4th Graders' QR Codes for Historic Lecompton Walking Tour Wins 2016 AASLH Award of Merit

Lecompton Historical Society News Release

Contact: Paul Bahnmaier, President of Lecompton Historical Society
640 E. Woodson, Lecompton, KS 66050

(785) 887-6148, lanemuseum@aol.com


Lynn Ward, Curator/Archivist
Territorial Capital Museum
Lecompton Historical Society
(785) 887-6148

4th Graders' QR Codes for Historic Lecompton Walking Tour Wins 2016 AASLH Award of Merit

LECOMPTON, KS and NASHVILLE, TN: August 2016 - The American Association for State and Local History (AASLH) proudly announces that Sandy Gantz, 4th grade teacher in the Perry-Lecompton USD 343 School District, along with her school colleagues, and the two museums in Lecompton — Constitution Hall and the Territorial Capital Museum — are the recipients of an Award of Merit for 4th Graders' QR Codes for Historic Lecompton Walking Tour, Lecompton, Kansas. The AASLH Leadership in History Awards, now in its 71st year, is the most prestigious recognition for achievement in the preservation and interpretation of state and local history.

From the days when Lecompton was the Capital of Kansas Territory, to the days when we had mysterious downtown fires and a bank robbery, this collaborative project not only invigorated interest in local history with our own kids but also with the public at-large through local news reports and social media. The 4th grade students now have a pride of their historic town that they didn’t have before. Visitors to our small town now have access to more information, even after hours!

4th grade teacher Sandy Gantz decided to have students do a research project to learn about our rich history in Lecompton, Kansas. She received a grant from Thrivent Life Insurance Company. She contacted the two museums in Lecompton. One museum, Constitution Hall, is operated by Kansas Historical Society. The other museum, the Territorial Capital Museum, is operated by the Lecompton Historical Society. Fifteen volunteers from the community were gathered to go to the school once a week for 6 weeks to help the kids do research on 15 different historic sites on the Walking Tour in Lecompton, Kansas. )See our Historic Lecompton Walking Tour).

Each volunteer was assigned to a group of about 3-4 students and they worked on researching one site together. At the beginning of the project, school buses took the students on a tour of the town with museum staff and volunteers providing the narration. The buses also took everyone (volunteers and students) to their historic site so that they could photograph and explore. The students with their community volunteers researched their historic site by interviewing locals, searching through period newspapers, and reading articles. The students produced short (1-3 minute) videos on the history of the site they were assigned. Students designed artwork in the shape of quilt blocks to identify their site, and put a QR code at each site so that visitors to the town could easily access the videos with their smartphones. The QR codes with the students' videos have been incorporated into the town's walking tour. The walking tour with a map and scavenger hunt was printed and distributed to local businesses. The grant Sandy received paid for the QR code signs and map printing.

The project debuted in 2015 during Territorial Days, the town’s yearly June celebration when residents and visitors come to Lecompton for a parade, reenactments, festivities, and food.

The winners of the AASLH award represent the best in the field and provide leadership for the future of state and local history. This year the only award presented in Kansas was to our Lecompton project. Presentation of the awards will be made at a special banquet during the 2016 AASLH/MMA Annual Meeting in Detroit, Michigan, on Friday, September 16. The banquet is supported by a generous contribution from the History Channel. Receiving the award for Lecompton will be Rev. Bob Dulin and his wife Alrutha of Detroit. Rev. Dulin is a life member of the Lecompton Historical Society and a 1959 graduate of the Lecompton High School. (See our website for more information: http://www.lecomptonkansas.com/national-award-for-community-history-project/.)

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