An alliance of local historic sites that are partners with the Freedom’s Frontier National Heritage Area is working together to coordinate their educational, interpretative and tourism efforts, said Chris Meinhardt, a Friends of the Free State Capitol Inc. volunteer who is active in the alliance.
The Freedom’s Frontier National Heritage Area shares the stories of events that unfolded in 29 counties in eastern Kansas and 12 counties in western Missouri, from pre-Civil War battles to the enduring struggle for freedom that continues today.
“The group meets as needed, but at least quarterly,” Meinhardt said of the alliance. “It’s great that we are all working together and communicating so well, because it helps us in understanding what parts of the story we can tell.”
The sites comprising the Topeka Freedom Alliance are Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site/Monroe School; Charles Curtis House Museum; Constitution Hall-Topeka/Friends of the Free State Capitol; Great Overland Station; Historic Ritchie House and Cox Communications Heritage Education Center; Historic Topeka Cemetery; Old Prairie Town at Ward-Meade Historic Site; and the Kansas Capitol/Kansas Historical Society.
“And it’s not just sites,” he said, adding Visit Topeka Inc. also participates in the alliance meetings, which are open to the public.
The Freedom’s Frontier National Heritage Area, which was established on Oct. 12, 2006, is celebrating its 10th year as a heritage area and affiliate of the National Park Service with a series of special events, which will be listed at http://cjon.co/1Q0wc1p and promoted on its Facebook page.
The heritage area also is having a photo contest for a calendar it will publish in 2017. The photos must be taken in the heritage area and can be entered in four different categories -- events and people; historic sites; nature/trails; or “our themes,” which are “Shaping the Frontier,” “Missouri/Kansas Border War” and “Enduring Struggle for Freedom.”
Entries, which should include the location, brief description and photographer’s name/contact information, can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org. Disks of photos can be sent to the Freedom’s Frontier main office at P.O. Box 526, Lawrence, 66044.
More details are available at http://cjon.co/1PSBwC6. The deadline for entering the contest is July 27.
In addition to the special events, Freedom’s Frontier executive director Jim Ogle said the heritage area is working on a comprehensive network of highway signs for partner sites in Kansas and Missouri; a mobile app that can be used to locate the sites; and new programming that puts the focus on the enduring struggle for freedom rather than past history.