Johnson County

Courses & Events

Laugh out loud and join us as we explore the topic of humor. What makes someone funny one minute and not the next? In this class we will discuss the fate of many humorists, who were very popular while writing, but were ignored afterward. Some of the humorists we will study include: "New Yorker" writers (S.J. Perelman, James Thurber and Calvin Trillin) and newspaper columnists (Art Buchwald, Erma Bombeck, Russell Baker and Dave Barry). Why were they funny then but not so much now? Which one could be re-read with pleasure?

April 16-30, 2020, St. Michael and All Angels Episcopal Church (Mission, KS)
From Superman and Batman to Donald Duck and Uncle Scrooge to 50s horror comics to Spider- man and the X-Men to today's billion dollar movie blockbusters, this course takes us on a journey through the colorful action-packed history of comic books. Whether you favor funny animals, teenage hijinks, super-heroes, romance, science fiction or horror, we will cover it all in this examination of the almost 100 year history of this most American of inventions.

February 10-24, 2020, Edwards Campus Regents Center 108 (Overland Park, KS)
History and science take center stage at the Museum at Prairiefire. Through a mix of permanent and traveling exhibits, as well as interactive spaces like the Discovery Room, museum visitors explore both regional and worldwide paleontology, geology, astronomy and more. The education begins before you walk through the door with the eye-catching exterior, which has become one of the most photographed places in Overland Park. Inside the museum, the learning continues in thoughtfully designed spaces that teach visitors through immersion and interaction. Join us for a Magical Natural History Tour and discover how ancient Romans helped design the Museum at Prairiefire. Meet the boy from Kansas who discovered Tyrannosaurus Rex and learn how you are related to a Permian monster! We will keep you entertained and in awe as you make your way around the museum during this exclusive, behind-the-scenes experience. Maximum of 30 participants. Register today! Wednesday, April 8th at 6:30 p.m. at Museum at Prairefire 5801 W. 135th Street Overland Park. $30 fee includes talk, animal presentations, exclusive tour and reception. Refund must be requested by April 1, minus a $15 administrative fee.

Wednesday, April 8, 2020
The Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Ark., boasts a world-class collection of American masterworks on 120 acres of natural Ozark landscape. While there, you may choose among various tours offered during our time at the museum: Bachman-Wilson House - Enjoy this exquisite Frank Lloyd Wright house built originally in New Jersey, but skillfully disassembled and reconstructed on a specially designed site. Docent-led tour. Architecture Tour - This tour introduces the unique features of Moshe Safdie's design (who also designed the Kauffman Center) and provides insights into some of the challenges the site posed. Docent-led tour. Collection Highlights Tour - Visit some of the best-known names in American art, including Gilbert Stuart's George Washington, Asher B. Durand's Kindred Spirits and Norman Rockwell's Rosie the Riveter. Docent-led tour.Art Trail Tour -View the sculptures, waterways, and native plants found along Crystal Bridges' Art Trail-a paved path that includes a steep incline requiring appropriate footwear. Self-guided tour. Infinity Mirrored Room - This artwork by Yayoi Kusama is an enclosed room filled with mirrors and dotted paper lanterns that change color. Not for individuals sensitive to flashing lights. Viewing time is 90 seconds. Admission to the museum is free, but the docent-led tours are $10 each tour. Pay only for the tours you want when you register. On Wednesday, April 29th we'll enjoy an eclectic mix of American and Italian fine cuisine in historic downtown Bentonville at Fiamma, followed by our first tour. That evening we'll have dinner at Fred's Hickory Inn.On Thursday, April 30th more scheduled tours and/or exploring the museum, gift shop and grounds on your own and enjoying an included lunch at your pace and on your schedule. That evening we'll explore downtown Bentonville and dinner on your own in one of the colorful restaurants.On Friday, May 1st after breakfast, we'll board the bus for a visit to the Museum of Native American History, before heading down the road to Lamar, Mo., birthplace of Harry Truman. Then we're on to Fort Scott, where we'll enjoy lunch and a visit to the Gordon Parks Museum on the campus of Fort Scott Community College. Wednesday- April 29th at 7:00 a.m. - Coach departs Lawrence Osher Institute, 1515 St. Andrews Dr., and returns on Friday at approximately 4:00 p.m.Wednesday - April 29th at 8:00 a.m. - Coach departs KU Edwards Campus, 12600 Quivira Rd., Overland Park and returns Friday at 3:00 p.m.$445 fee per person - double occupancy.$545 fee - single occupancy. Fee includes coach transportation, lodging, welcome reception, two breakfasts, three lunches and dinner on Wednesday evening. Dinner on Thursday is not included. Museum tour fees - $10 each. Request for refund will be honored on or before April 22nd minus a $100 administrative fee.

April 29, 2020 to May 1, 2020, Lawrence Campus St Andrews Classroom (Lawrence, KS)
These women pushed the boundaries of art in media, style and subject matter. First Georgia O'Keeffe, known for her paintings of enlarged flowers, New York skyscrapers and New Mexico landscapes; and Käthe Kollwitz,a German painter, printmaker and sculptor, whose work depicts poverty and hunger. Then Frida Kahlo, the Mexican painter whose naïve folk art style explored identity, gender, class and race; and Faith Ringgold, African-American, known for her narrative quilts influenced by the people, poetry and music of Harlem. Then Barbara Hepworth, English painter and sculptor, whose work exemplifies Modernism; and finally Louise Bourgeois, French large-scale sculptor, installation artist, painter and printmaker.

April 2-16, 2020, Tallgrass Creek Retirement Community (Overland Park, KS)
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.

February 18, 2020 to March 3, 2020, Townplace Suites, Jayhawk Room (Leavenworth, KS)
March 10-24, 2020, Tomahawk Ridge Community Center (Overland Park, KS)
Following a long and arduous warring states period, Japan entered a time of peace under the Tokugawa Shogunate which opened opportunities for art and culture. The stunning theater arts of Bunraku (Puppet) and Kabuki delighted crowds while Samurai established schools and cultivated the arts of Zen meditation, tea ceremony, poetry and calligraphy. Woodblock prints, including those of the Ukiyo-e (Floating World) style promoted, reflected and preserved this exquisite period of artistic expression. The instructor will share samples of kimono and other Japanese textiles and tea ceremony implements.

April 6-20, 2020, Lenexa City Hall at City Center (Lenexa, KS)
Arlington National Cemetery is America's most hallowed shrine. We'll review its colorful history from its pre-Civil War days as Robert E. Lee's home through current U.S. conflicts. We'll recount lives of the famous and not-so-famous buried there, from presidents to privates, officers to enlisted men, Supreme Court justices to unknown slaves. We'll visit its major monuments and memorials, including Tomb of the Unknowns and the September 11th Memorial. We'll look at eligibility for burial, types of military honors, and how this modern cemetery administers 37 burials every weekday.

February 27, 2020 to March 12, 2020, Tallgrass Creek Retirement Community (Overland Park, KS)
Botanical gardens were first developed in the 16th century as medicinal gardens, but today they are destination sites for plant lovers around the world. From the oldest botanical garden in England, the Chelsea 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 National Garden in Belfast, we will explore the history, beauty and meaning of the botanical garden through photography, art and literature. You won't want to miss this armchair tour!

April 2-16, 2020, Kansas State University - Olathe (Olathe, KS)
April 3-17, 2020, Matt Ross Community Center (Overland Park, KS)
During the 16th and 17th centuries, Spanish explorers in search of great riches ventured onto the southern plains in what is now Kansas. Two major expeditions, Francisco Vazquez de Coronado and Juan de Oñate, visited the plains in search of Quivira. Both explorers had previously gone to New Mexico looking for Cibola, but were disappointed in the Pueblos there. On the plains they found extensive Indian villages along the Arkansas River growing corn, beans and squash and hunting buffalo. We will examine these and other expeditions to understand the Spanish experience and learn about indigenous people and their contact with Europeans in the early centuries.

