Category Archives: Gordon Parks Museum

Gordon Parks Museum Will Host 2024 Kansas Museums Assoc. Conference in 2024

Kirk Sharp is the director of the Gordon Parks Museum on the campus of Fort Scott Community College. Submitted photo

The Gordon Parks Museum is pleased to announce that Fort Scott, KS will be the host site for the 2024 Kansas Museums Association Conference. The Gordon Parks Museum will serve as the Member Host Organization and both The Fort Scott National Historic Site and The Lowell Milken Center will also serve as Additional Hosts.


Our host planning committee put together a competitive bid proposal. This three-day annual conference will attract 125-150 museum professionals from around the state of Kansas. The conference will provide breakout sessions and workshops with a wide range of topics and the latest trends in museums and preservation.


Jackson Tough, City of Fort Scott, Director of Public Relations & Tourism said, “The city of Fort Scott is thrilled that the Kansas Museums Association Conference chose our community. Being a part of that effort, I know a lot of groundwork was put forth by Kirk Sharp and the presentation committee. They worked on crafting a thorough proposal for several months (and wrote many drafts) that illustrate the many positive attributes that Fort Scott is known for. An event like the Kansas Museums Association Conference is a great opportunity to showcase our community.”


The conference breakout sessions will use several venues in Fort Scott such as: The Gordon Parks Museum, Ellis Fine Arts Center, and The River Room. Conference attendees will also go on tours and site visits at some of the attractions in the community to include the Fort Scott National Historic Site, Lowell Milken Center and many others. The tentative dates for the 3-day conference will be the first or second week of November in 2024.


Kirk Sharp, Director of the Gordon Parks Museum said, “We are very excited about this great opportunity to bring such large group of museum professionals from across the state to our town to not only show what we have to offer, but for them to shop, dine, stay and support our museums and other attractions in our community.”


For 53 years, the KMA Annual Conference has served as a focal point for its member institutions that range from Stanton County Museum in Johnson, Kansas to the Kansas Museum of History in Topeka. Officially formed in spring 1969 when its first organizational meeting was held in Abilene. The Kansas Museums Association offers numerous networking and professional development gatherings and opportunities across the state each year. The KMA is headquartered in Wichita.

Discovering Fort Scott’s Little Known Stories

Discovering Fort Scott’s Little Known Stories

Exploring the African American Experience


Fort Scott Kan. – Students from Fort Scott High School and Fort Scott Community College will be researching the little known and under told stories of progressive African Americans and leaders from the Fort Scott area.

Students will create audio recordings or videos to share these stories in their ‘voices’ through social media and short films hosted by the National Park Service, Gordon Parks Museum, and their schools.

Exhibits will be developed from their work.

The public is invited to the kickoff for this project on Monday, April 25, at the Ellis Fine Arts Center theater on the Fort Scott Community College campus at 10 a.m.

There will be a presentation by Robin Hickman Winfield, the great niece of Gordon Parks, and Eli Reed, an award-winning photographer, photojournalist, author, and the 2021 Choice of Weapons Award Recipient.

This project will continue through the end of the fall semester with the final media products and presentations.

Photography Meet & Greet Seminar April 27

Kirk Sharp is the director of the Gordon Parks Museum on the campus of Fort Scott Community College. Submitted photo

The Gordon Parks Museum will host a Photography Meet & Greet Seminar on Wednesday, April 27
at 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Come meet and greet Veretta Cobler, professional photographer, who will give a
presentation on working with film and digital photography.

Veretta has moved back home to Fort Scott after over four decades of living in New York City where she
maintained her fullyequipped commercial photography studio. Throughout her career she transitioned from
the classic photographic film and darkroom expertise to the complexity of today’s digital photography
technology. Her experience expands to studio lighting and graphics computer skills. She is looking forward to
sharing her knowledge in her home community.

This indepth seminar is designed for all levels of photographers from the beginner to the more

experienced. She is looking to help improve and enhance their shots.

While in New York City as a professional photographer, she worked in fine arts, fashion, portraiture, still life
and journalistic cultural study. Her fashion images were published in various U.S. magazines including Bride,
Modern Bride, Bridal Guide, Elegant Bride, Martha Stewart Living, The Knot, Seventeen, Prom, and New York
Magazine. Her New York clients now use her images for their social media accounts.

