Locations

Topeka

Courses & Events

Join us as we say farewell to our outgoing director Jim Peters and welcome our new director, Linda Kehres. Farewelcome! We'll also celebrate the Osher Institute's 15th Anniversary.After nearly eight years as Osher Institute director, Jim is retiring. "We have always tried to refresh our program with new partners, instructors, courses, programs and volunteers," said Peters. "Now it's time to refresh our leadership as well, to pass the baton to our new director, Linda Kehres, who is certain to bring fresh ideas and new energy to the Institute. Let's welcome Linda!" Jim's last official day will be Sept. 30, and we wish him well.Linda comes to the Osher Institute from her position as executive director of Let's Help, a nonprofit community organization in Topeka that promotes a wide variety of services for those in need.We will salute our directors with a reception in their honor on Friday, Oct. 18, from 4:30-6:30 p.m. at the Lied Center Pavilion. A brief program is scheduled for 5:30 p.m.The event is open to the public and admission is free, although registration is required. Register today!Join us as we celebrate our 15th Anniversary and the passing of the leadership baton.


Friday, October 18, 2019, Lied Center
Kansas City has been called "The City of Fountains," but isn't it so much more? Perhaps a better moniker would be "City of Great Public Art!"Join us as we take two tours of Kansas City's most notable artworks. One tour will start in Lawrence and another from the KU Edwards Campus in Overland Park. Both will visit dozens of iconic artworks from Downtown to Crown Center to the Plaza, all introduced and detailed by Ann Wiklund, the Osher Institute's art historian in residence.Among the sites we'll see are "Bird Lives," the larger- than-life sculpture of jazz great Charlie Parker created by Robert Graham and located at 18th & Vine. We'll travel downtown to see Donald Lipinsky's 30-foot homage to Rodin, "Rodinrodannadanna and "Corps of Discovery" by Eugene Daub, honoring Lewis & Clark in West Terrace Park.We'll pass Lawrence-based sculptor Jim Brothers' "Citizen Soldier" at the VFW National Headquarters, "Spider" by Louise Bourgeois and "Crying Giant" by Tom Otterness both on the grounds of the Kemper Museum, and Roxy Paine's 56-foot silver "Ferment," standing like a sentinel in the Hall Sculpture Garden at the Nelson-Atkins Museum.Amid all this art, we'll stop for lunch at the historic Webster House Restaurant near the Kauffman Center. Join us for a lifetime of art, all in one day!


This course contains no sessions
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

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
Join Chuck Warner as he discusses and reads from his new book, Birds, Bones, and Beetles. It's been called "a highly entertaining story about museum specialistCharles 'Bunk' Bunker, who was an early key figure ofthe Universality of Kansas Natural History Museum." He is also Chuck's grandfather.We'll hear about dermestid beetles, who diligently devour the decaying flesh off of animal skeletons that are destined for the museum's specimen collection. That time-saving process was developed at KU by Bunker, an assistant taxidermist who would rise to becomethe curator of recent vertebrates, and who made an indelible mark on his field.Chuck is a lifelong Kansan who grew up in Wichita and came to the University of Kansas, where he studied business and law. After graduation, he went directly into a nearly four-decade career in business, banking and community service in Lawrence. Although he retired from U.S. Bank in 2007, the seed for this book wasn't planted until a family reunion in 2009.


This course contains no sessions
Celebrated as one of the world's oldest and best a cappella ensembles, The King's Singers have had a rich history of choral excellence for more than 50 years. Their exquisite vocal blend, vastly diverse repertoire and unique British charm are among their most cherished trademarks. The King's Singers have performed around the globe on the most prestigious stages-from London's Royal Albert Hall to the Sydney Opera House or New York's Carnegie Hall. Join us for dinner and a presentation before the show.


This course contains no sessions
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
We've planned a jam-packed three-day excursion to Kansas' western frontier that includes a two-night stay in Colby, with visits to the Prairie Museum, Monument Rocks, the El Quartelejo Pueblo Ruins, the Duff Buffalo Ranch, Keystone Gallery and Nicodemus National Historic Site. Guiding us along the way will be Rex Buchanan, director emeritus of the Kansas Geological Survey. Sign up today!Departing from the KU Edwards Campus in Overland Park, we'll pick up travelers in Lawrence and at the Manhattan Junction (I-70 & KS-177). We'll stop for lunch at the historic Midland Railroad Hotel in Wilson before we venture on to the Prairie Museum in Colby. Afterwards,we'll check into the Comfort Inn. That evening we'll enjoy a private reception before dinner at the City Limits Bar & Grill.On Thursday morning we're off to the majestic Monument Rocks, a series of chalk formations reaching to 70 feet and formed 80 million years ago when this area was a vast inland sea. Then, we'll visit the iconic Keystone Gallery, once a remote church built in 1917.Today it is a combination museum, art gallery and gift shop. While half of our group visits the gallery, the rest of us will tour Duff's Buffalo Ranch, riding out into the herd in an open-air wagon. Then we'll switch with the gallery group.We'll leave that dusty western Kansas landscape and descend into the verdant oasis of Lake Scott State Park, site of the El Quartelejo Pueblo Ruins. Here we'll enjoy a box lunch picnic before heading north to Oakley to visit the Buffalo Bill Monument.On Friday we're off to Nicodemus, the historic town site of the 1877 westward migration of African Americans looking to enjoy their newfound freedom on land they owned and farmed. Then it's lunch on your own in Hays and back on the road home.


