Depression-era Lawrence


  • Categories: Museum exhibits
  • Event posted: Nov. 19, 2012
  • Last updated: Sept. 16, 2014

While the Dust Bowl raged in western Kansas, the citizens of Douglas County struggled to deal with hardships brought on by the Great Depression. A new exhibit, Distractions and Determination: How Lawrence Survived the Great Depression, explores the ways residents of Lawrence coped with the era’s hardships. Featuring artifacts and photos from the 1930s, the exhibit is on view on the second floor of the Watkins Community Museum of History, 1047 Massachusetts Street in downtown Lawrence through January 5, 2013.

Distractions and Determination looks at programs that were established to help county residents find work. “People were brought together by tough times,” exhibit curator Brittany Keegan said, “they turned to each other and to their pastimes for relief from their hardships.” Artifacts on display, including WPA arts projects and a marionette used in performances by Lawrence’s Bushong Sisters, illustrate the entertainment and community activities that brightened spirits during hard times. While making survival a struggle for many, the Great Depression encouraged people to rely on one another and strengthened community bonds.

Event details:

  • Ongoing until Saturday, January 5, 2013
  • Tuesdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
  • Fridays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Watkins Museum of History, 1047 Massachusetts St., Lawrence


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