Veretta’s fine art photography has resulted in exhibitions and publications of her work throughout her career.
Published works include New York Underground (2004), a coffee table photography book depicting the
nightlife in New York City in the late 1970’s. She has recently completed a book about the life and teachings of
a Lakota spiritual man, and is in the process of seeking a publisher.

Her work can be viewed at her website at

Free registration is available at the Gordon Parks Museum, online or over the phone, at 6202232700 ext.

Shuttle Offered to KSU to View the Parks Exhibition

One-Day Shuttle Trip to view the Gordon Parks: “Homeward to the Prairie I Come” & Doug Barrett: Find Your Voice Exhibition

Fort Scott-The Gordon Parks Museum has scheduled a one-day shuttle trip, for April 13, 2022 to the Parks exhibition, in the Marion Pelton Gallery at the Marianna Kistler Beach Museum of Art featuring photographs donated by Parks to Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kansas, in 1973.

We will also view the Doug Barrett: Find Your Voice, in the Archie and Dorothy Hyle Family Gallery. Barrett exemplifies Parks’ influence on contemporary artists. Barrett is a Manhattan-based photographer who makes personal connections with his subjects, especially with the harm they have suffered because of race-based stereotypes

The Shuttle Coach leaves at 8:30 a.m. on April 13, 2022 from The Gordon Parks Museum parking lot. Lunch will be on your own at 12 p.m. at restaurants within walking distance of the museum. The shuttle will arrive back at Fort Scott at 6:00 p.m.

Cost is $10 per person for the shuttle trip.

The admission to the museum is free. Enjoy the ride on an Executive Coach Shuttle with comfortable leg room. The registration deadline is Tuesday, April 12, 2022.

Tickets are available at The Gordon Parks Museum, on-line at or over the phone, at 620-223-2700 ext. 5850.

For more information about the events contact the Gordon Parks Museum by phone (620) – 223-2700, ext. 5850 or by email [email protected]

“The Learning Tree” Trail Project Selected For National Humanities Alliance Foundation Initiative

Kirk Sharp is the director of the Gordon Parks Museum on the campus of Fort Scott Community College. Submitted photo

The Gordon Parks Museum has become a part of a National Humanities Alliance Foundation’s initiative,  Fort Scott’s Gordon Parks Museum Director Kirk Sharp told the Chamber members attending last week’s coffee.

The National Humanities Alliance (NHA) is a nationwide coalition of organizations advocating for the humanities on campuses, in communities, and in Washington D.C., which was founded in 1981.

“We received word on January 10th that The Learning Tree Film Scene and Sign Trail is being considered to be selected and would make a compelling profile on the NEH for All (NHA’s initiative) website,”  Sharp said in an interview with “Further discussion soon followed.”

To learn more about The National Humanities Alliance Foundation’s initiative, NEH for All,  view the profile website

“This means everything to the museum, as this is an excellent opportunity to help further our outreach of this project nationwide and to keep the legacy of The Learning Tree film and Gordon Parks alive,” Sharp said. “This will also help tremendously to bring more visitors from across the nation, to not only to visit the trail and the Gordon Parks Museum but to spend time in Fort Scott and possibly visit other great attractions within our community.”

“The Learning Tree Film Scene and Sign Trail project is just one of six profiles selected in the state of Kansas and is one of the 260 profiles thus far, selected nationwide, that the (organization) spotlights as exemplary projects,” he said. “We are very honored, thankful, and thrilled that the National Humanities Alliance Foundation selected our Learning Tree Film Scene and Sign Trail as one of the spotlight projects across the nation.”

“With funding from Humanities Kansas, the state partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Gordon Parks Museum set out in 2019 to create The Learning Tree Film Scene and Sign Trail.  Based on Gordon Parks’ semi-autobiographical novel about growing up in Fort Scott, The Learning Tree was also the first major motion picture directed by an African American. This historic sign trail celebrates Parks and commemorates the filming of The Learning Tree in the city,” according to the website.


