Courses & Events

Perhaps no artist holds a more curious place in the story of American art than John James Audubon. Many consider Birds of America one of the greatest books by an artist. Who was Audubon and what led him to create this work? We will study Audubon's life and working methods in capturing 450 images of North American birds. In class, we'll examine several prints, including two originals, and learn more about the naturalist, ornithologist, woodsman, storyteller, and artist who was John James Audubon. So, is Audubon worthy of the society that bears his name?

NOTE: This course will meet in Regnier Hall 165 and not as listed in the catalog. 

June 4-18, 2019, Regnier Hall 165
We will examine the famed Kansas aviator who twice attempted to fly around the world. Both attempts failed with the last one creating an international mystery as to what happened to Earhart, how she may have died and the possibility that she may have survived. We will look into her life and discuss the assorted accounts of what may have happened to Earhart and her co-pilot Fred Noonan on July 2, 1937. We will discuss the $4.5 million search-and-rescue mission over a 250-square-mile area ordered by President Franklin Roosevelt. Lastly, we will look at the many theories surrounding her disappearance and whether she survived.This course has been cancelled.

July 1-15, 2019, Roeland Park Community Center
Behind every successful man, there is a woman, and throughout history, America's First Families have embodied this saying. The role of America's First Lady is ever changing with each new occupant of the White House. They are embedded in our memory as activists and leaders of the causes they championed. Women such as Eleanor Roosevelt, Betty Ford, Abigail Adams, and Hillary Clinton have advanced discussions on once-taboo subjects and have led as fascinating lives as their husbands. This course will examine the often-secluded lives of these women, their actions behind the scenes and their impact on our nation.

This course contains no sessions
The three most noted artists of American Regionalism will be the focus of this class: Thomas Hart Benton from Missouri, John Steuart Curry from Kansas, and Grant Wood from Iowa. How did these artists, with their anti-modernist tendencies, take on European abstract art and form a significant, if not major, American art movement? We'll examine their major works and the influences of their home states and region, an area that most in the class call home.

July 11-25, 2019, Jayhawk Area Agency on Aging

This course will explore the current political division within our country byexamining the impact  of current events,the exploitation by social media and the changing landscape of the politicalmachine since the 2016 presidentialelection. We'll focus on thecampaign timeline to illustrate how eventswere used to either enforce or spin an existing political narrative.We'll review the 2016 electioncycle with an objective view of events and an examination of the Russian influencethrough the use of "fake news." Finally,we'll provide critical thinking toolsto help make the 2020 presidentialelection more enjoyable, or at leastmore bearable.

June 13-27, 2019, Meadowlark Hills

Botanical gardens were first developed inthe 16th century as medicinalgardens, but today they are destination sites for plant lovers around theworld. From the oldest botanicalgarden in England, theChelsea Physic Garden,to the newly revived Scampston Hall walled garden in North Yorkshire,and from the local Bartlett Arboretum in Belle Plaine, Kan., to the Irish NationalGarden in Belfast, wewill explore the history, beautyand meaning of the botanical garden through photography, art andliterature. You won't want to miss this armchair tour!

June 17, 2019 to July 1, 2019, Brandon Woods Smith Center
This course reviews how the legal system treats persons with disabilities in the areas of non- discrimination, the criminal law, and life-and-death decisions. Week one reviews the history of discrimination against persons with disabilities and the federal laws prohibiting discrimination on the basis of disability. Week two examines issues a person with a disability faces if he or she is accused of a crime, such as competency to stand trial and the insanity defense. Week three looks at the sterilization of persons with mental disabilities and end-of-life decisions for disabled persons

July 11-25, 2019, St Andrews Classroom

This course will explore events leading to WWI and how western society, so full of progress and optimism, became embroiled in the most horrific conflict in history. We will discuss pre-war tensions and diplomatic maneuvering, how the nations of Europe were drawn in, the failure of rival plans for quick victory, the resulting stalemate and the evolution of extensive trench systems. We'll identify the main personalities and battles, which determined the outcome along with the factors that led to the Allied victory, including U.S. involvement. We'll examine the individual soldier and the"psychology of war," the misery of life in the trenches and how soldiers adapted.


