The Butler County Historical Society and Kansas Oil Museum is asking Butler County residents to become part of the traveling Smithsonian/Humanities Kansas exhibit “Rural Crossroads: The Changing Faces and Places of Butler County”.


By contributing to this exhibit citizens can help tell the story of Butler County. Two areas of specific interest are Butler county towns and farms and ranches that are no longer in existence.


In 1900, about 40 percent of Americans lived in rural areas, By 2010, less than 18% of the U.S. population lived in rural areas. In just over a century, massive economic and social changes moved millions of Americans into urban areas. Yet, only 10% of the U.S. landmass is considered urban.


Many Americans consider rural communities to be endangered and hanging on by a thread—suffering from brain drain, inadequate schools, and a barren, overused landscape. Why should revitalizing the rural places left behind matter to those who remain, those who left, and those who will come in the future? Because there is much more to the story of rural America.


“Crossroads: Change in Rural America” is a traveling Smithsonian exhibition and is part of the Museum on Main Street (MoMS) collaboration between the Smithsonian Institution and state humanities councils nationwide.


The exhibit offers small towns a chance to look at their own paths to highlight the changes that affected their fortunes over the past century. The exhibition will prompt discussions about what happened when America’s rural population became a minority of the country’s population and the ripple effects that occurred.


Here is how you can be a part of this exhibit:


Search through your photos for any images of Butler County’s past (1850’s - present). Topics include, but are not limited to: specific & identifiable buildings; streets; roads; places; events; activities; etc.


Replicate that scene or take a current photo of the same topic.


Scan the photos & download the photo release form that can be found on the Kansas Oil Museum’s website.


Email the photo(s) and the completed photo release form to director@kansasoilmuseum.org. Please include any pertinent information you have regarding the photo, such as location, when it was taken, individuals in the photo and who took the photo.


Photos must be submitted by July 31, 2020


All photos, old and new, must be of Butler County people, places, activities, or events.


While no monetary compensation will be given for the scans of these photos, the museum will acknowledge the proper parties based on information provided in signed permission forms.


Release forms, as well as additional information, can be found by visiting kansasoilmuseum.org and clicking on the “Rural Crossroads” tab.