“Gordon Parks Choice of Weapons Award” 2022 Recipients

Adger Cowans and William C. Rhoden will be the recipients of the “Gordon Parks Choice of Weapons Award” at the annual celebration October 6th -8th, 2022 in Fort Scott, Kansas. The celebration is in honor Fort Scott native Gordon Parks, noted photographer, writer, musician, and filmmaker. The Choice of Weapons Award was established in Parks’ honor to be given annually at the Celebration. More detailed information about the annual celebration will be coming soon with a full press release.



 Adger Cowans, a fine arts photographer and abstract expressionist painter, has experimented with a myriad of mediums over his artistic career. Renowned in the world of photography and fine art, his works have been shown by The Metropolitan Museum of Art, International Museum of Photography, Museum of Modern Art, The Studio Museum of Harlem, The Cleveland Museum of Art, Harvard Fine Art Museum, Detroit Art Institute, James E. Lewis Museum and numerous other art institutions.


After attending Ohio University where he received a BFA in photography, Cowans furthered his education at the School of Motion Picture Arts and School of Visual Arts in New York. While serving in the United States Navy, he worked as a photographer before moving to New York, where he later worked with Life magazine photographer Gordon Parks and fashion photographer Henri Clarke.


Cowans was awarded the Lorenzo il Magnifico alla Carriera in recognition of a Distinguished Career at the 2001 Florence Biennale of Contemporary Art. He is the recipient of a John Hay Whitney Fellowship and the Martin Luther King, Jr., Caesar Chavez, Rosa Parks Visiting Scholars Award, Wayne State University. At his first one man show at the Heliography Gallery in New York, Jacob Deschin of the New York Times described Cowans’ work as “Boldly inventive and experimental…and the artist is a craftsman to his fingertips.”

William C. Rhoden, is an award-winning national sports writer and visiting professional at Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. Rhoden is one of the most accomplished sports journalists of his generation and is regarded as an expert on the topics of sports and race. He is currently a columnist and editor-at-large at Andscape, ESPN’s digital platform that explores the intersection of race, culture and sports.


In collaboration with Andscape formerly (The Undefeated), ESPN, and The Walt Disney Company, he has established the Rhoden Fellows Initiative, which identifies and trains aspiring African-American journalists from historically black colleges and universities. At the Cronkite School, Rhoden serves as a visiting professional and teaches “Opinion in the Digital Age,” which introduces students to the art of crafting and forming thoughtful opinion pieces for all existing platforms. In addition, he also is a visiting senior practitioner for the Global Sport Institute, where he provides feedback on the institute’s strategic direction and helps develop concepts for the Global Sport Matters content hub.


Rhoden rose to prominence at The New York Times, where he published his award-winning “Sports of the Times” column for 26 years and established himself as one of the top sports columnists in the country.


The veteran journalist has received numerous career honors. In 2021, the National Sports Media Association inducted Rhoden’s into its Hall of Fame in. In 2018, he was inducted to the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) Hall of Fame for contributions to journalism and the Black community.


He won a Peabody Award in 1996 as a writer for HBO’s documentary “Journey of the African American Athlete” and earned an Emmy Award for his writing on the documentary “Breaking the Huddle: The Integration of College Football.” Rhoden is an accomplished author who published “Forty Million Dollar Slaves” in 2006 and “Third and a Mile: The Trials and Triumphs of The Black Quarterback” in 2007. He was also presented with the 2017 Sam Lacy-Wendell Smith Award by the Shirley Povich Center for Sports Journalism at the University of Maryland Philip Merrill College of Journalism for contributions to racial and gender equality in sports.


Ticket information and the full schedule will be posted at a later date on the website





















National Humanities Alliance Adds The Gordon Parks Museum

Gordon Parks Museum’s “The Learning Tree Film Scene and Sign Trail” selected to the NEH for ALL Website Profile