June 5-19, 2019, Tomahawk Ridge Community Center
Prayer in public schools, the Ten Commandments on courthouse property, and nativity scenes at city hall-should these be permitted in American civic life? We've heard plenty from today's politicians and pundits. What were the views of the founders of our republic? What did they think was the proper role of religion in the nation they created? What do the religion clauses of the Constitution and Bill of Rights say? Are there other documents from this period that reveal how the framers understood the relationship between church and state? What were their religious beliefs and practices? These are just a few of the questions we will discuss as we try to shed light on the faiths of our founders.

June 6-20, 2019, Jayhawk Area Agency on Aging
July 11-25, 2019, Westchester Village of Lenexa

Have you ever looked at a work of art and wondered how it was made? What materials and techniques were involved in the creation of great works? Where artists got theirpaints, pastels, pencils and inks beforeAmazon? When we know what artistsendure to create a work ourunderstanding and appreciation for the art-and the artist-is enhanced. We'll look at great paintings, drawingsand prints through time, from cave paintings to today's art, and discuss how theywere and are made. Come discover how Vermeer and others obtained, made andpainted with that beautiful ultramarine blue.


June 25, 2019 to July 9, 2019, St Andrews Classroom

What separates a great movie from a terrible one? What elements go together to create an enduring classic? How do you describe your favorite movie to a friend, family member or significant other beyond the words "awesome," "boring" or "alien invasion?"In this class, you'll learn what the people who write about movies for a living think about when they watch a film and how to use that knowledge to deepen your own understanding of your favorite flicks. Together, we'll explore the elements and artistic choices of film making through short films,images and clips from both classics and recent releases.

July 9-23, 2019, St Andrews Classroom
You will never look at an Impressionist painting the same way again, once you are able to "put it in context." We'll begin by briefly reviewing the major periods of European art that led up to the Impressionist movement. Then we'll focus on world events, developments in science and technology, and the social and physical changes in Paris that were occurring in the mid-19th century. We'll conclude by looking together at key Impressionists and identifying how these seemingly disparate things converged, influenced them, and found such beautiful expression in their art.

July 11-25, 2019, Meadowbrook Park Clubhouse
Go mobile with your digital photography and explore creative possibilities with your iPhone camera. We will help expand your skill set using your iPhone camera, exploring the basic operations, tools, apps and tricks to help make you smartphone camera-smart. Included will be discussions and demonstrations on how to improve your photography through creative visual devices and techniques. Please bring your iPhones so we can do some hands-on practice in class.

July 9-23, 2019, Regnier Hall 163

The stories associated with supernatural beings and events link people to their origins and provide an explanation about their existence. With influences from Shintoism, Buddhism and Taoism, Japanese folklore is filled with supernatural beings ranging from gruesome and mysterious to humorous and playful. We'll introduce prominent Japanese apparitions, but we will also look beyond the initial spectacle depicted in folktales, historical accounts,statues, prints, writings, and theatrical performances to reveal the origins and effects of such beings on Japanese culture and society.

July 10-24, 2019, St Andrews Classroom
Kansas is often thought of as a vast collection of wheat fields and Dorothy references, but there is a deceptively interesting hidden history beneath the surface. The state's past is steeped in fascinating stories and places long forgotten. Dive into a collection of remarkable true stories such as the first woman mayor in the United States, the boy that survived a scalping, Wild West shootouts, ancient camels that once roamed the land, Bonnie & Clyde's misadventures, Denver's founding as a Kansas town and even a very lucky man that hanged his own would-be executioner.

July 16-30, 2019, Roeland Park Community Center
Images of Kansas range from the moral heartland where Superman was raised to Bleeding Kansas where neighbors took up arms against neighbors. This course will examine several notable Kansans within that range of images. First will be the Notorious-John Brown, the abolitionist or terrorist, and Dr. John R. Brinkley, the infamous goat gland doctor. Then we'll review the Self-Righteous-Carrie Nation and the Temperance Movement and Vern Miller, the Kansas Attorney General who sought to prohibit airlines from serving drinks while flying over "dry" Kansas. Finally will be the Innovators-Karl Menninger and his famous psychiatric clinic and Bill James, godfather of a new generation of baseball statistics.

