The Learning Tree Tourism Trail Grand Opening is Oct. 7

A panel in the Gordon Parks Museum.

The Gordon Parks Museum is pleased to announce the grand opening and ribbon-cutting event of the Learning Tree Film Trail and the “Lunch and Learn” presentation
“Gordon Parks: Fort Scott and The Learning Tree Revisited”.

The grand opening and ribbon cutting of the Learning Tree Film Trail will be Thursday, October 7, 2021, at 8:00 a.m.

The grand opening will be at Gunn Park, Shelter House #1, 1010 Park Ave. Fort Scott.

This is one of the locations that was used during filming in 1968.

Brochures with maps will be available to help locate the other signs on the trail.

This will be the kickoff event of the 17th & 18th Annual Gordon Parks Celebration events and will also be held in conjunction with the Fort Scott Area Chamber of Commerce Coffee.

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.

There will also be a “Lunch and Learn” presentation later the same day Thursday, October 7, 2021, with keynote speaker, John Edgar Tidwell, Professor Emeritus of English at the University of Kansas.

The presentation titled “Gordon Parks: Fort Scott and The Learning Tree Revisited”.

This will be held at Danny and Willa Ellis Family Fine Arts Center from 11:50 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

The event is free to the public and participants are able to bring their lunch and drinks with them. Box lunch and drink are available for $8. Dessert will also be available.

Local historian Arnold Schofield will open with a short presentation on the history of Gordon Parks and his return visit to his hometown of Fort Scott, Kansas, in 1950, as documented in the book Back to Fort Scott.

Mr. Schofield will then introduce keynote speaker, John Edgar Tidwell, for a presentation on Gordon Parks’ The Learning Tree legacy in comparing and contrasting the book and film.

The presentation will also cover the importance of the cultural and historical impact of them both, along with the story and subject matter compared to today.

The Gordon Parks Museum has received a grant from the Fort Scott Area Community Foundation and Humanities Kansas to assist with funding support for this project.

The Gordon Parks Museum extends an invitation to the public to attend both of the events, especially the citizens of Fort Scott, Bourbon County, and the four-state area.

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

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