discuss the elements and impact of creative chemistry and Shenk’s new, science-backed book Powers of Two: Finding the Essence of Innovation in Creative Pairs.


Thursday, April 30, 2015

Stanford University’s Eric Hanushek puts the value of quality teaching in stark economic terms. Place even a slightly above-average teacher in front of a class of 20, and the resultant gain is more than $400,000 in future earnings over the earnings of students exposed to an average teacher. Replacing the bottom 5 to 8 percent of teachers with average instructors, he says, could lift the U.S. near the top of international math and science rankings.

Hanushek, the Paul and Jean Hanna Senior Fellow at Stanford’s Hoover Institution, discusses the economic value of effective teachers and the assertion that their impact is sufficiently large to make significant changes in how we evaluate and reward them.

Co-sponsored by the Show-Me Institute and the Sinquefield Charitable Foundation.


Sunday, May 3, 2015

Coterie Theatre artists read from favorite children's books, while young audience members enjoy an opportunity to “jump into the story” – adding their own improvisation. Dramatic Story Times take place one Sunday every month at 2 p.m. throughout the 2014-2015 school year, beginning October 5th, 2014.



May's Selection:
Take Me to Your BBQ by Kathy Duval

Appropriate for all ages.


Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Among our “greatest generation” was a succession of U.S. presidents who were informed and defined by World War II. Harry Truman, who oversaw the end of the war, credited his combat experience in World War I for his success in the Oval Office. Dwight Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, and George H.W. Bush all served in World War II.

Theodore A. Wilson, emeritus professor of history at the University of Kansas, examines the impact of their experiences and the fact that, today, the connection between wartime service and the presidency is severed. If it is within the crucible of combat that great leaders are made, will 21st-century commanders-in-chief have the “right stuff?”


Thursday, May 7, 2015

Tired of an unfulfilling life in Kansas City, Patrick Dobson left his job and set off on foot across the Great Plains. He arrived over two months later in Helena, Montana, then set a canoe on the Missouri River and asked the waters to carry him back home.

Dobson, who teaches American history and literature at Johnson County Community College, discusses his new book Canoeing the Great Plains: A Missouri River Summer and a journey undertaken nearly 20 years ago that proved to be transformative. Dobson learned to trust himself to the flows of the river and its stark, serenely beautiful countryside – and to a cast of characters he met along the way. They assisted the novice canoeist with portaging around dams and reservoirs, finding campsites, and other travel tasks, and they fueled his personal renewal.


Saturday, May 9, 2015

As a six-year-old child, local artist and gardener Dean Bracy observed what seemed like hundreds of monarch butterflies feeding on a butterfly bush and then roosting in a nearby tree. This fascinating experience began a life-long interest in butterflies for Dean — including painting them, raising them, growing host and nectar plants, studying Monarch migratory patterns and life cycles, and investigating causes for the dwindling butterfly population.