July 12-26, 2019, Matt Ross Community Center
Kansas once led wine production in the U.S. and was home to more than 90 breweries before Prohibition. The Kansas legislature legally abolished the manufacture and sale of alcohol in the state in 1881 and doomed these industries. National Prohibition wouldn't occur for four decades. We'll examine the growth and demise of brewing and winemaking in Kansas. We'll discuss the social, moral, cultural and political forces in Kansas during the early and mid-19th century. Next, we'll learn how Prohibition dashed economic dreams or prompted entrepreneurs to conduct business in Missouri. Finally, we'll discuss the renaissance of local breweries and wineries.

June 6-20, 2019, Tallgrass Creek Retirement Community

At the end of the 19th century, artists began to challenge the belief that art must realistically depict the world. We'll explore the streams of intellectual thought, the innovations in science and technology, and the cultures that gave birth to the three great modern art movements: Cubism, Surrealism and Abstract Expressionism, and we'll see how the artists themselves were shaped by the eras in which they worked. Skeptics and enthusiasts alike will finally be able to "make sense of Modern Art."

June 6-20, 2019, St Andrews Classroom

Thesetwo great writers, contemporaries who lived through the Civil War era, bothwrote books of remarkable poems about this unique time in history, particularlyabout death, the great subject of the time, and also about battles,personalities, slavery and the poets' hopes and fears for their country. Wewill be discussing selected poems by both writers in the context of thatcritical era. In the process, perhaps you will come to view both the Civil Warand its poems in a way you have not seen them before.

June 4-18, 2019, St Andrews Classroom

Historic military leaders have won greatvictories, but they have also committed incredible blunders. We'll examine what  happened and how they might have beenaverted. First, we'll cover the Roman disaster in the Teutoburger Forest of 9 A.D.,the Scottish Battle of Bannockburn in 1314,and two Revolutionary battles-the Battle for New York and theBattle of Trenton. Then, we'llreview the 1814 Battle ofBladensburg and the capture of Washington, D.C.,the Civil War Battle of the Crater, and the Battle of the Little Bighorn. Finally, we'll examine WWI'sBattle of Verdun, WWII's Operation Market Garden and the Battle of the Bulge.

July 11-25, 2019, St Andrews Classroom
Kansas has been home to a variety of unique, colorful and important individuals. First will be Joseph G. McCoy, the entrepreneur who brought cattle from the fields of Texas to the railroads at Abilene, creating the iconic cowboy image. Next will be Tom Pendergast, whose political machine ran Kansas City for almost 30 years. William Allen White, editor of the Emporia Gazette, was an advisor to eight U.S. presidents. Finally, we'll focus on Dr. James Naismith, the inventor of basketball, and his years at the University of Kansas, including mentoring Hall of Famer John McLendon, who could not play at Kansas because he was African-American.

This course contains no sessions
Click here to be notified about the next scheduled program.

In this course we will explore the music and lives of some of the great composers of classical music. We will track their careers from their early work, through influences that impacted their musical styles, to the late work that culminated their careers. Each class will explore one or two composers in detail, with many musical examples. Composers will range from Johann Sebastian Bach to Philip Glass and several in between.

July 9-23, 2019, McCrite Plaza at Briarcliff
Excluded from the Major Leagues due to racial discrimination until the mid-20th century, African Americans formed their own professional baseball leagues. In this course we will examine the deep roots African Americans have in America's great game because of the Negro League era. We'll see how the Negro leagues provided a vehicle for African Americans and dark-skinned Latino players to showcase their baseball talents despite racial and economic obstacles. Telling the stories of "Satchel" Paige, Josh Gibson and others, this course paints a true picture of Negro League baseball embedded in the fabric of 20th-century American history.

