I left early yesterday morning form Boston and flew to Kansas City. Last night, there was a brief orientation/meet and greet. We than proceeded to go on our first field trip to the Wornall House Museum. There we got a tour from an antebellum costumed docent. She led us through the small Missouri homestead.
This historical home was the home of a slaveholding family in Kansas City, Missouri. During the Battle of Westport it was used as a military hospital. I wonder if it is Haunted?!! After the tour we enjoyed some good Kansas City BBQ right on the grounds. YUMMM!
Today, Monday July 7, 2014 was the first full day of the program. It was an interesting day to say the least. We started the day with a keynote speaker to get the ball rolling. Nicole Etchison from Ball State University (in Indiana somewhere) provided us with a lecture/discussion on Bleeding Kansas.
We then meet with two gentleman who showed us their website full of primary sources and images as well as some scholarly essays on the Civil War in the west. These guys have created a great repository of information. They have vetted all of the information. Check out their website if you need info on the Civil War on the western boarders.
I learned a lot about small slave holding families. It is still slavery, but it is a different kind of system than what was in the deep south on plantations. Farmers worked along side the slaves in the field in many cases. Farming was on a much smaller scale, therefore families had very few slaves compared to plantations.
Our day concluded at the Steamboat Arabia Museum. This was a steamboat that sunk in the Missouri River in the 1850s and was excavated in the 1980s. The ship was carrying cargo that was destined for some sort of general store. Most of the artifacts are still in pristine condition including the food! This was an incredible sight to see and an incredible story to hear.