Fort Scott, KS- The Gordon Parks Museum is pleased to announce The Learning Tree Film Trail is now part of the National Humanities Alliance Foundation’s initiative, NEH for All, profile website
The film trail is a series of signs located at the different locations where the filming of The Learning Tree took place. The signs will also include QR codes along with a virtual tour of the identified scene locations of the film. This project received funding by Humanities Kansas that was received from NEH.
“We are very honored, thankful, and thrilled that the National Humanities Alliance Foundation selected our Learning Tree Film Scene and Sign Trail as one of the spotlight projects across the nation,” says Kirk Sharp, Director of The Gordon Parks Museum. “This is an excellent opportunity to help further our outreach of this project nationwide and to keep the legacy of The Learning Tree film and Gordon Parks alive.”
The National Humanities Alliance Foundation’s initiative, NEH for All, spotlights more than 260 exemplary projects funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) through its website Established in 1965, the NEH recognizes the unique role the humanities play in fostering the wisdom, vision, and knowledge required to participate in a thriving democracy. To this day, the NEH supports excellence in humanities research, teaching, and lifelong learning opportunities that provide millions of Americans the knowledge of our history and culture essential for engaged citizenship. highlights that excellence.
The National Humanities Alliance Foundation advances the humanities by conducting and supporting research on the humanities and communicating the value of the humanities to a range of audiences including elected officials and the general public. The grant projects featured on the website are a sampling from across the country and represent the significant investments the NEH is making in our communities. The NEH for All website highlights many valuable investments in an easily searchable form, showing the incredible impact access to the humanities has on people of all ages and walks of life. NEH for All features National Endowment for the Humanities grantees, as well as grantees of the state and jurisdictional councils, across
all 50 states and shows the impact of each project, drawing the connection from the initial funding of a grant to the end result.
Featured projects, funded with large and small grants alike, demonstrate excellence in humanities work. From preserving American heritage, to providing resources and training for educators, fostering community conversations, and developing award-winning exhibitions, their efforts have long-lasting impacts on their communities and on the American public.
Cumulatively, the projects highlight the galvanizing effect of NEH funding in rural and urban communities. For those who use the site, NEH for All is an opportunity to learn about the kinds of humanities work that goes on in their communities and across the United States. Visitors can search projects by state or organizational type and explore the tangible benefits the grants have on specific impact areas, including preserving cultural heritage; ensuring rural access to high-quality programming; enriching K–12 education; providing lifelong learning opportunities for diverse audiences; facilitating community dialogue; supporting cutting-edge research; fostering local tourism; supporting veterans; promoting civic education; and collecting and curating local histories.
NEH for All is an initiative of the National Humanities Alliance Foundation. Visit the website at
On the set of the filming of the Learning Tree, 1968.
Photo courtesy of the Special Collections & University Archives, Axe Library, Pittsburg State University.
Grand opening and ribbon cutting of the Learning Tree Film Scene and Sign Trail at the Annual Gordon Parks Celebration, Oct 7, 2021.

Local Black History Month Celebration This Sunday

Black History

Month Celebration Event

In honor of Black History Month,

The Gordon Parks Museum presents…

Open Mic Afternoon

Sunday, Feb 20th at 2pm

and a film screening of

Many Fires This Time: We The 100 Million

Sunday, Feb 20th at 3:30pm

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Film Screening-Many Fires.png
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Thank you to our Chamber Champion members for all of their support.
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Many Fires This Time: Black History Month Film at Gordon Parks Museum

Many Fires This Time. Submitted photo.

Gordon Parks Museum Black History Month Celebration: Featuring Film Screening: Many Fires This Time: We The 100 Million and Open Mic Afternoon Event
Fort Scott-The Gordon Parks Museum in celebration of Black History Month, will feature a film screening of
the film Many Fires This Time: We The 100 Million and an open mic event. The open mic afternoon event will start at 2:00pm and the film screening will start at 3:30p.m at the Danny and Willa Ellis Family Fine Arts Center on Sunday, February 20th, 2022. This event is supported in part by the Fort Scott Community College Endowment Foundation.

Gordon Parks Museum is located on the campus of Fort Scott Community College.

