Tuesday, January 25, 2011
'History's Mysteries' offers fun night of discovery
By ANNE KAZMIERCZAK
“History’s Mysteries,” one of a week’s worth of events celebrating Kansas’ 150th anniversary of statehood, will be an unscripted show-and-tell featuring artifacts from the Allen County Historical Society museum’s collection as well as those brought in by audience members.
“If people have something they can’t ID, they should bring it,” to the 7 p.m. Tuesday show, said Society Director Jeff Kluever.
“Ive found that between myself, board members, ACHS members and event attendees, we can usually figure it out,” he said of objects unknown.
Many of the museum’s contributions to the evening will be photographs, Kluever said, with people or places yet to be identified.
“History’s Mysteries” will be similar to other show-and-tells the museum has hosted in he past, Kluever said.
“People like those, and we get more attendance than at almost anything else we do,” he said of the interactive program.
One mystery Kluever uncovered while searching for artifacts for the event was a pile of land grant certificates, he said. “I found 10 signed by Abraham Lincoln and five signed by President (Ulysses S.) Grant.”
Further research, however, led Kluever to “learn that after President (Andrew) Jackson,” who held office from 1829-1837, “the president’s secretaries were allowed to sign” such deeds. After comparing the signatures to known examples of the presidents in question, Kluever decided all of Allen County’s collection “were signed by secretaries.”
A puzzle still unsolved, he said, was why a pre-1910 British bayonet was stowed in a well in Moran.
The sword was brought in by a woman one day, Kluever said, who did not know what it was. After some investigation, they tracked down its approximate date and country of origin, but were never able to figure why and how it had gotten to Moran — or the well, he said.
“No one she knew had been there and no one knew who put it there,” Kluever said.
That’s the sort of example of objects perfect for Tuesday night, Kluever said. Anyone with any artifact — origins known or unknown — is welcome.
And don’t be intimidated, Kluever said. The evening will be “very informal.” Kluever said. “People don’t have to have a formal presentation planned.”
All they have to do is show up.
Even those without objects are welcome to attend, for the pure joy of sharing in discovery, Kluever said.
The show-and-learn begins at 7 p.m. at the Allen County Historical Society Museum, ADDRESS?
The mysteries are up to you.