Newspapers

Johnson County Museum, Kansas

August - October 2007

 PreviousComments.html
    NextSuccess_by_6.html
   HomeHome.html
The StoryThe_Story.html
Notebooks &
Special VisitsNotebooks_%26_Special_Visits.html
Video, Bio,
HonorsAudio_Video.html
DVDDVD_Album/DVD_Album.html
National
TourNational_Tour_%26_Travels.html
Children’s
FunChildrens_Fun.html
SchoolhouseSchoolhouse_Pages.html
Parent
TeacherParent_and_Teacher.html
LinksLinks_and_Good_Read.html
 
  1.     Shawnee Dispatch


August 21, 2007


The Johnson County Museum is the location for the national debut of the exhibit “Growing Seasons, An American Farm Family at the Beginning of the Twentieth Century.”

The exhibition, curated by Carolyn Splear Pratt, will be on view from Saturday, Aug. 25, through Oct. 21 at the museum, 6305 Lackman Rd.

Life on an early 1900s farm was defined by each turn of the seasons, at a time when rural residents still represented over half of the U.S. population and horses provided the power to work the land.

Today 50 percent of the population lives in suburban areas and the automobile dominates transportation modes. But in the early 1900s in rural America, nearly everything was done by hand, in the fields, around the farmyard and within the house. Everyday living was without electricity, central heating, refrigeration, running water or indoor plumbing.

The Growing Seasons educational exhibit is a slice of American history, depicting a distant-but-familiar social experience. The text, casein paintings, pen-and-ink vignettes and artifacts relate to the seasons of the farm year, through the experiences of a family during the early years of the new century.

Author Elsie Lee Splear (1906-1996) and artist Ken Stark (b. 1943) collaborated to relate those events of everyday life, when work well done brought its own reward. The true story chronicles the past, from a child’s view through an adult narrator, who gives a perspective of time.

Stark’s use of casein paintings echoes how farmers created handmade, milk-based paint for their houses and barns. Casein is a milk-based product that forms a strong glue when mixed with an alkali such as lime, borax, or ammonia. It is used as the base for paints.

The traveling exhibit, developed by Smith Kramer Fine Arts Services of Kansas City, Mo., consists of 24 casein paintings, pen-and-ink vignettes, farm artifacts of the time and a 40-minute DVD.

Staff at the Johnson County Museum of History have added additional hands-on components for children to experience some of the chores and activities undertaken by young children in the early 1900s. Combined, the components enable visitors to experience a genuine place and time in rural America.

A teacher’s resource guide is also provided, to enhance the exhibition for students, and establish applications between the visual arts, history and literacy. The focus of the educational material is to learn about people and places in the past, as well as connect students with their own history through critical thinking and observation.

Complementary programming will include presentations Oct.2-5 by curator Carolyn Splear Pratt for elementary-age children. Schools interested in scheduling a visit should contact Erin Befort, the museum’s Curator of Education, at (913) 715-2570. Spaces are limited, and advance registration is required.

In addition, Story times for Pre-school age children will be offered at the Museum of History in conjunction with the Johnson County Library at 10 a.m. Wednesday, Sept. 19, and Wednesday, Oct. 17.

“Growing Seasons,” the award-winning nonfiction book upon which this exhibition is based, was named a Notable Book for Children by Smithsonian magazine and selected as a Teacher’s Choice by Reading Teacher of the International Reading Association. The School Library Journal gave Growing Seasons a starred review.

The educational Web site (www.growingseasons.com) has had visitors from more than 100 countries.

The text, paintings and vintage artifacts reveal how the seasons defined a hardworking farm family, whose children still found time for the joy of reading together while herding cows, during nighttime baths in front of the stove or by lamplight around the kitchen table.

The showing here at the Johnson County Museum of History is part of a national tour over a 2 1/2-year period.

For additional information, please contact the Museum at (913) 715-2550 or visit the museum’s Web site at www.jocomuseum.org.

  1.    Kansas City Star


August 21, 207


New museum exhibit recalls ‘Growing Seasons’

By LOREN STANTON

The Kansas City Star

The Johnson County Museum of History is playing host to the national debut of “Growing Seasons, An American Farm Family at the Beginning of the Twentieth Century.”


The exhibit will feature a combination of artwork, artifacts and hands-on activities dealing with life on an early 1900s farm. It will be on display Saturday through Oct. 21. Admission is free to the museum, 6305 Lackman Road, Shawnee.


Museum officials describe the exhibit as “a slice of American history, depicting a distant but familiar social experience.” That experience involved a world where, museum officials explain, “nearly everything was done by hand, in the fields, around the farmyard and within the house. Everyday living was without electricity, central heating, refrigeration, running water or indoor plumbing.”


The exhibition is based on Growing Seasons, an award-winning nonfiction book written by the late Elsie Lee Splear and featuring artwork by Ken Stark. It was named a Notable Book for Children by Smithsonian magazine. The curator for the exhibit is Splear’s daughter, Carolyn Splear Pratt.


The local showing is part of a national tour that will cover a 2 1/2 -year period.


The exhibit was developed by Smith Kramer Fine Arts Services of Kansas City. It consists of paintings, pen and ink vignettes, farm artifacts of the time and a 40-minute DVD. The staff at the Johnson County Museum has added hands-on components for children to experience some of the chores and activities undertaken by young children in the early 1900s.


A teacher’s resource guide is being provided on the exhibit. The focus of the material is to teach about people and places in the past, as well as connect students with history through critical thinking and observation.


When asked why the exhibit would be of particular value to young people, Kathy Daniels, the museum’s curator of collections and exhibits, said, “This is such a wonderful exhibition of the art and history of the time, and it gives children an idea of the experiences that inspired the book itself.


“Turn of the century means to me the 20th century, but kids are thinking the 21st century,” she added. “So this period really is beginning to recede.”


Complementary programming will include presentations by curator Pratt for elementary-age children. Schools interested in scheduling a group visit should contact Erin Befort, the museum’s curator of education, at 913-715-2570. Spaces are limited, and advance registration is required. In addition, story times for pre-school age children will be offered at the museum in conjunction with the Johnson County Library at 10 a.m. Sept. 19 and Oct. 17.


For others interested in more information, call 913-715-2550 or visit the museum’s website at www.jocomuseum.org .