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KS Historical Society celebrates state’s 160th birthday virtually

Published: Jan. 29, 2021 at 7:40 AM CST
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - It’s Kansas’ 160th birthday Friday and each year, the Kansas Historical Society throws a big party to celebrate.

This year, the fun has moved online, with activities and virtual tours of the state’s landmarks to help you create your own Kansas Day experience.

Kansas became the nation’s 34th state on January 29, 1861.

“Kansas is about the only state that celebrates its birthday as widely as we do. It’s celebrated all over the state,” said Kansas Historical Society Education Coordinator, Lois Herr.

Much of the party usually takes place in the Capital City and includes visits to the Statehouse and Kansas Museum of History.

Herr said, “We are used to having anywhere between 1,500 and 2,000 people out here, usually students and teachers.”

The coronavirus pandemic forced the Kansas Historical Society to pivot those plans in 2021.

“We knew that we couldn’t bring that many people out, so we decided to put materials online so that people could access them and create a unique Kansas Day experience that fits their schedule,” Herr added.

On the Kansas Historical Society’s website, you can find lesson plans, hands-on activities, crafts, sing-along videos, and virtual tours of the Capitol.

As you dive into the state’s history, Herr said you will also come across another significant milestone -- the 200th anniversary of the Santa Fe Trail.

“The Sante Fe Trail is hugely important to the history of the United States, westward migration, our expansion to the west and we’re just lucky enough to have so much of it in our state and so, we are recognizing it and celebrating it this year,” she said.

So, while Kansas Day may look different, the Kansas Historical Society wants to encourage everyone to take part!

“It’s a day where everybody comes together as a Kansan,” Herr continued saying, “No matter what their age is, their political beliefs, or their geographical location. We’re all celebrating the same thing and it’s just a very unique experience.”

To find all the Kansas Day and Santa Fe Trail materials, click here.

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