The exhibit will explore some of the many service industries in which Harvey County citizens have worked since the county was formed through current day. Focus areas include the evolution of serving meals (cafés to drive-ins, then on to fast food), laundry services, firefighting, funeral homes and livery stables, among other areas. Photos, advertisements and advertising memorabilia, artifacts and personal stories will bring past and present service jobs to life, and illustrate both the continuity of and changes in service professions.
The Way We Worked: Serving Harvey County is a Partner Site exhibit to the nationally-touring Smithsonian Exhibit The Way We Worked. The HCHM exhibit, funded in part by the Kansas Humanities Council, opened September 8, 2012, coinciding with the opening of the Smithsonian exhibit at the Coronado-Quivira Museum in Lyons. Further information is available at www.kansashumanities.org.
When Woodrow Wilson declared war on April 6, 1917, there was an immediate effect in south central Kansas. Communities dealt with conflicting understandings of what it meant to be an American and how to express patriotism. South central Kansas and especially Harvey County experienced some of the worst tensions in the state. With the declaration of war, anything Germanic became suspect, and Kansans, many with a German heritage, keenly felt the demands of loyalty.
Caught in the national politics were Harvey County families. Our new exhibit Harvey County on the Homefront will highlight life in Kansas during the fall and winter of 1918. A collection of letters from the HCHM archives follows a Kansas soldier in France and his sweetheart in Harvey County. Day to day concerns about life in Harvey County in the fall and winter of 1918, such as the influenza epidemic and extreme loneliness due to impassable winter roads, are expressed in the letters and further illustrated by local newspaper accounts, photographs, objects and reproductions.
One storyline of the Homefront exhibit illustrates the history of the Liberty Bond Drives that were started to finance the war. These drives were overseen at the local level to increase participation in Newton and Harvey County. The Loyalty League was founded to insure that Harvey County was “100% Loyal” and that everyone contributed to the drives. Another exhibit focus will be on the Newton Chapter of the Red Cross, which opened a Canteen in Newton in 1918 to provide services for the soldiers traveling through on trains. Work at the Canteen became an important way for women to show their support of the war effort.
Harvey County on the Homefront also examines contrasting ideas of patriotism and encourages thoughtful examination of these concepts. The exhibit will remain open through 2013.