With the Mary Ice, Trustee

By Freedom's Frontier

NEWS — JUN 6, 2024

FFNHA: What is your professional background?

Mary Ice: I have a bachelor’s degree in Family and Consumer Science Education and a master’s degree in Adult Education from Kansas State University. My husband’s career was with BNSF Railway which involved many moves while our children were young. I spent countless hours volunteering in various organizations that I felt bettered schools or the lives of others. As a child, I lived in Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma. As an adult, Illinois and Texas have been added to the list.

In which state and county are you located?

My husband and I have retired to the beautiful Flint Hills of Kansas and reside in Manhattan, in Riley County.

How long have you been a trustee?

I have been a Trustee since 2021.

Why are you a trustee?

I became a Trustee of Freedom’s Frontier because our organization supports many small museums in addition to those in larger cities. Having spent much of my childhood living in Baxter Springs, I recognize the difference tourism makes in smaller communities. There are many great stories and in many of the smaller communities, local people are there to tell very interesting things about their home town’s past.

What is the best thing about FFNHA?

Freedom’s Frontier offers the opportunity to form a network of historians, museum directors and others who are passionate about sharing the history of our area. FFNHA offers support and connection to many museums in our area. Our organization can provide a network for smaller museums to receive support and recognition. What we learn from the past can provide a brighter future. We must not forget the struggle for freedom continues.

What future FFNHA event or initiative are you most excited about?

I am very excited about the 150th birthday or semiquincentennial of the United States. FFNHA is beginning to plan ways to celebrate this historic milestone and tell the story of the ways our part of the country was the beginning of the Civil War.

What is the last historic site you visited?

Most recently, I visited Fort Scott National Historic Site. The fort was established in the 1840’s and deactivated in the 1850’s. During the time of Bleeding Kansas, pro-slavery and anti-slavery groups occupied hotels at opposite ends of the former fort and soldiers were often sent there to keep the peace.

What is the last book you read?

Most recently, I have been reading Nothing to Tell: Extraordinary Stories of Montana Ranch Women. It is a compilation of oral histories of women who were ranch wives in the early part of the twentieth century. I have an interest in the way our ancestors lived and because some of my family homesteaded in the Nebraska panhandle, I thought this would be a book worth reading.

Freedom’s Frontier National Heritage Area (FFNHA) builds awareness of struggles for freedom in western Missouri and eastern Kansas. Established by Congress in 2006, FFNHA covers a unique physical and cultural landscape across 41 counties and 31,000 square miles. It promotes three diverse, interwoven, and nationally significant stories: frontier settlement, the Missouri-Kansas Border War and Civil War, and enduring civil rights disputes. FFNHA inspires respect for multiple perspectives and empowers area residents to preserve and share these stories, achieving its goals through interpretation, preservation, conservation, and education for all residents and visitors. It is one of 62 federally recognized National Heritage Areas across the United States.