Archive for Thursday, July 6, 2006

Exaggerated Kansas’ on display at Basehor Community Library

July 6, 2006

In Kansas in the late 1800s, the ears of corn were so huge, the farmers had to climb up the stalks and use a saw to cut them down -- or so the drawing indicates.

"Exaggerated Kansas" is now on display at the Basehor Community Library through the month of July. It shows the different ways brochures and travel guides lured early European-American settlers to Kansas in the 1800s.

The promise of rich soil and abundant crops gave way to drought and grasshoppers once people settled into their new farms in Kansas. The unknown difficulties the early settlers faced sparked the idea for tall tale postcards, which poked fun at the exaggerations and allowed Kansans to "smile at hardship."

Mary Ellen Balard and her grandson, Vince Balard, 6, stopped to take a look at the exhibit Monday morning.

"Look at that corn," Mary Ellen said pointing out the picture to Vince. "Do you really think they grow that big?"

Jenne Laytham, assistant director, said the library has not housed an exhibit for several years because of space limitations.

"This one sounded like fun," she said. "We now have room to do it."

The Kansas Interpretive Traveling Exhibit Service (KITES) through the Kansas Historical Society of Topeka makes these types of exhibits available to different organizations in Kansas. Laytham said she looked at the Web site www.kshs.org/exhibits/traveling/index.htm to choose and book an exhibit.

"We thought people and the kids here for summer reading would enjoy this one," she said.

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