Saturday, April 5, 2008

I'm a Sucker for a Cowboy on a Horse

I'm not a Civil War Re-enactor of any shape, form or type. As a scholar with an honest to God History degree, a real HISTORIAN (F-U, I earned it!), I had to promise the head of the History Department before I graduated that I would NEVER EVER, no matter what pressure I was put under, become (gasp) a Re-Enactor.

Yeah, Academics are snobbish, and for the most part, they're right when it comes to true history, but, if you live anywhere near the KS/MO border, do me a favor...learn the history that's around you.

For God's sakes, we were fighting the Civil War 10 years before Ft. Sumtner! Betcha didn't know that!

Do you know what a REAL Jayhawk is? Are you really such a fan? Yeah, you KU people still are, no matter what the orignial connotation means.

Google Col. Charles "Doc" Jennison, Grandaddy to all Jayhawks.

I threatened my KU-besotted ex-boss with telling his daughters what a REAL Jayhawk was, but I didn't...probably because I loved "The Sound of Music" and my mother ruined it with giving me the biography of the REAL Maria Von Trapp...don't read it if you don't want the Christopher Plummer/Julie Andrews dream to shatter.

Anyway....check out these guys. I think I know one or two from my historical ramblings 'round the city....pretty freakin' cool guys that keep the Border History alive...but then again, I'm a sucker for a "real" cowboy.

You know, if you're a Constant Reader, that I'm a part time Weekend Manager of a local museum. It never ceases to amaze me of the look on people's faces as they learn about the history that happened right here in KC (And Lawrence, and Centralia, and Lone Jack and Boonville). Missouri Bushwackers! Jesse James, Cole Younger, Wild Bill Anderson and William Quantrill.

To know you're city's history, here's my (in no particular order to preserve my anonimity)top favorite museums:

1. John Wornall House. If you want a DETAILED account of the Border during the Civil War, this is your stop. It's even supposed to be haunted. (Bonus!)

2. Thomas Hart Benton House. I, as a tepid art lover, have NEVER been on such a cool tour. After his wife died in the 1970's, the state touched nothing and put strings up on the bookshelves and didn't even move the notes under the refrigerator magnets. If you want to see THB's studio, it's been untouched since the day he died. VERY AWESOME!

3. Strawberry Hill Museum. Incredibly immigrant art, devotion to culture. As my great-grandparents settled in KC in the 1880's-1900's, KCK was much different from today. VERY COOL example of community keeping their heritage alive in a non-academic setting.

4. Harry S. Truman House and Museum in Independence. Go to both. You won't regret it. He's the most incredible President. Go. No discussion.

5. Steamboat Arabia. Most expensive museum in town (I think). I hated how the guys who dug up the boat said, "We're not historians, we're just a bunch of blue collar guys trying to go on a treasure hunt". TURNED ME OFF! Yes it's cool that they preserve things right in front of visitors' eyes, but since 90% of their artifacts are on display, they're going to be damaged in time. But...still cool to see the spoils of a wrecked steamboat ala Tom Sawyer.

4 comments:

meesha.v said...

Very cool. By the way Von Trapps are in town 4/18

MoxieMamaKC said...

Rock on! Thanks for the VonTrapp tip. I've got to see if they still have tickets available (and if there is any way under the sun I can drag my husband there)!

Thanks,
Moxie

DLC said...

Sweet. I did the 1950's electric house in Shawnee.

DLC said...

Uh, I mean it DIG it.