Tom Parker – The Way We Worked in Kansas

Blue Rapids, Kansas – Photographer Tom Parker stands beside some of the images included in Blue Rapids’ “The Way We Worked” project exhibition. The community was selected as a partner site to a statewide endeavor sponsored by the Kansas Humanities Council. In this small town, situated on the northern tip of the Flint Hills, 80 images were printed for the show from the thousands captured by Mr. Parker over the past year. Where other partner communities provided historical records and photos to fit the theme, Blue Rapids created a new collection capturing present day industry and the day-to-day work life of its citizens. I was impressed with the depth and diversity of the images revealing a dynamic community life that casual visitors to these small towns would never suspect. I have no doubt this archive will be an enduring document of our time and of real value to future generations, most especially to Blue Springs itself.

The exhibit is up through March 17th at the Blue Rapids Historical Society, #36 Public Square, (785)363-7949.

Related to this, the Kansas Humanities Council is sponsoring a Smithsonian Institution traveling exhibition, The Way We Worked, featuring documenting “the lives of ordinary working Americans”. The collection has already traveled through Lyons, Hugoton, and Goodland. It is currently in Concordia at the National Orphan Train Complex. Next it goes on to Baldwin City, and Franklin. Check here for addresses and the schedule.

“This exhibition documents the lives of ordinary working Americans.” – Allen Weinstein, Archivist of the United States