February 13-27, 2020, Kansas State University - Olathe (Olathe, KS)
March 4-18, 2020, Lawrence Campus St Andrews Classroom (Lawrence, KS)
With support from our members, the Osher Institute has established a scholarship program for deserving adult learners who simply cannot afford the registration fees for Osher courses. Qualified seniors would be able to enroll for just $10 per course with the remainder of the fee coming from the scholarship fund.Working with senior centers in six counties-Douglas, Riley, Shawnee, Johnson, Leavenworth and Wyandotte-we'll identify eligible seniors. To qualify, seniors must meet one of three conditions: Live in subsidized housing; Receive food stamps; Be on Medicaid.Once they qualify they can register for two courses each semester. To apply for a scholarship, the applicants should call or visit their county's senior center. The senior center staff will determine the applicants' eligibility, and if they qualify, they'll be entered into the Osher Institute's database. Then the applicant can simply call Osher's Contact Center to register for as many as two courses per semester. (Scholarships are only available for Osher courses. They cannot be used for special events.)To help support the scholarship fund, please click the link below. If you have questions, please contact Linda Kehres at 785-864-1373 or linda.k@ku.edu. Thank you.

December 11, 2019 to May 15, 2020
The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at KU was established in 2004 by a grant for the Bernard Osher Foundation as an outreach program of the University of Kansas. Its mission is to offer noncredit enrichment courses and events to folks over 50 years of age, although we welcome learners of all ages. We rely on financial support from our members and the community to create a sustainable program. If you would like to support the Osher Institute, please click the link below. If you have questions, please contact Linda Kehres at 785-864-1373 or linda.k@ku.edu. Thank you.

December 11, 2019 to May 15, 2020
This class will explore Federico Fellini (1920-1993) who celebrates his 100th birthday this year! Federico was the great "fabulist" of film for whom life was a circus ring of beauty and terror. During week one, we will examine Fellini's roots in "Italian neo-realism" in the late 1940s" (The Miracle, I Vitelloni). Week two will trace his global celebrity in the 1950s and early 1960s (La Strada, La Dolce Vita, 8 1/2). Week three will continue with the "surreal fantasies" and "erotic dreams" of his later years (Fellini Satyricon, Juliet of the Spirits, Amarcord). We'll also discuss other Fellini-related events in and around the KU campus.

February 5-19, 2020, Lawrence Campus St Andrews Classroom (Lawrence, KS)
February 6-20, 2020, Edwards Campus Regnier Hall 165 (Overland Park, KS)
Did you know that 30 percent of Kansans claim German ancestry, and German is the most prevalent language after English and Spanish spoken in homes in 77 counties in Kansas? Since the opening of Kansas in 1854, thousands of German-speaking immigrants have sought to better their lives here, including Pennsylvania Dutch, Volga Germans, Mennonites, Austrians and Swiss. German churches dot the prairie, and even now, many rural Kansans speak a dialect of German as their first language.

February 14-28, 2020, Matt Ross Community Center (Overland Park, KS)
March 31, 2020 to April 14, 2020, Eudora Community Museum (Eudora, KS)
April 1-15, 2020, TownePlace Suites: Jayhawk Room (Leavenworth, KS)
Kansas is home to numerous inventors and entrepreneurs who have contributed to the history and culture of food and drink. We'll examine the territorial days of Kansas in the mid-1800s to discover what people ate and drank. Next, we'll explore how generations of immigrant and native Kansans influenced and created sweet treats, kitchen staples, fast food, and booze consumed from the 1900s to present. From ICEEs to oysters, burgers to bierocks, this food history of Kansas will whet your appetite to learn more.