July 10-12, 2019, St Andrews Classroom
We've planned a jam-packed three-day excursion to Kansas' western frontier that includes a two-night stay in Colby, with visits to the Prairie Museum, Monument Rocks, the El Quartelejo Pueblo Ruins, the Duff Buffalo Ranch, Keystone Gallery and Nicodemus National Historic Site. Guiding us along the way will be Rex Buchanan, director emeritus of the Kansas Geological Survey. Sign up today!Departing from the KU Edwards Campus in Overland Park, we'll pick up travelers in Lawrence and at the Manhattan Junction (I-70 & KS-177). We'll stop for lunch at the historic Midland Railroad Hotel in Wilson before we venture on to the Prairie Museum in Colby. Afterwards,we'll check into the Comfort Inn. That evening we'll enjoy a private reception before dinner at the City Limits Bar & Grill.On Thursday morning we're off to the majestic Monument Rocks, a series of chalk formations reaching to 70 feet and formed 80 million years ago when this area was a vast inland sea. Then, we'll visit the iconic Keystone Gallery, once a remote church built in 1917.Today it is a combination museum, art gallery and gift shop. While half of our group visits the gallery, the rest of us will tour Duff's Buffalo Ranch, riding out into the herd in an open-air wagon. Then we'll switch with the gallery group.We'll leave that dusty western Kansas landscape and descend into the verdant oasis of Lake Scott State Park, site of the El Quartelejo Pueblo Ruins. Here we'll enjoy a box lunch picnic before heading north to Oakley to visit the Buffalo Bill Monument.On Friday we're off to Nicodemus, the historic town site of the 1877 westward migration of African Americans looking to enjoy their newfound freedom on land they owned and farmed. Then it's lunch on your own in Hays and back on the road home.


This course contains no sessions

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

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
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

ABBA's timeless songs propel this joyful tale of love, romance andfriendship. Winner of five Tony Awards, Mamma Mia! shares the story ofbride-to-be, Sophie, and her quest to find her long-lost father in time to walkher down the aisle at her island wedding. ABBA classics like "Dancing Queen,""Take a Chance on Me" and the title number of this smash hit musical are sureto have you dancing in the aisles!



Thursday, June 13, 2019, Theatre Lawrence

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
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In thelatest edition ofOsher Extended!-our day-long immersion into a single course of study-we're partnering with Nelson-Atkinsprovenance research specialiststo explorethe issues surrounding thousands ofworks of art that were stolen, looted, displaced or illegallyexchanged during the Naziera in Europe. Jewish collectorswere particularly affected by this looting due to Nazi laws thatforbade Jews fromowning property. After thewar, Allied forces found much of the lootedart and returned itto the rightful owners, but other items remain lost. TheNelson-Atkins has researchedand documented the ownership history of its once-looted artworks.

As part ofour study, Michael Hoeflich, former dean of the KU School of Law and versatileOsher instructor, will explore the dark history of the Nazis' assault on art and explainthe laws governing their restitution and title.

MacKenzieMallon,Nelson-Atkins provenance specialist,will describe the journey of several works ofart that were once in thehands of Nazis, includingtheir thefts and return to theirrightful owners and the subsequent legal acquisition by the Nelson-Atkins.

Finally, Alan Lubert, Nelson-Atkins popular docent and veteran Osher artsand literature instructor, willguide us throughthe current Nelson- Atkins exhibition, "Discriminating Thieves:Nazi-looted Art and Restitution," highlighting four worksof arts salvaged fromthe Nazis. MacKenzie will also show us Nazi-held artworksin other galleries of the Museum.

Of course,no visit to the Nelson wouldbe complete without lunch in the majestic Rozzelle Court and time on yourown to visit other galleriesand the Museum store. Join us!

 



Friday, August 2, 2019, Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art
Wednesday, August 7, 2019, Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art

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

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

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

Let's review the time-testedtruths in Hamlet, Shakespeare's mostfamous play. See yourselves in the mirror he holds before you: "virtue her own feature, scorn herown image, and the very age and body of the time his form and pressure." The play is puzzling and challenging fordirectors. What are we to make of avanishing ghost in full armor? Why is Horatio at Elsinore? Whydoes Shakespeare bring Fortinbras to the play? Why is Hamlet areluctant assassin? To betterunderstand Shakespeare's own powerful version of the tragedy, we will immerse ourselves in his historical times, offering solutions forpersistent puzzles and unifying ever-important themes.



July 10-24, 2019, Washburn University Henderson Learning Center
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
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
Rita Blitt is an international award-winning painter, sculptor and filmmaker whose works are included in many museums and private collections, including the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, John F. Kennedy Library, National Museum of Singapore, Spencer Museum of Art and the Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art, and now grace the KU Edwards Campus in Overland Park. Through a generous gift of Ms. Blitt, more than 100 pieces of her work are on display across the campus. Join Rita Blitt as she reviews her life and work first in a conversation with her biographer, Connie Gibbons, curator of the Mulvane Museum of Art at Washburn University in Topeka, and then on a tour of selected pieces of her artwork at the Edwards Campus. A reception will follow the tour.


This course contains no sessions

The well-documented orphan trains brought a wave of humanity to the Midwest in the late 1800s. A lesser-known wave arrived in secrecy. In the early to mid-1900s, Kansas City was known as the "Adoption Hub of America." More than 100,000 pregnant, unwed young women arrived to give birth in one of several maternity facilities. The babies were placed for adoption and the women returned home heartbroken.We will explore how Kansas City received this distinction, delve into the history of The Willows Maternity Sanitarium (the "Waldorf"of such facilities). Finally, we'll study the family who ran The Willows for 64 years.



July 10-24, 2019, Meadowlark Hills

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