Butler County Historical Society Kansas Oil Museum announces 11-week television series

Greg Williams
Butler County Times Gazette
The Butler County Historical Society Kansas Oil Museum in El Dorado

The Butler County Historical Society Kansas Oil Museum announces the premiere of their 11-week television series Kansas Crossroads of Butler County.

This will be the same pattern for 11 weeks for the series as each of the 11 episodes is introduced. The series begins on Thursday, July 8, at 8 p.m. on PBS Channel 8.1, then Fridays at noon and on Sundays at 3 p.m. on PBS 8.2 Explore.

"This is undoubtedly the best thing to come out of the pandemic in Butler County," said Executive Director of Butler County Historical Society Kansas Oil Museum Tiya Tonn.

This began in 2019 with the Smithsonian Museum and Humanities Kansas Rural Crossroads collaboration. They were selected as a partner site and work began by Suzanne Walenta, Butler County Historical Society/Kansas Oil Museum Curator.

The exhibit "Rural Crossroads, The Changing Faces and Places of Butler County", was set to open in April 2020, but was moved back to December 2020. 

The Museum team realized that bringing in visitors to view the story of the beginning of 15 communities across Butler County was not going to happen.

Museum History Consultant Ken Spurgeon, a noted award-winning historical documentarian and History Professor at Friends University, paired up with Walenta to turn the in-house exhibit into an online educational and entertaining program.

Every other Tuesday throughout 2021, the Kansas Oil Museum has taken a growing audience topping 25,000 on a tour across Butler County history through the Museum's Facebook page and YouTube channel.

The fanbase has grown with articles written and now a spinoff 11-week television series all because a small museum team would not back down on their commitment to educate and utilize a $1500 grant bestowed upon them by HumanitiesKansas two years prior.