February 13-27, 2020, Roeland Park Community Center (Roeland Park, KS)
March 17-31, 2020, Aberdeen Village (Olathe, KS)
Impressionist artists shocked the world, not only with their radical new style, but also with their subject matter. We'll begin in the rural village of Barbizon, learning how Impressionism began. Then we will travel to the gardens, the ballet, the city and the water, discovering how 19th century French culture influenced the choice of subject and how artists expressed their personal interests in their beautiful, light-filled works of art. (This is Impressionism Part II - no prerequisite.) Note: The course will meet in BEST 130, which is a change from the catalog.

March 31, 2020 to April 14, 2020, Edwards Campus BEST 130 (Overland Park, KS)
Like all conflicts, the War of 1812 affected the social and political development of its participants and their people: the U.S., Britain, Canada and the native tribes of North America. This course examines the fascinating lives of some of its better-known participants, including Tecumseh, James and Dolly Madison, and Andrew Jackson. We'll also learn about some lesser-known personalities such as William Apess, a Pequot, who served as a drummer in the U.S. Army; Laura Secord, who warned British officers of an impending attack; Isaac Brock, the tragic British general turned Canadian hero; and Betsy Doyle, the Molly Pitcher of the War of 1812.

March 4-18, 2020, Kansas State University - Olathe (Olathe, KS)
In this course we will explore the major themes, events and historical figures of Latin America's recent past. A specific focus will be placed on the late 19th century, the Cold War and the recent rise of populist governments. The class will examine the impact of United States imperialism and will discuss the rise of right-wing nationalist governments, as well as the role of historical memory in regional identity. Finally we will explore what history might tell about the future direction of this important part of the world.

February 12-26, 2020, Edwards Campus Regents Center 108 (Overland Park, KS)
Classical music composers have found inspiration in many places. In this course you will explore classical music inspired by works of nature. The first class will focus on music inspired by the wonders of the earth, such as mountains, valleys, oceans and nature occurrences. The second class will explore music inspired by the plant kingdom such as trees, flowers and forests. The third class will be devoted to music representing the animal kingdom, such as birds, swans, fish, bears, elephants, monkeys and even whales. Come prepared to look at classical music from a whole new perspective.

February 11-25, 2020, Mission Square (Mission, KS)
The music of many of history's greatest composers is best understood in the context of the times in which they lived, and the experiences they had in their own lives. Part I of this course covered 12 of history's greatest composers and discussed their music and their lives. This course will add 12 more composers, including Handel, Beethoven, Rossini, Chopin, Smetana, Borodin, Ravel, Gershwin and Prokofiev. Come learn more about the vibrant music created by these masters and how that music reflected their lives and times. Note: Attendance at Part I is not a prerequisite to your full enjoyment of Part II.

February 25, 2020 to March 10, 2020, Claridge Court (Prairie Village, KS)
The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at the University of Kansas offers noncredit short courses and special events developed especially for folks over 50. Give the gift of learning through an Osher Gift Certificate which enables the recipient to attend one Osher course for free! Our courses are taught two hours each week for three weeks. To give someone an Osher Gift Certificate, please click the link below. If you have questions, please contact Linda Kehres at 785-864-1373 or linda.k@ku.edu.

December 17, 2019 to May 15, 2020
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 nonprofits operate today and how vital they are to our society.

April 23, 2020 to May 7, 2020, Edwards Campus Regnier Hall 165 (Overland Park, KS)
America's presidents lead extraordinary lives and make unique contributions to society. But the story doesn't end when their terms expire. Presidents have lived a combined 450 years after leaving the White House. Many go on to accomplish more than they did while in office. Jimmy Carter eradicated guinea worm disease, William Howard Taft became Chief Justice of the United States, and George Washington established one of the largest alcohol distilleries in the nation. This course will examine the lives of our former commanders in chief after public office, including their libraries and monuments, and often overlooked good deeds.

