Deborah C. Barker
Kansas Historical Foundation
Board of Directors
Elected to board: 2004
Elected to executive committee: 2005
Deborah Barker lives in Ottawa; she is a fifth-generation Kansan. She received a bachelor’s degree in American studies and anthropology from the University of Colorado. She earned a master’s degree in art history from the University of Kansas. She completed post-graduate work toward a Ph.D. in art history.
Barker founded and incorporated the Ottawa Community Arts Council. She obtained grants to create onsite exhibits, traveling exhibits, and program for all ages.
In 1991 Barker was appointed director of the Franklin County Historical Society in Ottawa. There she was successful in attracting grants for improvements and sought museum accreditation. She has researched and created education materials, tours, classes, workshops, and seminars on topics related to the county’s history. She led the effort for an overall exhibit plan and new exhibits at the museum.
Barker has been involved in a number of cultural and community organizations including the Franklin County Convention & Tourism Bureau, Franklin County Courthouse centennial, Freedom’s Frontier National Heritage Area, Ottawa’s 125th anniversary, Ottawa Main Street Association, Santa Fe Trail Council of Girl Scouts, and Territorial Kansas Heritage Alliance.
Barker was first elected to the Kansas Historical Foundation Board of Directors in 2004. She served as president in 2015 and currently serves on the executive committee. She has authored articles and books on a variety of topics including Images of America: Ottawa and The Feast of Franklin County.
"Being a Kansan has always been a point of pride for me. My Quaker ancestors have given my family a determination to be educated, to have a great work ethic, and to have a progressive spirit sorely needed occasionally in the tumult of Kansas politics."