July 18, 2019 to August 1, 2019, Townplace Suites, Jayhawk Room

Although federal highway construction started in 1916,the U.S. became a car-oriented nationafter World War II. Some of us recall tourist travel on Route 66 or the Lincoln Highway when they were two-lane roads,eating homemade sandwiches or foodfrom roadside diners, spending the night at modest tourist courts while on theway to the Grand Canyon, Mt. Rushmore, or lesser known travel destinations.Then came the Interstate Highways, Howard Johnsonsand Holiday Inn. We will recallthe years when gas was cheap and cars were large through film clips, historical accounts, travel music and ourown memories.


July 10-24, 2019, Brewster Place
Between 1917 and 1936, Martin and Osa Johnson of Chanute, Kan., travelled throughout the South Pacific and Africa documenting their adventures with reels of black and white film. In Borneo they encountered headhunters and cannibals, and in Africa Martin filmed close-ups of lions, elephants, rhinos, and zebras while Osa stood close by with a gun at the ready. We'll recount their adventures starting in Chanute before heading to more exotic places. We'll review the many books, still photos and documentaries they produced to wide acclaim around the world. Today, the Martin & Osa Johnson Safari Museum in Chanute stands in testament to their work.

July 9-23, 2019, Aldersgate Village Manchester Lodge
This course will explore philanthropy from the donor's perspective. Examine real-life situations, tools and techniques that allow people to have more money currently through tax deductions, guaranteed income for life and asset protection from creditors. Did you know that you could redirect money that you pay in taxes to your favorite charitable organizations? Also we'll hear from a guest speaker from the KU Endowment Association who will explain how non-profits operate today and how vital they are to our society.

NOTE: This course will meet in Regnier Hall 165 and not as listed in the catalog. 

June 10-24, 2019, Regnier Hall 165
John Wilkes Booth and Lee Harvey Oswald are notorious for their assassinations, but who were Charles Guiteau and Leon Czolgosz, and why did they murder Presidents Garfield and McKinley? There have been 28 documented assassination attempts on 22 sitting or former presidents or presidents-elect. In Milwaukee, Teddy Roosevelt was shot in the chest, but finished his campaign speech. In Miami, Guiseppe Zangara fired five shots at FDR, but killed Chicago Mayor Anton Cermak. And we'll discuss attempts to assassinate Presidents Obama and Trump. We'll uncover them all and closely examine the men...and women...who killed (or tried to kill) the president of the United States.

This course contains no sessions
Click here to be notified about the next scheduled program.

America's presidents leadextraordinary lives and make unique contributions to society. But the story doesn't end when theirterms expire. Presidents have liveda combined 450 years after leaving the White House. Many go onto accomplish more than they did while in office. Jimmy Carter eradicatedguinea worm disease, William Howard Taft became ChiefJustice of the United States, and George Washington established one of thelargest alcohol distilleries

in the nation. This course willexamine the lives of our former commanders in chief after public office,including their libraries and monuments, and often overlooked gooddeeds.

June 4-18, 2019, St Andrews Classroom
We'll study the styles of leadership of two American presidents as they dealt with the day-to-day issues of World War II and their plans for post-war recovery in Europe and Asia. We will compare and contrast how FDR was elected four times while Truman struggled to get elected in his own right. We'll also examine the style and flourish of FDR versus the quiet and reserved Truman. We will review the issues of the time-the Manhattan Project, integration of the Armed Forces, and dealing with Stalin and the oncoming Cold War with the Communists. Finally, we'll look at how the White House changed during Roosevelt's and Truman's terms in office.

June 4-18, 2019, NW Missouri State University - Kansas City

Long before Kansas womenobtained the unfettered right to votein 1912 (a full eightyears before the 19th Amendment established that right nationally), they foundother ways to affect policy in publicspheres dominated by men. The same indomitable spirit that enabled pioneer women to withstand the rigors of frontierlife infused their efforts to shapethe society in which they lived. Sara Robinson, Julia Lovejoy, Clarina Nichols, Carry Nation, Annie Diggs, Mary Lease, and Lilla Day Monroe, among others, took on such struggles as those toabolish slavery, repel demon rum,improve the lot of farmers and secure more rights for women.

June 5-19, 2019, Brewster Place

Few places in the world have experienced as much historical drama as the world's longest river. For more than 4,500, years the Nile has witnessed sweeping events of discovery, conflict and engineering. It's been the stage for larger-than-life characters, remarkable edifices and far-reaching ideas. Join us for a sampling of stories that illustrate the geography, cultures and history of that primeval waterway, the Nile River.


June 6-20, 2019, Meadowbrook Park Clubhouse
July 8-22, 2019, NW Missouri State University - Kansas City
July 11-25, 2019, Tallgrass Creek Retirement Community

The 1936 Berlin Summer Olympic Gameswere mainly a propaganda event for Hitler'sNazi Party.  Butthe Americans-including a group of Kansas farm boys, the inventor of"basketball,"and Jesse Owens- oftenstole the spotlight from the host Germans. We'llreview the struggles of the Kansas Olympians to earn their way to Germany; discuss the internationalpolitics, boycotts and the glittering spectacle that defined the Berlin Games and document the Americans'competitive efforts, including the first Olympic gold medal awarded inbasketball. Finally, we look at the "Hitler Olympics" in retrospect.


July 11-25, 2019, Regnier Hall 163
We will relive one of the most spectacular journeys in American history, the Lewis and Clark "Corps of Discovery" expedition to explore the Louisiana Purchase and find a route to the Pacific Ocean. This exciting human drama, which lasted from 1804 to 1806, began in St. Louis, reached the Pacific Northwest, and then returned, adding to our knowledge of the region while generating stories and adventures. We will view the beautifully produced Ken Burns/Dayton Duncan PBS video, listen to music played during or inspired by the trip, and read brief commentaries of trip participants and observers.

This course contains no sessions
In 1775, gunfire broke out on a village green in Massachusetts. The skirmish was preceded by years of friction between Britain and its discontented American colonies. A new idea was taking hold, an idea that turned centuries of hierarchy upside down. Were people destined to be ruled by kings? Or, were people capable of choosing their own leaders? Subjects or citizens? The notion of a republic had been entirely discredited in Europe, but in the new land of America, people were enthused by the prospects. This course addresses the causes, the personages, the combat, and the diplomacy that launched an embryonic state on a path of greatness.This course has been cancelled.

This course contains no sessions
This course will examine the crucial eastern theater of the Civil War. First we'll review the first two years of the war where Confederate tactical dominance consistently defeated larger Union armies. Then we'll review the pivotal year 1863 and Lee and Jackson's great victory at Chancellorsville and the war's great turning-point with the Union's victory at Gettysburg. Finally, we'll look in depth at Grant's assumption of command in the east and his brilliant "overland campaign" culminating in the siege of Petersburg and the South's surrender at Appomattox. In addition to the emphasis on the military campaign, the social and political events in the east will also be discussed.

This course contains no sessions

The Great Depression of the 1930s was the longest period of "hard times" in U.S. history. However, not every family had the same experience. We will cover various personal situations and national trends, as well as events in Kansas, including the Dust Bowl. We'll examine President Hoover's efforts and Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal programs like the Works Progress Administration and the Agricultural Adjustment Administration. We will also view the New Deal's legacy, including the FDIC and Social Security. Finally,we'll listen to 1930s music and share family stories from this tumultuous era.

June 3-17, 2019, St Andrews Classroom

George W. Bush and Donald Trump won recent presidential elections despite getting fewer popular votes than their opponents. They owed their victories to the role of the Electoral College, a unique institution mandated by the American Constitution. Why was the Electoral College included in the Constitution? How did it work initially? How does it work now? What prompted the changes in its functioning over the course of American history? What are its strengths and weaknesses? Can it be eliminated or reformed? What are the leading proposals to change the method by which we select our presidents? This course will address these questions.

This course contains no sessions

This course will explore the historical development of the U.S.-Mexico border from the perspective of both Mexico and the United States.Together, we will explore how the border evolved and hardened through the creation of the Border Patrol, the Mexican Revolution and the effects of Prohibition. We'll review personal accounts, photographs and songs of"borderlanders," along with government officials providing crucial context to today's current debates. Finally, we will examine how to negotiate the border in the age of nationalism.

NOTE: This course will meet in Regnier Hall 165 and not as listed in the catalog. 

June 11-25, 2019, Regnier Hall 165
During this course, we'll examine the life of Harry Truman, his family, his rise through the political ranks and his career in the U.S. Senate. Finally, we'll explore Truman's selection as Franklin Roosevelt's vice president and how he was thrust into the presidency during our nation's most troubled times.

June 12-26, 2019, Senior Resource Center for Douglas County
Star Wars premiered nearly half a century ago to become a cinematic and cultural phenomenon. Hundreds of millions of people the world over, young and old, have seen episodes of this motion picture series, and have become eager consumers of its merchandise from action figures to lunch boxes. Many fans, however, are unaware of the powerful mythological themes animating the Star Wars narrative, especially those surveyed in Joseph Campbell's The Hero with a Thousand Faces. We'll embark on our own hero's journey through Campbell's work, and with the aid of excerpts from Star Wars, learn how and why this saga has had such a hold on our imaginations.

June 7-21, 2019, Matt Ross Community Center
During the mid-19th century, the Underground Railroad was a critical network of routes and safe houses that provided escaped slaves a pathway from plantations in the South to freedom in the North or Canada. In this course, we will closely examine the important role Northeast Kansas played in the Underground Railroad. We'll meet the heroic men and women who risked their lives to aid those desperate fugitives whose only road to freedom ran through Kansas. We'll also meet those brave refugees, hear their stories, and visit the local routes and safe houses that were critical to their perilous journeys to freedom.

July 18, 2019 to August 1, 2019, Kansas City Kansas Community College Technical Education Center, Room M118

Before the increasing news coverage, any mention of Uyghurs was mostly met with a puzzled look. Who are they ... and how is that pronounced? As news venues have highlighted the plight of this Turkic ethnic group in far western China, awareness is growing, but still many questions remain. In this course, we will explore the history and culture of Uyghurs living in a region that has a contested past. The goal of this course is to promote understanding of the complex historical, cultural, political and economic reasons behind the current human rights atrocities against Uyghurs and other Turkic populations in Xinjiang.

NOTE: This course will meet in Regnier Hall 165 and not as listed in the catalog. 

June 13-27, 2019, Regnier Hall 165

The collaboration of Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II resulted in the creation of the modern American musical play, where a serious story was told through dialogue, music and dance.Building upon their decades of writing Broadway musicals with other partners, Rodgers and Hammerstein became the most important creative team in the history of the American musical theater. This course will include detailed commentary on several of their most important shows.

June 10-24, 2019, Claridge Court
Works of art tell fascinating stories about 18th-century France—the century of Versailles, the Enlightenment and the French Revolution.

This course contains no sessions
Click here to be notified about the next scheduled program.
Was Rembrandt an experimental etcher? Did Vermeer use a camera obscura? And how did van Gogh's use of color and impasto application of paint influence modern art? We'll learn how Rembrandt was inspired by the Bible, why Vermeer's reputation is based on just 34 paintings, and how Vincent van Gogh, in an artistic career of less than 10 years (three of which were spent learning to draw), became one of the most beloved and prized artists of all time. These questions and more will be discussed while viewing some of the most beautiful and significant paintings in the world.

July 11-25, 2019, Mill Creek Activity Center
Rock music during the 1967-69 countercultural era started with the Summer of Love and ended tragically just two years later. We will explore cultural and political events of the time from the Monterey International Pop Music Festival, through the Woodstock Music and Art Fair, and ending at the Altamont Speedway Festival. While Monterey introduced the world to many soon-to-be famous performers, Woodstock gave its name to a generation, and Altamont brought the era of love and trust to a sad end. Join the conversation as we recall this seminal time in American history.

June 11-25, 2019, Kansas City Kansas Community College Technical Education Center, Room M118

History's most destructive war began onSeptember 1, 1939 in Europe, and eventually spread across the world. We'llreview the events leading up to the war, the German advances of 1939-1941 andAmerica's subsequent entry into conflict. Then, we'll focus on the titanicstruggle in Russia, and the campaigns in North Africa and Sicily. The finalclass will examine the Allies' return to Europe with the D-Day landings, the1943-1945 Russian counteroffensives, the liberation of Western Europe, and thefall of the Third Reich.

June 5-19, 2019, Meadowlark Hills