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Museum After Hours

Museum After Hours

Join us for our special Museum After Hours program series, 6:30 p.m. Fridays.  The program is free. Admission to the museum is half-price from 5 to 6:30 p.m.; the Museum Store is open until 6:30 p.m.

December 14, 2018 - "Mr. Polk's War: War Experiences in Mexico & the U.S., 1846-1848"

When he assumed office in 1845, James K. Polk was a man on a mission. His goal was territorial expansion or, as he put it in his inaugural address, the extension “of peace over additional territories and increasing millions.” President Polk vigorously pursued his territorial ambitions in the present-day American Southwest and Northwest, peacefully when he could, but through military means when necessary. As a result, Polk added more territory to the national domain than any other President. He also led the nation to victory in a war with Mexico from 1846-1848. Presented by Dr. Greg Hospodor from the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth.

January 11, 2019 - "Hidden History of Kansas"

Kansas' storied past is filled with fascinating firsts, humorous coincidences and intriguing characters. A man who had survived a murderous proslavery massacre in 1858 hanged his would-be executioner five years later. A wealthy Frenchman utilized his utopian ideals to create an award-winning silk-producing commune in Franklin County. A young boy's amputated arm led to the rise of Sprint Corporation. The first victim of the doomed Donner Party met her end in Kansas. In 1947, a housewife in Johnson County, indignant at the poor condition of the local school for black children, sparked school desegregation nationwide. Author and historian Adrian Zink digs deep into the Sunflower State's history to reveal these hidden and overlooked stories.

February 8, 2019 - "B-29s and the Battle of Kansas"

The B-29 was the single biggest expense for the United States during World War II and the most advanced airplane of its time. Boeing workers in Wichita built, and modified for combat, 175 of the highly complex bombers in March 1943.  Within a span of four weeks the U.S. deployed the bombers against Japan in the spring of 1943.  This difficult and multifaceted endeavor became known as “The Battle of Kansas.”  Presented by Dr. John Curatola from the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth.

March 8, 2019 - "The Naval War in Vietnam"

Explore the U.S. Navy’s operations in support of the conflict in Vietnam from the Gulf of Tonkin “incident” to the Navy’s role in the final frantic evacuation in 1975. Examination of the little known maritime operations such as “Market Time” and “Sealord” will highlight the advantages, not fully appreciated, that fighting in Vietnam gained by the U.S. having de facto command of the air and sea in the extensive coastal waters of the theater. Presented by Dr. John Kuehn from the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth.

April 12, 2019 - "Philip Billard - A Life of Adventure"

Philip Billard, after whom Topeka's Municipal Airport is named, was a man who raced through life - who transitioned from a wild teenager to a war hero and who gave his life for France, his family's homeland, and the United States. Doug Wright shares stories about Billard's flying skills and his adventurous spirit.

May 10, 2019 - “The Chisholm Trail: Joseph McCoy’s Great Gamble”

One hundred fifty years ago the McCoy brothers bet their fortunes on Abilene, Kansas, then just a slapdash way station. Instead of an endless horizon of prairie grasses, they saw a bustling outlet for hundreds of thousands of Texas Longhorns coming up the Chisholm Trail—and the youngest brother, Joseph, saw how a middleman could become wealthy in the process. This is the story of how that gamble paid off, transforming the cattle trade and, with it, the American landscape and diet.  Joseph McCoy’s enterprise forged links between cattlemen, entrepreneurs, and restaurateurs; between ecology, disease, and technology; and between local, national, and international markets. Discover how a gamble made in the face of uncontrollable natural factors indelibly changed the environment, reshaped the Kansas prairie into the nation’s stockyard, and transformed Plains Indian hunting grounds into the hub of a domestic farm culture. Dr. James Sherow is a Professor of History at Kansas State University.

June 14, 2019 - "The Forgotten Home Front"

Often called the “Forgotten War,” the Korean War was, in fact, the ignored war. It was ignored not because Americans did not care, but because they cared too much about the threat posed by Communism and the Soviet Union.  Examine the Korean War home front in context of America’s fear of Soviet Communism and the possibility of nuclear annihilation. Presented by Dr. Janet Valentine from the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth.