The popular exhibition “Community and Culture: The Lawrence Turnverein” (October 2017 - February 2018), was created by Brittany Keegan, Curator and Collections Manager at the Watkins Museum. Artifacts from the Max Kade Center related to the Lawrence Turners were included in the exhibition. Lorie Vanchena joined Brittany to present gallery tours for museum visitors.
The Watkins organized several events in conjunction with the exhibit, all of which helped make this German history more visible and relevant today. A group of home-schoolers who visited the Museum spoke with Abby Magariel, Education and Programs Director, about the experiences of German children who could not speak English while they were starting a new life in the United States. The visitors also learned several gymnastic exercises that Friedrich Ludwig Jahn, who established the first open-air gymnasium in Berlin in 1811 and became known as the Father of Modern Gymnastics, had developed just over 200 years earlier.
Image courtesy of Watkins Museum of History
The Watkins Museum of History, with Lawrence Opera Theater and the Max Kade Center, recreated a musical program that German-American Turners would have enjoyed in the late 19th- and early 20th-centuries. Musical selections included Turnlieder and German and American folk songs. Students in the KU German Club greeted visitors at the door, and L. Vanchena provided commentary on some of the songs performed. More than 100 people attended the Final Friday event.