The Kansas Sampler Foundation’s mission

is to preserve, sustain, and grow rural culture by educating Kansans about Kansas and by networking and supporting rural communities.

It does this in a variety of ways including a great state-wide contest that began several years ago. State residents were encouraged to vote for the 8 Wonders of Kansas from a larger list of potential sites.

Since then, the Foundation has sponsored additional Wonders contests with my favorite being the 8 Culinary Wonders of Kansas. Great BBQ, chicken, burger and steak restaurants from all over the state. And you’ll be happy to know that I’ve tried them all.

But I’ve got a new favorite. The current Wonders contest focuses on historical sites around the state with 24 finalists. There are the traditional sorts of things such as the many forts built throughout Kansas, museums focusing on the state tradition of airplane design / construction and sites showcasing cowboys and Indians.

But there are also some interesting nominations that highlight such things as Orphan Trains, the Brown vs. Board of Education case and Exodusters.

There is no real criteria so it’s gonna be tough to decide on just eight. But head over anyway and vote on your favorites.

You could use this in your Kansas history classes as a way to engage kids in the content by having kids vote as individuals or as a class. You could have kids rank them from most important to least important or place them on a timeline. Kids could select one of the finalists (or you could assign them), research their finalist and then campaign for class votes.

If you’re not from Kansas, you could create a similar contest within your class that focuses on specific historical sites and events within your own state.

Either way, head on over!

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