Topeka, KS— The Kansas Historical Society and the Kansas Anthropological Association announced that registration is now open for the Kansas Archeology Training Program (KATP), which will be held at Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site, in Topeka, June 3-18, 2022. The public can register online through kshs.org through May 31, 2022. Participation is limited per day and will be taken on a first-come, first-served basis.
The annual field school will partner with the park and the National Park Service’s Midwest Archeological Center (MWAC). The park includes the Monroe Elementary School and commemorates the 1954 U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to end the nation’s legal segregation. This landmark victory for civil rights in America helped inspire the American Civil Rights Movement in the 1950s and 1960s. Monroe Elementary School was built in 1927; the previous Monroe School was built in 1874. Both were intended as segregated schools for Black children, which provide a broader historical context to the location prior to the 1954 court decision.
The goal of this year’s field school is to expand knowledge of the school property from the early years when it was purchased by John Ritchie in 1855 and later when the current Monroe Elementary School was built. This will be an opportunity to explore structures buried on the property that once stood near the earlier Monroe School. Little is known regarding the preservation of these structures. Through archeology better understanding can be gained about those who lived in the school neighborhood. This project will help tell of the crucial time between the Civil War and the Civil Rights era, which profoundly impacted people’s lives throughout the nation. Research goals will be shaped by input from the National Park Service to assist in telling this story and gaining more understanding about the surrounding community.
The annual field school is an opportunity for the public to work alongside professional and avocational archeologists in finding and excavating archeological sites and processing the resulting artifacts. This year’s artifacts found at the site will be processed in the Kansas Historical Society’s archeology laboratory. No experience is necessary—just a desire to learn. Volunteers can attend a few days or the entire field school. Participants must be at least 12 years old, and children aged 12-17 must be accompanied by a parent or sponsor.
The registration fee for members of the Kansas Historical Society and the Kansas Anthropological Association is $35 for standard participants, $25 for participants 65 or older, and $15 for all students currently enrolled at a middle school, high school, or college. For individuals that are not members of either organization, the fee is $90.
A full schedule of evening programs will be held in Topeka; a tentative schedule will be posted online. Admission to the programs is free and open to the public. Please note, the field school is closed on Mondays (June 6 and June 13), which is a great opportunity for participants to explore the area. There is potential for other scheduled programming on these days.
For more information contact Nikki Klarmann, Nikki.Klarmann@ks.gov; 785-272-8681, ext. 266; kshs.org/katp.