Category Archives: Gordon Parks Museum

Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Starts Today

Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration 2023
Join us, as the Gordon Parks Museum and Fort Scott Community College celebrates the life and legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr.
Check out the flyers below for a listing of all the activities that will happen this weekend!
Thank you to our Chamber Champion members below!
Fort Scott Area Chamber of Commerce | 231 E. Wall Street, Fort Scott, KS 66701

Gordon Parks Museum celebrating the life of Martin Luther King Jr.

Gordon Parks Museum is located on the campus of Fort Scott Community College, 2108 S. Horton.

The Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration will be held, with several events planned in Fort Scott.

The events will start on Thursday, January 12th at the Gordon Parks Museum.

The day will begin with a hosting of the Fort Scott Area Chamber Coffee at 8:00a.m. and a film showing at 10:00a.m., “Martin”, a tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. by Gordon Parks.

This is a ballet tribute to Dr. King, written and directed by Gordon

To view the schedule:

MLK ’23 Celebration Schedule 11_17

On Friday, January 13th, the community is invited to the Ellis Fine Arts Center for a free Lunch and Learn event that will be held at 12:00p.m. featuring a music and speaking presentation by multicultural artist, community organizer, researcher, and educator, Alex Kimball Williams. A reception will follow with birthday
cake. Lunch and dessert will be provided by Great Western Dining.

For more info:

Martin Luther King, Jr. Birthday Celebration Lunch & Learn, 2023

The day will also include three film
showings at 9:00am, 1:30pm, and 3:30pm.

The celebration will wrap up on Monday, January 16th, with a (Lunch and Learn) event and Canned Food
Drive. Canned and nonperishable (nonexpired) food items for the Beacon Food Pantry in Fort Scott, Kansas,
will be collected at the museum from 9:00am till 2:00p.m.

To learn more about the food drive:

Canned & Non Perishable Food Drive 2023

The Lunch and Learn speaker presentation event
“Good Trouble” by John Edgar Tidwell will be held at 12:00pm. Lunch will be provided by Dunk’s BBQ. Drinks
and desserts will be provided by Great Western Dinning.

To learn more about this presentation:

Good Trouble Presentation Press Release

Lunch & Learn Good Trouble January 16, 2023

Films will also be shown throughout the day on
Monday at 9:00a.m., 10:30a.m., and 1:30p.m. All events will take place at both the Gordon Parks Museum and
Ellis Fine Arts center on the campus of Fort Scott Community College.

A full list of film showings and events can be found at For more
information call the Gordon Parks Museum at 6202232700 ext. 5850.

For more information call (620) 2232700, ext. 5850, or email
[email protected].

About Humanities Kansas
Humanities Kansas is an independent nonprofit spearheading a movement of ideas to empower the people of Kansas to
strengthen their communities and our democracy. Since 1972, our pioneering programming, grants, and partnerships
have documented and shared stories to spark conversations and generate insights. Together with our partners and
supporters, we inspire all Kansans to draw on history, literature, ethics, and culture to enrich their lives and serve the
communities and state we all proudly call home. Visit

Gordon Parks Museum receives Plaza-Hawkins bookcase

John Dauben, left, and Kirk Sharp with the donated book case. Submitted photo.

A bookcase from the historic PlazaHawkins School was donated recently to the Gordon
Parks Museum by Fort Scott resident John Dobbins, a longtime tutor at Fort Scott Community College.

Gordon Parks attended PlazaHawkins, the segregated school for grades kindergarten through eighth located
at what was formerly 111 Hendricks St., situated on the east side of what is now the Fort Scott National
Historic Site.

“This bookcase was part of the Plaza school in the 1920s when Gordon attended there,” Dobbins said in
making the donation to museum director Kirk Sharp. “My parents bought in in the 1950s when the school
closed and the furnishings were sold.”

In 1946, the school was renamed from the “Hawkins School” as a tribute to and in memory of professor E.J.
Hawkins, a longtime educator, administrator and coach at the institution.

The school, a large, twostory building with a full basement, was razed in the late 1960s and early 1970s as
part of the urbanrenewal project under way at the time. A wayside memorial of the school is located in the Fort
Scott National Historic Site recreationalvehicle parking lot behind the Chamber of Commerce building.

