After six months of collaboration between fourth-grade students, local artists, and park rangers from across Kansas, six student-designed quilts depicting stories of the five National Park Service sites in Kansas will be unveiled at Fort Larned National Historic Site on May 28, 2010, with the next venue at the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve starting June 11, 2010.The quilts will then tour the five National Park Service sites of Kansas for the summer as a part of a traveling exhibit entitled: “Building Common Ground Through the Quilts of Many Hands.”The project engaged students with quilt guilds in the community, who shared and depicted the rich heritage preserved by the National Park Service through one of America’s most valued, iconic, and revered traditional crafts: quilting.
Park rangers from each of the five National Park Service sites in Kansas and local quilting guilds worked in worked together with the fourthgrade students. Students learned how stories are told through quilts in workshops.Each student then designed and fabricated a 12-inch quilt block with the assistance of local quilt guilds and park rangers. After visiting their local park site, students composed a one-page story or essay describing their quilt block and the story it represents. The blocks will depict a story relating to each school’s local park site. Once completed, the local guilds helped students tie the quilts together.The project was a collaboration between the five National Park Service units in Kansas, local elementary schools and quilting guilds within each park community and was funded in part by a National Park Foundation grant.
The exhibit will be displayed at the five National Park Service sites in Kansas on the following schedule:
Fort Larned National Historic Site: May 28 –June 9;
Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve: June 11 – June 23;
Fort Scott National Historic Site: June 25 – July 7;
Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site:
July 9 – July 21; Nicodemus National Historic Site: July 23 – August 4.
At each National Park Service site, visitors will be able to view the six quilts and read each student’s essay describing the untold park story depicted in their individual quilt block. Visitors will then be able to vote for their favorite quilt. All participating students will receive prizes; however, the quilt receiving the most votes will be awarded a grand prize and honored with a formal presentation at the winning school in September. Wendy Lauritzen, Superintendent at Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve commented, “It’s been a very rewarding journey for the children, the quilt guilds, special speakers, and our staff.Rarely have I seen a project that has energized so many from such a diverse background, ages, interests and professions.These quilts truly created a common ground of interaction and understanding. Our hope is for this journey to continue as more children and communities come together to share the art of quilting and storytelling that will pass on to others. The children created a rich tapestry of untold stories.I’m very proud of them all and I encourage everyone to come out to the preserve and see the quilts on display.”
Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve is located two miles north of Strong City on Kansas State Highway 177 (the Flint Hills National Scenic Byway).For more information or to make group reservations, visit the preserve’s website at www.nps.gov/tapr, email
or call the preserve at (620) 273-8494. Superintendent Wendy Lauritzen can be reached at the Cottonwood Falls office headquarters at 620-273-6034.