March 5-19, 2020, Roeland Park Community Center (Roeland Park, KS)
What most people know about Emily Dickinson is that she wrote poetry, only wore white and was an eccentric recluse. But is this an accurate representation of Dickinson? In this course we will look at how Emily Dickinson's family and friends, the religious milieu in which she lived and her own spirituality contributed to her becoming the poet and person she was. We will also look at a fraction of Emily Dickinson's nearly 1,800 poems, and some of her letters, to better understand how family life, nature, education, health, war, women's roles and religion influenced their lyricism and themes.

February 12-26, 2020, Edwards Campus Regents Center 108 (Overland Park, KS)

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.

April 21, 2020 to May 5, 2020, Edwards Campus Regnier Hall 155 (Overland Park, KS)
Between 1830 and 1862, the Rev. Thomas Johnson (after whom Johnson County is named) was associated with a school and a mission on the Shawnee Reservation in the area west of Missouri. The school provided both a traditional segment education and a manual labor portion and provided the opportunity for students to embrace Christianity. The story of its origin and expansion from a small day school to a substantial boarding school was due to the work of a group of missionaries, teachers and their students whose impact reached beyond their 2,000 acres. Let's explore this rich history.

March 24, 2020 to April 7, 2020, Shawnee Indian Mission (Fairway, KS)
Want to understand the common spiritual bonds shared by the three great religions that claim Abraham as their patriarch? Throughout time the adherents of these three faith groups have tended to their souls through the same spiritual disciplines: fixed-hour prayer, sacred day, sacred meal, fasting, giving, pilgrimage and the observance of sacred seasons. Each faith group believes that through these disciplines they become the people God called them to be. Class sessions will focus on specific spiritual disciplines and how they are understood and practiced in each group.

March 12-26, 2020, Meadowbrook Park Clubhouse (Prairie Village, KS)
The stakes are high, the politics intense. Social Security provides Americans with financial protection against some risks of life, paying benefits to millions of retired and disabled workers and their families and to families of deceased workers. In Kansas, there are half a million child, adult, and elderly beneficiaries. The program had its last makeover in 1983 and is due for another if it is to serve the generations of the 21st century. Reform proposals are controversial, caught up in larger struggles about the role of government in American life. Will the fixes for Social Security mend it, end it or expand it?

February 4-18, 2020, Edwards Campus Regnier Hall 155 (Overland Park, KS)
March 31, 2020 to April 14, 2020, Lawrence Campus St Andrews Classroom (Lawrence, KS)
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.

March 30, 2020 to April 13, 2020, New Century Fieldhouse (New Century, KS)
Two Holocaust survivors, one a young Jewish boy, the other a Catholic teenage Polish Resistance fighter, would meet years later as professors at KU and form a strong friendship. The story of Lou Frydman explores the Holocaust and his eyewitness account of Jewish resistance in the concentration camps. Jarek Piekalkiewicz's story as a Polish Resistance fighter illustrates the mistakes, triumphs, history and organization of the Polish Resistance-the most effective underground movement to challenge the Nazis. We'll discuss what it means to lose not just one's family, but one's whole community and way of life, and the challenge of creating a new life in a new land.

February 4-18, 2020, Mission Chateau (Prairie Village, KS)
Research in the past decade has brought about a remarkable paradigm shift from aging as a problem to aging as a time of promise and potential. You already know the downfalls a normal aging brain may experience: slower speed of recall, "senior moments" and the "why-did-I-come-into-this-room?" perplexity. Now learn about the marvelous gifts your aging brain wants to deliver. Understanding the positive power of a normal aging brain positions you to take full advantage of rewards and capacities, which were unavailable to the younger you.

February 13-27, 2020, Meadowbrook Park Clubhouse (Prairie Village, KS)
March 2-16, 2020, Senior Resource Center for Douglas County (Lawrence, KS)