Archive for March, 2009


Kentucky creation museum’s impact on a polarized religious debate

By William (Beau) Weston, Centre College

How do you reconcile creation and evolution?

Last year, I took my Sociology of American Religion class to the Creation Museum as the final field trip of the term. What struck me the most about their reactions: most of my students had never really considered the aforementioned question. They simply accept both schools of thought as true.

The students ranged from incredulous evolutionists to of-course creationists. Most of them were religious, and most believe that God created the world. They accept old-earth evolutionist views because that is what they have been taught. Even the creation-confident were mostly very skeptical of the museum’s view that all of creation is only 6,000 years old. The stronger Christians were inclined to accept the museum’s version of how creation worked, because it is the only elaborated theory they have ever heard. The more secular-minded students were inclined to reject the museum’s argument, because they accepted the museum’s contention that the only alternative to their view was the materialistic atheism of “human reason.”

It’s a debate that has long been polarized, and one that has created enormous controversy – not withstanding the Creation Museum in Petersburg, Ky., which opened in May 2007. Continue reading ‘Kentucky creation museum’s impact on a polarized religious debate’


Behind the Chautauqua: Haley Bowling as Anna Mac Clarke

Kentucky Chautauqua characters share with you their stories from the road, how they chose their characters, and the highlights from their most memorable performances. Meet Haley Bowling, who portrays Anna Mac Clarke.

“Command attention!”

I test my voice in the dressing room. My tie lands a perfect Windsor knot on the first try. Multitasking as I find my pitch, I sing, “I – I, ahem, I just got an invitation in the mail.”

After seven years of adjusting my wig, darkening my eyebrows and making sure my Hobby Hat is perfectly aligned before each Chautauqua performance, this is the only rehearsal I get. When the red lipstick finally goes on, that’s when I complete the transformation into a commanding World War II Women’s Army Corps soldier. “I am First Lieutenant Anna Mac Clarke.”

Kentucky Chautauqua performer Haley Bowling

Kentucky Chautauqua performer Haley Bowling

At age 14, I saw a Kentucky Chautauqua performance for the first time. Hasan Davis played Angus Augustus Burleigh, a soldier in the United States Civil War. He wore a military uniform and his face was timeless. Throughout the performance he would take off his hat and put it back on as he switched settings, first addressing his commanding officer and then his minister. He cried. Real tears rolled down his face at the end of the performance and the hair on my arms stood to attention. I didn’t know one person, acting alone, could conjure such emotion.

I saw him perform the same character again a few months later for a filming of the piece. As a friend of a friend, Hasan allowed me to give the introduction. Again he cried. And I felt even more of this soldier’s life seep into my being.

“You could do that,” said Judy Sizemore, outreach director for the Kentucky Arts Council, who had been my mentor since I was 9. She had let me tag along to both of Hasan’s performances.

“Yes, I could,” I said. “When I grow up.”

“You could do it now.” Continue reading ‘Behind the Chautauqua: Haley Bowling as Anna Mac Clarke’


Between Fences exhibit highlights significance of fences in American culture

Kentucky residents are discovering the cultural history behind fences through the Kentucky Humanities Council’s latest Smithsonian Institute Traveling Exhibit, Between Fences.

Curated by Gregory K. Dreicer of Chicken and Egg Public Projects Inc., Between Fences focuses on every region of the United States. Its subjects include the defining of home, farm and factory; the settling of the United States; and the making of fences. It examines human relationships on an expanding scale; neighbor versus neighbor; gated communities; and the Mexican and Canadian borders of the U.S. The exhibit tells American stories through diverse fence types, including the work fence, the picket fence and the chain link fence.

Kentucky Humanities Council board member Aristofanes Cedeno reads about the northern border at the Georgetown and Scott County Museum exhibit. Kathleen Pool

Kentucky Humanities Council board member Aristofanes Cedeno reads about the northern border at the Georgetown and Scott County Museum exhibit. Kathleen Pool

The exhibit started its tour in Glasgow, Ky., and has worked its way through Georgetown, Pineville and Murray. Some communities have added local exhibits to Between Fences — including photo contests and art exhibits — during its six-week stay in each location.

Between Fences will visit two more Kentucky communities in 2009.

The exhibit is made possible by the Museum on Main Street project — a national/state/local partnership to bring exhibitions and programs to rural cultural organizations. Museum on Main Street is a partnership of the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service, the Federation of State Humanities Councils and state humanities councils nationwide. Support for Museum on Main Street is provided by the U.S. Congress. Additional support for Between Fences is provided by the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet.

On tour

Between Fences will visit these locations before closing in 2009:

  • Wrather West Kentucky Museum, Murray, Calloway County — through April 18
  • Oldham County History Center, La Grange, Oldham County — April 25-June 6
  • Boyle County Public Library, Danville, Boyle County — June 13-July 25

Literacy program stresses importance of reading, decision-making

Aminata Cairo, anthropologist and scholar for Prime Time Family Reading Time, models for families how to sit with their children and share a book as the storyteller reads aloud, “Anansi and the Moss Covered Rock.” Kathleen Pool

Aminata Cairo, anthropologist and scholar for Prime Time Family Reading Time, models for families how to sit with their children and share a book as the storyteller reads aloud, “Anansi and the Moss Covered Rock.” Kathleen Pool

Promoting reading and talking about books at home can make incredible differences.

Just look at the statistics. By participating in family literacy programs, according to the National Center for Family Literacy, children showed an 80 percent increase in reading books and made twice as many trips to the library. And parents feel good about it too — by participating with their children, adults improve their self-confidence, their confidence in parenting abilities and their employment status, by 29 percent.

Through Prime Time Family Reading Time, the Kentucky Humanities Council hopes to continue increasing these numbers. The program will visit 17 libraries in Kentucky during 2009, reaching out to reluctant readers ages 6 to 10 and their parents with the message to “read.”

In each of six weekly sessions, a discussion leader and storyteller lead programs for families that demonstrate effective reading techniques. The books introduced to children and their parents explore timeless issues of humanity — fairness, greed, courage, coping and determination — while helping them understand the dynamics of making life choices.

Prime Time was created by the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities in 1995, and has won awards from the Public Library Association and the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities. In Kentucky, it complements the humanities council’s adult literacy program, New Books for New Readers.

Prime Time Family Reading Time will visit the following communities in 2009:

  • March 3-April 14: Adair County Public Library, Columbia
  • March 23-April 27: Mason County Public Library, Maysville
  • April 2-May 7: Boone County Public Library, Union
  • April 23-May 28: Boyd County Public Library, Ashland
  • June 16-July 21: Nelson County Public Library, Bardstown
  • June 18-July 23: Daviess County Public Library, Owensboro
  • Aug. 17-Sept. 28: Breckenridge County Public Library, Hardinsburg
  • Aug. 24-Sept. 24: Grayson County Public Library, Leitchfield
  • Sept. 8-Oct. 13: Kenton County Public Library, Covington
  • Sept. 25-Oct. 30: Green County Public Library, Greensburg
  • Oct. 1-Nov. 5: Grant County Public Library, Williamstown
  • Oct. 7-Nov. 11: Nicholas County Public Library, Carlisle
  • Oct. 13-Nov. 17: John L. Street Public Library, Cadiz

Libraries that have already hosted a program in 2009 include Mary Wood Weldon Library, Glasgow; Pulaski County Public Library, Somerset; Scott County Public Library, Georgetown; and Gallatin County Public Library, Warsaw. An 18th library could be added this year if funding is available.

For information about the Prime Time program, contact KHC Associate Director Kathleen Pool, or 859.257.5932.