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Mar 26

The Turbulent Twenties temporary exhibit at Johnson County Museum ends May 11

Posted on March 26, 2019 at 11:26 AM by Becky Burnside

Time is running out to visit a temporary exhibit at the Johnson County Museum called The Turbulent Twenties.

The exhibit, which opened on Aug. 25, runs through May 11, and is included with regular museum admission rates of $5 for adults, $4 for seniors, and $3 for children. The museum, which is located inside the Johnson County Arts & Heritage Center, 8788 Metcalf Ave., Overland Park, is open 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and is not open on Sunday.
“The exhibit has been well received,” said museum Curator of Interpretation Andrew R. Gustafson. “Visitors are making connections between the themes of the 1920s and today’s society, such as the cultural importance placed on fashion, music, and technology, as well as topics like immigration and race. There was a lot more to the 1920s than Prohibition and Jazz (although those were important forces), and I think visitors are understanding the wider impact the 1920s has had up through today.”
The Turbulent Twenties exhibit fills a 1,600 square foot gallery space with more than 100 images and over 50 objects, plus music, and video. The exhibit provides visitors with a national view of the issues, while also highlighting how the local region responded. Objectives for the exhibit are: exploring connections between Johnson County, the state of Kansas, and the larger national history of the decade; and drawing connections between the 1920s and our current society and culture.

“I think those who view this exhibit find the 1920s to be a much more complex decade than the term ‘Roaring 20s’ allows,” Gustafson said. “That is why we named it ‘The Turbulent Twenties’ - it was a decade of immense societal and cultural change that ushered in a more modern, recognizable society in the U.S. The 1920s were full of growing pains.” 

Timing of the exhibit coincided with the 2018 centennial of both the ending of World War I, and the 1918 flu pandemic, often referred to as the Spanish Flu.
“We are thrilled with the response to the exhibit,” Gustafson said. “Visitors have left 350 comments and thoughts on the feedback wall within the ‘Turbulent Twenties’ exhibit. The exhibit has also drawn some media interest focused on the WWI identification disc (a forerunner to a military dog tag) which belonged to former Kansas Governor Frank L. Hagaman, which was recently uncovered in a farm field in France, and donated to the museum. Since the exhibit starts with the impact WWI had on the U.S., we were able to include Hagaman’s disc.”
Through March, the museum presented six programs for children and adults which tie into The Turbulent Twenties exhibit, and two more are planned before The Turbulent Twenties ends on May 11. 

On April 24, a Lunch & Learn program called titled 1920s Fashion: Iconic Changes will take place beginning at 11:30 am. During this hour-long session, Kansas State University Costume and Textile Museum Curator Marla Day will talk about the daring changes to American fashions from this turbulent time. 

Planned for May 9 is a program called An Evening with Kevin Willmott.  A documentary filmmaker, University of Kansas professor, and winner of a 2019 Academy Award, Willmott will show his biopic, “William Allen White: What’s the Matter with Kansas?”  The film will be followed by a discussion with Willmott and local film critic and museum foundation board member Lonita Cook.  The documentary ties into a portion of The Turbulent Twenties exhibit devoted to the rise of nationalism and nativism in the 1920s, and specifically looks at White’s unsuccessful 1924 bid for the governorship of Kansas, as well as the stronghold of the Klan in the KC region. 

Up next at the museum is a temporary exhibit called Expanding Oz. Beginning June 1, this exhibit will trace the growth of “The Wizard of Oz” phenomenon, explore its global appeal, and illustrate its influence on popular culture. The exhibit will run through Nov. 2, and ties into the 100th anniversary of Author L. Frank Baum’s death, the 80th anniversary of the 1939 MGM movie, and the Theatre in the Park’s production of the musical this summer as part of its 50th outdoor season.

Learn more about the museum or The Turbulent Twenties exhibit.