Special Events

Courses & Events

You won't want to miss this single-session presentation about the fascinating life of Judge Isaac Franklin Bradley Sr., born a slave in 1862 only months before President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation. He went on to become a pioneer activist who played a significant role in the history of our country, the history of the state of Kansas and more locally, the history of Kansas City, Kansas during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. As a social philosopher who wrote a trilogy of treatises on political economy, Judge Bradley was the first African American elected City Justice of the Peace in Kansas City, KS, a member of the historic Niagara Movement, which was the forerunner of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and the first African American to graduate from the KU School of Law. 

Join Frances Bradley Robinson, author of Reasons to Persist, a biography of her grandfather Judge Isaac Franklin Bradley Sr. as she discusses this incredible life journey. She is a retired music teacher, who has served as a member of many community organizations. She is also the author of the personal memoir, From Stressed to Blessed. 

Course Accessibility Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to attend University of Kansas sponsored events. If you require a reasonable accommodation in order to participate in an event, pleaseemail lpe@ku.edu orcall 913-897-8530 at least three weeks before the first day of the event. 



Monday, February 22, 2021, Zoom Facilitated Sessions (Online, WEB)
In preparation for our next bus trip to Crystal Bridges, enjoy this guided virtual tour with a docent from the museum. You will get an overview of the museum and an inside look at about six artworks from the collection, featuring such works as We The People by Nari Ward, Rosie the Riveter by Norman Rockwell, Kindred Spirits by Asher B. Durand, Jimson Weed/White Flower No. 1 by Georgia O'Keeffe, Untitled by Joan Mitchell, Portrait of a Florentine Nobleman by Kehinde Wiley and more. The 45-minute presentation will be followed with a Q & A session. After the presentation we will be joined by, esteemed Osher instructor, Janice Stuerzl, who will help us put the tour in context by sharing her vision of American art and its big ideas.


Tuesday, May 4, 2021, Zoom Facilitated Sessions (Online, WEB)
In 1961, Kansas celebrated her 100th birthday, Bob Dole began his first term as Congressman in the U.S. House of Representatives and the country embarked on a tumultuous period of political, social, and cultural change. Join Dole Institute staff for a virtual exhibit tour, discussion, and special-access collection features based on their latest temporary exhibit "From Appalachia to Vietnam," which highlights Kansans' perspectives on the issues of the decade based on letters from the collections of the Dole Archives. This project was made possible by a grant from Humanities Kansas in conjunction with the Crossroads: Change in Rural America programming initiative.  

Audrey Coleman is Associate Director and the Director of Museum & Archives, Julie Clover is Public Education Coordinator and Sarah Gard is Senior Archivist of the Robert & Elizabeth Dole Archive & Special Collections at the Dole Institute of Politics.


Monday, February 22, 2021, Zoom Facilitated Sessions (Online, WEB)
Join author Caroline Cocciardi for this one-time offering exploring a facet of Renaissance artist Leonardo da Vinci's artwork that has been overlooked for centuries but visual to the naked eye. Leonardo's placement and use of inspired knots throughout his artwork as seen in such iconic works as "Mona Lisa" to 'The Last Supper." The intertwining knot Leonardo invents tells the story of a hidden message unlocked by Cocciardi and revealed in Mona Lisa's embroidery pattern. This lecture is based on Caroline's book, Leonardo's Knots.  

Caroline Cocciardi writer and filmmaker began an independent study on Leonardo da Vinci, while living in Rome. Her 20-year research lead to a da Vinci discovery.


Monday, February 1, 2021, Zoom Facilitated Sessions (Online, WEB)
The Santa Fe Trail was arguably the most important commercial trail in the American West. In 1821 - as Missouri entered statehood and Mexico gained its independence from Spain - William Becknell led a handful of traders on the first successful trading expedition to Santa Fe, which was then part of Mexico. Starting out from the small town of Franklin on the Missouri River, they passed through "Indian Territory" (later to become the state of Kansas) to reach their destination and open the door for others to follow suit. The Santa Fe Trail served as an important route of commerce for the next six decades, remaining active until the railroads came onto the scene. 

Dave Kendall and Rex Buchanan (both of whom grew up in Kansas towns along the trail - Dave in Herington and Rex in Little River) discuss the impact and implications of the trail. Dave will show clips from their new documentary commemorating the trail's anniversary and Rex will focus on the landscapes, geology, and water along the route. 

With a BA in cultural geography and an MA in media anthropology from KU, Dave Kendall directed his first documentary in 1982 and has since produced dozens of programs related to Kansas history and culture. After serving as host of the "Sunflower Journeys" series on public television for 27 years, he retired from his position as Executive Producer at KTWU to form Prairie Hollow Productions, an independent production company through which he continues to produce documentaries. A fifth generation Kansan, his great, great grandfather served as a teamster on the Santa Fe Trail before settling down to farm in Morris County shortly before Kansas entered the union. 

Rex Buchanan grew up in Rice County, Kansas, on the edge of the Smoky Hills. After 38 years at the Kansas Geological Survey at the University of Kansas, he retired as Director Emeritus in 2016. He is the co-author of Petroglyphs of the Kansas Smoky Hills and Roadside Kansas: A Traveler's Guide to Its Geology and Landmarks, and editor of Kansas Geology: An Introduction to Landscapes, Rocks, Minerals, and Fossils (all published by the University Press of Kansas). He has an undergraduate degree from Kansas Wesleyan University and graduate degrees from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.


Monday, April 5, 2021, Zoom Facilitated Sessions (Online, WEB)
Written and conceived by Carlyle Brown, this speculative drama about the clash between art and politics celebrates the legacy of Langston Hughes and his literary activism in the face of oppressive power. Set in the poet's Harlem apartment on the night before his 1953 appearance before the House Un-American Activities Committee, the play weaves together musings, impassioned diatribes and Langston Hughes' poetry. The play is directed by Piet Knetsch, and features Darren Canady, of the KU English Department, as Langston Hughes. Join Dr. Knetsch at 6:30 p.m. on Zoom for an introduction to the show, then tune in to the streamed production at 7:30 p.m. 

Course Accessibility 
Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to attend University of Kansas sponsored events. If you require a reasonable accommodation in order to participate in an event, please email lpe@ku.edu or call 913-897-8530 at least three weeks before the first day of the event. 


Friday, February 5, 2021, Zoom Facilitated Sessions (Online, WEB)
Osher is excited to partner with the Lied Center of Kansas to present a Performance and Lecture Series for Osher participants and other community members. In this program, an online livestream of the performance will be presented from the Lied Center stage. Prior to the performance, there will be an educational lecture related to the performance. This collaboration aims to provide free access to quality, engaging performing arts experiences and education from the comfort and safety of participants' homes, during times of social distancing. Made possible by KS Creative Arts Industries Commission & National Endowment for the Arts grant.

Vanessa Thomas: "Growing up in a small rural farming - community, I had somehow always known I would be a professional singer, and I was exposed to all kinds of music in my home and community. I had no idea that one day I'd grace the stages of all the major symphony halls in the country, including Carnegie Hall. I hadn't even heard of Doc Severinsen or the Hollywood Bowl. After a year in NYC, I was determined to be an opera singer, but I soon realized that wasn't gonna be enough!" Pre-performance talk on Zoom at 6:30 p.m. 

Join Vanessa for a pre-performance talk on Zoom at 6:30 p.m. followed by a solo livestream performance from the stage at 7:15 p.m.


Thursday, January 28, 2021, Zoom Facilitated Sessions (Online, WEB)