Museum introduces exhibit of Dust Bowl photographs
If you think it’s hot and dry in Kansas now, just imagine what it would have been like during the 1930s when part of the country was gripped in the Dust Bowl.
And if you don’t want to imagine it, you can come see photographs from the era this August at the Basehor Historical Museum, 2812 N. 155th St.
“I think it’s just so hard to think of what these people went through,” Carla Crawford, the museum’s director said about the Kansas residents in the Dust Bowl.
The photographs are part of the Kansas State Historical Society’s Kansas Interpretive Traveling Exhibits Service. The exhibit, called “Dust Bowl in Kansas,” is sponsored by Kramer and Associates, CPAs, L.L.C.
The exhibit features many photographs of life in southwest Kansas between 1935 and 1938, when the Dust Bowl was at its highest levels.
The state historical society said the dustbowl occurred when the “fine topsoil became powdery dry, and the vegetation that usually held it in place grew sparsely. Strong winds raised dust into billowing clouds and dumped it in drifts across the Plains.”
There are many startling photos of great dust clouds hundreds of feet tall and wide, which are on the verge of engulfing homes or entire cities.
Tony Kramer, owner of Kramer and Associates, thinks these are some of the most compelling photos in the exhibit.
“The dust was really fine,” Kramer said. “Women would put clothes around windows to keep the dust from getting into the house but it would still find a way in. Many babies in that time would get dust pneumonia and many animals would die because that is all they could breathe.”
The exhibit also features photos of what Kansans did to cope with the dust, even if it meant putting on a special dust mask when they went out for a night on the town.
The exhibit will be on display at the museum through the rest of the month.
The next exhibit, “From Far Away Russia: Russian Germans in Kansas,” will be on display starting Sept. 2. This exhibit will be sponsored by former Basehor Mayor Chris Garcia and his wife.
The museum’s business hours are 9 a.m. to noon Tuesdays, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Thursdays and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays.
For more information, call the museum at (913) 724-4022, or e-mail email@example.com.