Under the auspices of the Kansas Historical Society, the Kansas Museum of History, winner of the American Association for State and Local History award, enlightens guests with a culturally rich reservoir of exhibitions showcasing the Wheat State's triumphs and tribulations. Revel in Kansas's 150th year of statehood with a peek at the motif-centered "150 Things I Love About Kansas", which pulls Kansan allegories and clichés from The Wizard of Oz to national breadbasket status out of context for examination as a whole. Ongoing exhibits highlight the Native American influence with a Cheyenne tepee, the hardship of westward movement through a covered wagon, and the wonder of 21st-century science with a cryogenically frozen Jayhawks mascot. Young children hop back in time at the fully interactive Discovery Place, primed with frontier dress-up ensembles and a locomotive ready to be commandeered.
• Friday, July 8 at 7:30 p.m. • Saturday, July 9 at 7:30 p.m. • Sunday, July 10 at 2 p.m. • Friday, July 15 at 7:30 p.m. • Saturday, July 16 at 7:30 p.m. • Sunday, July 17 at 2 p.m. • Friday, July 22 at 7:30 p.m. • Saturday, July 23 at 7:30 p.m. • Sunday, July 24 at 2 p.m.
The purveyors of literary pleasure at Signs of Life enable learning and leisure through an expansive collection of printed-word wares, delectable café snacks, and local art pieces. Dabble in fiction with Fyodor Dostoevsky's classic novel, Crime and Punishment ($5.99), or acclimate yourself with American history by reading David McCullough's 1776, a riveting account of how George Washington led almost 2,000 men into battle to defeat the Duke Blue Devils on a last-second three-pointer by Paul Revere ($14.99, paperback). Ecclesiastically curious guests can peruse one of many theologic selections, such as Augustine for Armchair Theologians by Stephen Cooper ($13.99), while sipping a tasty bean-based beverage at Signs of Life’s convivial café. For even more aesthetic enjoyment, art-magnets can scurry over to Signs of Life’s adjoining art gallery, featuring the work of more than a dozen local and national artists in a charming space.
Part of the Biodiversity Institute, whose collection includes 8 million plant and animal specimens and 1.2 million archeological artifacts, the KU Natural History Museum inflates the brains of fact-seeking visitors with the help of diverse exhibits and regular programming. Permanent installations include a bird’s-eye view of scientific evolutionary research in Explore Evolution, as well as a glimpse at insect behavior in Bugtown, in which live specimens go about their six-legged business safe from their most dangerous natural predators, flyswatters. Considered one of the museum's strengths, the North America exhibit doles out multiple floors of dioramic re-creations of American wildlife from wolves to mountain goats, sure to please taxidermists of all ages. Featured through spring of 2012, Evolve! Adapt to Survive displays regional artists' depictions of a famed Charles Darwin quote in the Stairwell Gallery.