The bookcase, along with other artifacts from the PlazaHawkins School, is on display at the Gordon Parks
Museum on the camps of FSCC.

For more information or to schedule museum visits and tours, call (620) 2232700, ext. 5850, or email

[email protected]

Gordon Parks Museum Receives Portrait Taken by Parks’ son

Marcia McCoy and Kirk Sharp. Submitted photo.

 Marcia McCoy, photographer and longtime friend of Gordon Parks, has donated an iconic portrait of the celebrated Fort Scott native taken by his son, David, to the museum that bears his name.

Gordon Parks photo Trail Blazer. Submitted.

Now on display in the museum, located on the campus of Fort Scott Community College, is the photo of Parks shown in
1973. The photo, titled “Trailblazer,” captures the image of Parks riding horseback and smoking a pipe while directing a
film on location in the Flint Hills of Kansas.

“Gordon Parks was a trailblazer from Fort Scott, a true ‘Renaissance’ man, and my father,” said David Parks.

McCoy, who also worked with Gordon Parks as curator of his signature collection, “Images from the Soul,” teamed with
Parks and Robert Erlichman of Art Guild Press to create an edition suite of “Trailblazer.”

“(Gordon) loved this image his son captured of him, out in the Flint Hills of Kansas his homeland,” McCoy said. “Mr.Parks is a national treasure and has inspired creators globally to have the courage to create and express their voices and visions. We are delighted to share this powerful and inspiring portrait with you and the world.”

For more information or to schedule museum visits and tours call (620) 2232700, ext. 5850, or email

[email protected]

Gordon Parks Museum resumes regular operating hours


The Gordon Parks Museum at Fort Scott Community College returns to full public accessibility this week upon the completion of repairs to its air-conditioning unit; executive director Kirk Sharp has announced.

The museum, devoted to Fort Scott native Parks, an esteemed photographer, writer, composer and filmmaker, remains open until Dec. 15 when the campus closes for Christmas break. The museum, now with all collections back on display, reopens Jan. 5.

Sharp cited “supply-chain issues” as the cause for the delayed repairs.

“We want to thank everyone for their support and patience,” he said. “We had a difficult time dealing with supply-chain issues that delayed the arrival of the part (air compressor) we needed.”

To schedule a visit or tour call (620) 223-2700, ext. 5850, or email [email protected]





Kansas Photojournalism Hall of Fame inducts Parks

A panel in the Gordon Parks Museum.

 Fort Scott native Gordon Parks was among a dozen photographers inducted by the Kansas Press Association into the Kansas Photojournalism Hall of Fame during a ceremony recently in Topeka.

As a member of the inaugural class, Parks joins Rich Clarkson, Carl Davaz, Jeff Jacobsen, Chris Johns, Brian Lanker, Sandra Milburn, Jim Richardson, Charlie Riedel, Gary Settle, Pete Souza and Bill Snead in the newly minted hall of fame.

Kirk Sharp, executive director of the Gordon Parks Museum in Fort Scott, was asked by Parks’ son, David, to represent the family in accepting the award, which the family entrusted to the museum.

“It was an honor and a privilege to not only represent the family and to accept the award, but to also have the award on display in our museum for visitors to see,” Sharp said.

Ella Parks and Charles Cooksey, greatniece and nephew of Gordon Parks, were also in attendance at the ceremonial banquet Nov. 19 at the Beacon Building.


Contact Name: Kirk Sharp
Phone: 6202232700, ext. 5850

Email: [email protected] 


Interactive Technology Added to Gordon Parks Museum



Fort Scott, Kan. Nov. 17, 2022 – A grant through the Fort Scott Area Community Foundation has enabled the Gordon Parks Museum to further expand interactive technology in the museum. This includes two tablet kiosks with stands and software. The tablets can be used by visitors of any age.

“We are extremely thankful to receive this grant award from the Fort Scott Area Community Foundation. The interactive technology expansion gives us the ability to not only continue to modernize the museum, but to expand digitally,” said Kirk Sharp, executive director of the Gordon Parks Museum.

Funds from the Dr. Pratt and Pauline Irby Endowment Fund Award – courtesy of the adult children of the benefactors (Janet Braun, Bob Irby and Mary Rio) – were also used to help in the purchase of the tablet kiosks with stands and software.

