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Education and Literacy Widely Impact Individuals and Society

A Kansas Literacy Festival Partner Spotlight:

The Winter School's educational video highlights the history of literacy

In the months leading up to our Kansas Literacy Festival this September, Storytime Village is excited to spotlight the incredibly talented individuals and organizations who have partnered with us to host literacy programming across the state of Kansas.

This spotlight features The Winter School and their educational video about the history of literacy.

The Inspiration Behind the Project

In partnership with the Lecompton Historical Society, the Winter School will open in October as a museum and community center. However, the Winter School is not only a traditional museum. A historic one-room schoolhouse originally built in 1870, the Winter School will utilize pioneer materials to help visitors learn how the U.S. education system has evolved. There will also be interactive installations and activities for families.

As the museum planned an arts-integrated curriculum based on their exhibition, the Kansas Creative Arts Industries Commission approached them about the Kansas Literacy Festival. The Winter School decided their curriculum would be a good fit.

“We realized that our ideas were complementary to the subject of literacy,” said Director Katie Winter, “so we tweaked our format so that we will be able to share throughout the state both virtually and in person.”

The Festival Project: "History, Notice Me"

After deciding to partner with the Kansas Literacy Festival, the Winter School drew from their current exhibition to highlight a different angle of literacy. Their festival project is an educational video that discusses the meaning and history of literacy. It includes stories from people and events, all featured in their exhibition, “History, Notice Me,” as well as forty-one black and white photographs of scenes around Kansas between 1870 to 1949.

The video also introduces one-room schoolhouses, including the Winter School. In addition, the museum plans to eventually create arts-based, in-person activities that corresponds to particular segments within the video.

As a museum centered around education, the Winter School hopes that their video will help the community understand the impact that education has on individuals and in society.

“…what we learn and how we learn in schools permeates the way we think and our possibilities, so whether you like it or not, it’s an extremely strong socializing force in our personal and collective lives,” Winter said.

The museum also hope that community will not only learn more about education, but also enjoy speaking about it.

“We want people to think that talking about education can be fun. That their opinions are important and valuable,” Winter said.

While the Winter School appreciates discussing and highlighting the education system, the museum also explains that current schooling is not “a natural fact of life”, but a “socially constructed institution” that can be changed based on the community’s input.

“There are so many questions we have yet to ask ourselves about it…including the nature of knowledge and what it means to be literate,” said Winter. “We want everyone to realize the worth of their own knowledge, the importance of expressing it, and the importance of listening to others.”

The Winter School

The Winter School was originally built as a one-room schoolhouse near Lecompton, Kansas, in 1870. Now in partnership with the Lecompton Historical Society, the Winter School will operate as an interactive museum and community center focused on the historical and philosophical foundations of education. The space will host community events as well as be available to tour or rent for small groups. Future programs include classes hosted by the Lawrence Laboratory and an educational club called Group No. 70, with content that aligns with the museum’s current exhibitions.

Explore Education and History

The Winter School will be open to the public in October and encourages visitors to tour the museum and explore its interactive installations. To learn more about its curriculum and events, visit their website, Follow them on Facebook and Instagram @winterschool70.

For More Kansas Literacy Festival Programs:

Kansas Literacy Festival activities are happening from January to September of 2021, with the help of our Digital Partners all across Kansas. Visit for more information on other literacy projects happening across the state.

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