The Franklin County Historical Society will honor its retiring executive director during the 81st annual meeting 2 p.m. Jan. 28, at Neosho County Community College, 900 E. Logan St., Ottawa.
Deborah Barker is retiring after 27 years serving as executive director of the historical society. During her tenure, Barker helped FCHS evolve from a collection sometimes referred to as the “community attic” to a professional organization that strives to adhere to best practices as to how artifacts and archives are stored, displayed, recorded, and organized, according to a FCHS news release. The historical society and museum received more than $1.75 million in grant funds and estate gifts through her efforts of grant writing and advocacy, the release said.
Barker gave a voice to Franklin County’s history by giving hundreds of lectures and presentations. She co-produced historic driving tours of the county and the 680-page book The History of Franklin County Vol. 1, and has written two other books: The Feast of Franklin County and Images of America: Ottawa, the release said.
Author Adrian Zink will be the featured presenter at the annual meeting. Zink will explore the hidden history of Kansas in his presentation.
Zink, who was born and raised in Larned, has a master’s degree in history from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Zink works at the National Archives-Kansas City. Zink will sign books, which will be available for sale during the event, after the presentation.
Zink, while working at Mine Creek Battlefield State Historic Site, started following historical events in his research, the release said.
Hidden History of Kansas is a collection of those little bits of history. Tornados, the Donner Party, a mass grave discovered near Great Bend, the Brenham meteoroid impact crater, Knute Rockne’s plane crash, the utopian society of Franklin County’s Silkville, and how a young boy’s amputated arm led to the rise of the Sprint Corporation are all covered in Zink’s book.
The program begins with a review of 2017 FCHS activities. Zink’s presentation and book signing starts at 3 p.m. A reception for Barker is set for 4 p.m.
The program is free. If there is inclement weather, the annual meeting will move to 2 p.m. Feb. 4 at NCCC. The program is co-sponsored by the Franklin County Visitors Center, 2011 E. Logan St., Ottawa.