The Fort Scott Area Community Foundation hosts individual charitable funds created by donors who have a passion for giving back to their community. Grants from these funds assist people throughout Fort Scott and Bourbon County. Call the Foundation at (620) 224-6500 with questions about the Community Foundation or go to











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Gordon Parks Museum: Award of Excellence

From left: Jane Campbell, president of the Gordon Parks Museum Board, Executive Director Kirk Sharp and Fort Scott Community College President Alysia Johnston. The museum is housed on the FSCC campus.  From the museum’s Facebook page.

A recent honor was awarded those who worked on a local trail project that tells of Gordon Park’s life in Kansas.

From left: Jane Campbell, Carl Brenner, Aly Turvey, Kirk Sharp, Shane Walker, Kassie Fugate-Cate, Arnold Scholfield and Janice Fewins were part of the planning committee for the Learning Tree Sign Trail. Picture from the museum’s Facebook page. (2019)
In late October, 2022, Gordon Parks Museum Executive Director Kirk Sharp, was notified that a recent project,“The Learning Tree” Film Scene Sign Trail had garnered the Award of Excellence from the Kansas Museum Association.
The award is presented annually by the Kansas Museum Association during the organization’s yearly conference, this year on November 7-9, to an institution whose project or achievements are worthy of special recognition.
“This is an amazing honor for us to receive such a prestigious award from the KMA,” said  Sharp said.  “This award is something that not only both of the communities of Fort Scott and Mound City can be proud of, but also the entire state of Kansas.”
No photo description available.
The film trail is a series of signs situated at the different filming locations for “The Learning Tree,” written and directed by Parks. The signs also include QR codes along with a virtual tour of the identified scene locations for the film.
To learn more about the trail:
The Learning Tree: Library of Congress

“In 1989 The Learning Tree (A Warner Bros. – Seven Arts Inc. Production) was one of the first 25 films selected by the Library of Congress for preservation in the United States National Film Registry for being culturally, historically, and aesthetically significant,” Sharp said.


The  recent project received funding from Humanities Kansas and the Fort Scott Area Community Foundation.
National Humanities Alliance Foundation
The Learning Tree” film trail is also part of the National Humanities Alliance Foundation’s initiative, NEH for All (
NEH for All spotlights more than 260 projects funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities 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 their history and culture. highlights that excellence. Visit the website at
Kirk Sharp, left, and Rachelle Meinecke, the chairperson of the Kansas Museum Association’s award committee, pose with the Award of Excellence bestowed recently upon the Gordon Parks Museum for it’s “The Learning Tree” Film Scene Sign Trail.

About the Gordon Parks Museum in Fort Scott

Parks spent some of his childhood in Fort Scott and later went on to be an internationally-known photographer, filmmaker, writer, and musician.

A museum to honor Gordon Parks is located on the campus of Fort Scott Community College.

The mission of the Gordon Parks Museum in Fort Scott is to use his remarkable life story to teach about artistic creativity, cultural awareness, and the role of diversity in our lives, according to the museum’s website.


Free Instruction on Digital Photography Nov. 30


On Wednesday, Nov 30, 2022, 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.
at the Gordon Parks Museum,
Professional photographer, Veretta Cobler will give a free photography instruction on
working with digital photography.

This in-depth workshop is designed to help the
beginner and the novice learn how to get the most out of their digital camera. More
experienced photographers can learn some techniques to improve and enhance
their shots.

Veretta lived and worked in New York City as a professional photographer for over four
decades. She has recently relocated back home in Fort Scott, Kansas. Her work is in fine arts, fashion, portraiture, still life and journalistic cultural study. Her fashion images are seen in various U.S. magazines including Bride, Modern Bride, Bridal Guide, Elegant Bride, Martha Stewart Living, The Knot, Seventeen, Prom and New York Magazine.

Veretta’s fine arts 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 late 1970’s and early

Her most recent book about the life and teachings of a Lakota spiritual man, “Teachings From A Chief ”, is in the publishing process.

She received her BS degree of Photojournalism from the University of Kansas in 1974.

For more information contact the Gordon Parks Museum at 620 -223-2700 ext 5850 or

email: [email protected]


The museum is located on the campus of Fort Scott Community College.

Celebrating Gordon Parks,
110th Birthday
Digital Photography
Digital Photography