Plan to attend -- Trails, Tales and Structures: The Stories of Douglas County Heritage

June 07, 2022


Preservation conference, June 24-25, offers opportunity to explore historic sites, learn about preservation and Douglas County heritage

Baldwin City, KS - The Douglas County Heritage Conservation Council (HCC) is hosting a preservation conference, “Trails, Tales and Structures: The Stories of Douglas County Heritage,” June 24-25 in Baldwin City. The conference will offer site tours of historic landmarks on the first day and then panel discussions and interactive sessions about heritage and preservation on the second day. The conference is free and open to the public. 

“There will be a variety of things happening at the conference from site tours to recording and sharing heritage stories. I like that we’ve included all types of preservation to really showcase the range of tools used to share the narrative of heritage,” HCC Chair Amy Van de Reit said. 

The conference begins at 10 a.m. June 24 with rotating site tours of Black Jack Battlefield & Nature Park, Santa Fe Trail and Prairie City Cemetery. Buses will depart from Sullivan Square in downtown Baldwin City at 10 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. Registration is required to reserve a spot on the tour. There will be a social hour at 4:30 p.m. at the Lumberyard Arts Center. 

On June 25, the conference starts at 9 a.m. at Baker University’s Rice Auditorium and includes a panel discussion, and sessions about: recording and sharing heritage stories, “DIY or Hire?” and a tax credit workshop. Among those scheduled to speak and their topics: 

  • State Rep. Christina Haswood, importance of heritage preservation
  • Alex Kimball Williams, of Black Literature & Arts Collective of Kansas (B.L.A.C.K.), recording oral histories 
  • Stan Hernly, local architect, use of tax credit in preservation projects
  • Araceli Masterson, of Somos Lawrence, role of immigrant communities in the making of Douglas County heritage 
  • Jancita Warrington, of Indigenous-KWE, archival research and ascending the voices of Haskell’s first students 
  • Kelly Kindscher, co-founder of the Kansas Land Trust, conserving Douglas County natural heritage and open spaces 
  • Jay Johnson, director of the Center for Indigenous Science, Research and Technology, documenting the reparative approach to returning the In ‘zhúje ‘waxóbe/Sacred Red Rock to the Kaw Nation 

“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,” Douglas County Heritage Coordinator Kaitlin Stanley said. 

A handful of the stories will be told by individuals from grassroots organizations who have received a HCC Natural & Cultural Heritage Grant. Stanley said many of these grant projects had set out to center stories that are often under-told. “I love that this conference is providing space for those underrepresented stories to be amplified and for Natural & Cultural Heritage Grant recipients to share their successes with the public,” she said. 

There also will be short films and audio stories on June 25 at the Lumberyard Arts Center and Baldwin City Chamber of Commerce as well as a limestone carving demonstration at the Ebright Courtyard at Baker University. 

“The conference hopes to bring together people from Douglas County to showcase some really amazing sites and heritage.” Van de Reit said. 

For more information or to register for this free conference, please visit: http://dgcoks.org/preservation2022

HCC is hosting the preservation conference in partnership with the Lumberyard Arts Center, Baldwin City Chamber of Commerce, Lawrence Preservation Alliance and Baldwin City. The conference is partially funded through a grant from the Kansas State Historic Preservation Office. 

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