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Meet Kansas Territorial Characters

Guided tour — Constitution Hall State Historic Site, Lecompton

Grades — 7th-8th

Your students will travel back in time to meet some of the "Territorial Characters" of the Kansas territorial period. This unique hands-on learning experience allows students to become reporters for a frontier newspaper.  They will read primary sources documents and see a live performance featuring reenactors portraying famous Kansans of the territorial days. The young reporters then will have the opportunity to interview the actors who will remain "in character" after the performance ends. As an end result of the guided tour students will write articles for the frontier newspaper.


The one-hour performance portion of the tour is set in an 1850s Kansas territorial political town hall meeting. Actors from the Lecompton troupe will portray some of the famous Kansans from that turbulent time period known as "Bleeding Kansas" Join Charles Robinson, Sara Robinson, James Lane, John Brown, Clarina Nichols, Samuel Jones, David Atchison, and Andrew Reeder as they passionately express their feelings on the issue of slavery in Kansas, both pro and con. The program also includes a visit to Constitution Hall State Historic Site.


This tour addresses grade specific standards and provides pre- and post-visit material to help teachers fulfill those standards. Included in the pre-visit materials is the Read Kansas! lesson Territorial Characters.

Standards addressed:

Correspondent's Notebook

Kansas History, Government and Social Studies Standards:

Standard #3: Societies are shaped by beliefs, ideas, and diversity.

  • 3.1: The students will recognize and evaluate significant beliefs, contributions, and ideas of the many diverse peoples and groups and their impact on individuals, communities, states, and nations.
  • 3.2: The students will draw conclusions about significant beliefs, contributions, and ideas, analyzing the origins and context under which these competing ideas were reached and the multiple perspectives from which they come.

Kansas College and Career Ready Standards:

  • RH.6-8.2:  The students will determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary of the source distinct from prior knowledge or opinions.
  • RH.6-8.6:  The students will identify aspects of a text that reveal an author's point of view or purpose (e.g., loaded language, inclusion or avoidance of particular facts).
  • SL.7.1: The students will engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 7 topics, texts, and issues, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly.
  • SL.7.3: The students will delineate a speaker's argument and specific claims, evaluating the soundness of the reasoning and the relevance and sufficiency of the evidence.
  • WHST.6-8.4: The students will produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.

Download PDF with tour information

Cost per student is $6 (including general admission.) One adult enters free for every 10 students.  Additional adults pay the student rate.

Length of tour: approximately 1.5 - 2.5 hours for the performance, student interviews of the territorial characters, and visits to Constitution Hall State Historic Site and the Lane Museum.

Number of students in a group: For the best experience, we recommend no more than 80 students for the performance and guided tours.

Registration and scheduling: Contact site administrator, 785-887-6520; Constitution Hall. Tours must be scheduled at least two weeks in advance.