Freedom’s Frontier: Stories from the Western Border is an exhibition of photographs, maps, and images introducing the public to the Freedom’s Frontier National Heritage Area and how the Wabaunsee County region’s history and stories are tied to those of national importance. Designed as a large timeline, the display brings to life the local stories of American Indians, early explorers, Mountain Men, Abolitionists, and Emigrants.
In colorful images, the show explores the Heritage Area’s themes of the Missouri Kansas Border War known as Bleeding Kansas, the shaping of the American frontier, and the nation’s enduring struggle for freedom for all of its citizens.
The exhibit can be seen at the Wabaunsee County Historical Society and Museum in Alma, Kansas.
Freedom’s Frontier National Heritage Area (FFNHA) is made up of 41 counties along the Missouri-Kansas border and is dedicated to building awareness of the struggles for freedom that took place there.
The goal of the Heritage Area, and this exhibit, is to make people from outside the region aware of our history and points of interest while reminding residents of the importance of our area’s role in national history.
Designated by Congress in October 2006, FFNHA works to build partnerships, provide resources, enhance historic landscapes and stimulate economic development to highlight this nationally important story.
FFNHA also works to preserve the places in which these stories took place and helps local groups and individuals interpret their stories, connecting them to the larger theme of the struggle for freedom.
FFNHA organizes its stories into three themes.
- Shaping the Frontier includes stories of Native Americans seeking freedom to continue their way of life, and settlers seeking freedom to bring their ways of life to the region.
- The Missouri-Kansas Border War features the clash of settlers over the extension of slavery in Kansas Territory. Violence and retribution plagued the region and extended into the Civil War, which brought a new birth of freedom to the nation.
- Enduring Struggles for Freedom includes stories of women, minorities, immigrants, and all other Americans seeking equal rights and the freedom to participate equally in our democratic society.
This project is funded in part by the Freedom’s Frontier National Heritage Area and the Wabaunsee County Historical Society.
Special thanks to the family of John Gehrt for the exhibit space and Tom Parish for his design work.