The film Many Fires This Time: We the 100 Million is an award-winning documentary film that received the Gordon Parks Black Film Excellence Honorable Mention Award at the Tallgrass Film Festival in Wichita, KS. Directed by Jason R.A. Foster, and produced by Michael “Quess?” Moore and Jeremy Liu, Many Fires This Time: We The 100 Million is a poetic documentary about the 1 in 3 Americans, and counting, living in economic insecurity. It follows the journey of poet and activist A Scribe Called Quess? as he connects with fellow activist poets and the communities they represent, from Oakland to Chicago to Kentucky to his hometown of New Orleans.
The open mic afternoon event will take place prior to the film screening and is for any poets, rappers, musicians, or artists of all ages to read their work. Bring your friends, your poetry, your instruments, your beats, your inspirations, your creativity, and your talent! No sign-up necessary, just hop on the mic when you’re ready! Filmmakers Jason R.A. Foster and Michael “Quess?” Moore will be here in Fort Scott to showcase their film and visit with the audience and also M.C. the open mic event. Both the open mic event and film screening is free to attend and participate.
“We are thrilled and fortunate to be able to have both of these very talented filmmakers and artists, Jason and Quess? here in Fort Scott to showcase their award winning film and to help host the open mic event for current and inspiring artist and enthusiasts. ” said Kirk Sharp, Gordon Parks Museum Director.

Jason R.A. Foster. Submitted photo.

Jason R.A. is an actor, filmmaker and photographer born in Kingston, Jamaica, and has lived the majority of his life in the American South. He has had roles in films Hot Tub Time Machine 2, Get Hard, and 22 Jump Street. He is the co-founder of FosterBear Films. His short documentaries and films include: Seeing Sounds, Requiem for a Season, Alfred Marshall, A Conversation with John O’Neal , Greater than the Sum (Rethink), Rethink: Restorative Justice. Residual, Neegro’s: And What Happened After That?, and Explanation. Jason’s music videos’ include: Tank and the Bangas: Quick, Sunni Patterson; Black Back, Come Home, Modern Romance, and Brighton Beach: Marce’ Reazon Ft. Ro Ransom.
Jason has taught film classes to the New Orleans community through the New Orleans Video Access Center
and Kids Rethink New Orleans Schools. His nomadic lifestyle has contributed to his ability to tell stories
and connect with people from all walks of life.

A Scribe Called Quess. Submitted photo.

A Scribe Called Quess? Aka Michael “Quess?” Moore is a poet, educator, actor, playwright, activist, and
organizer in that order. He is a two-time national poetry slam champion and founding member of Team SNO
(Slam New Orleans), New Orleans’ three-time national poetry slam championship team. His poetry has been
published or featured by Pluck!, Nike, Congo TV, Balcony TV, Button Poetry, Write About Now Poetry, Spotify,
Mic, Redbull, and other platforms, and has earned him honors from the mayor and city council of New
Orleans. His words led him to the classroom where he served for 11 years as an educator. His work as an
educator has been highlighted on NPR in the Voices of Educators series as well as taken him to Oxford
University to speak on school reform.
For more information about the events contact the Gordon Parks Museum by phone (620) – 223-2700, ext.
5850 or by email [email protected]

Chamber Coffee hosted by The Gordon Parks Museum

The Fort Scott Area Chamber of Commerce invites members and guests to a Chamber Coffee this Thursday, January 13th at 8 a.m. hosted by The Gordon Parks Museum, on the campus of Fort Scott Community College, 2108 S. Horton.

The Chamber Coffee will be in the Ellis Fine Arts Center. Coffee, juice, and light refreshments will be provided.

The Chamber Coffee will be the kick-off event in honor of Gordon Parks and his tribute to Marin Luther King Jr.

The museum has scheduled a series of events which will include a free admission tribute ballet performance by the Kansas City Friends of Alvin Ailey.

There will also be film showings on Friday January 14th and Monday January 17th of Eyes on the Prize: American Civil Rights.

A Lunch & Learn event will be held on both days that will include a reading of the “I Have A Dream” speech by the Fort Scott High School Advanced Drama students on the 14th, and Prisca Barnes speaking on “The Dockum Drugstore Sit-In” event that happened in Wichita.

In addition to all of this, the community is invited and encouraged to bring canned food or cleaning products from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. to the museum which is in recognition of King’s Day.

This is a service event that will happen nationally. These canned goods/cleaning products will be presented to The Beacon, a local helping agency. Please, no out-of-date goods.

Contact the Chamber of Commerce at (620) 223-3566 for more information.