The Douglas County Heritage Conservation Council (HCC) will host a two-day conference on local history, heritage and preservation efforts, featuring a diverse group of speakers and tours of historic landmarks.
“Trails, Tales and Structures: The Stories of Douglas County Heritage,” slated for June 24-25 in Baldwin City, is free to attend and open to the public. Those interested in attending should register at this link.
“The conference hopes to bring together people from Douglas County to showcase some really amazing sites and heritage,” HCC Chair Amy Van de Riet said in a news release from the county.
On Friday, June 24, attendees will visit each of the three landmarks, including Black Jack Battlefield and Nature Park, Santa Fe Trail, and Prairie City Cemetery on rotating site tours. The day will conclude with a social hour and refreshments at the Lumberyard Arts Center in downtown Baldwin City. Buses will be available for transportation to and from the tour sites.
Everyone will then gather Saturday in Rice Auditorium at Baker University to hear from a diverse group of panelists, some of whom are leaders of grassroots organizations that have received a Natural and Cultural Heritage grant from the HCC.
Among the scheduled panelists and their respective topics are the following:
• Rep. Christina Haswood will discuss the importance of heritage preservation.
• Alex Kimball Williams, co-founder of B.L.A.C.K. (Black Literature and Arts Collective of Kansas) Lawrence, will speak about recording oral histories.
• Stan Hernly is the owner of Hernly Associates, Inc., an architectural design firm in downtown Lawrence. Hernly will speak about the use of tax credits in preservation projects.
• Araceli Masterson, of Somos Lawrence — an organization that aims to make community resources more accessible to people who speak Spanish — will discuss the role of immigrant communities in the building of Douglas County heritage.
• Jancita Warrington is an artist, dancer, singer and historian, and she provides Indigenous consulting services to the community. Warrington will share information about archival research and the experiences of Haskell Indian Nations University’s first students.
• Kelly Kindscher, co-founder of nonprofit land preservation organization Kansas Land Trust, will discuss conserving Douglas County’s natural heritage and open spaces.
• Jay Johnson, director of the Center for Indigenous Science, Research, and Technology at KU, will highlight the reparative approach to returning Iⁿ ‘zhúje ‘waxóbe (the Sacred Red Rock) to the Kaw Nation.
Kaitlin Stanley, Douglas County heritage coordinator, shared her excitement about the diversity of the group of panelists and their abilities to share important, underrepresented stories.
“The lineup for speakers is really dynamic and they cover a broad range of experiences and knowledge. I’m looking forward to hearing from a variety of perspectives about preservation practices,” Stanley said in the release.
In addition to panel discussions, ongoing interactive sessions will be available during breaks throughout the day Saturday. There will be short films and audio stories about heritage playing at the Lumberyard Arts Center and Baldwin City Chamber of Commerce in addition to a limestone carving demonstration on Baker University’s campus.
HHC is collaborating with the Lumberyard Arts Center, the Baldwin City Chamber of Commerce, Lawrence Preservation Alliance, and Baldwin City to host this conference, which is being partially funded by a 2022 Historic Preservation Fund grant from the Kansas State Historic Preservation Office.
Further details on the preservation conference can be found at this link. Registration is required to reserve bus spots for the tours and attend other events. Registration is available at this link or by calling 785-727-8750 for assistance or questions.
More information on the HCC can be found at this link.