After five years of fruitful partnership, two Kansas organizations hope to create even more of a good thing.
In January 2013, Kansas State University and the Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library, Museum and Boyhood Home in Abilene entered a partnership to give researchers greater access to both institutions’ scholarly assets.
Now, the two organizations have recommitted to the original agreement signed by U.S. Archivist David S. Ferriero and former Kansas State University President Kirk Schulz. The partnership was designed to create student internships, public lectures and the joint development of classroom curriculum.
Long-term projects flourished under the agreement. For example, the university’s Institute for Civic Discourse and Democracy and the Eisenhower staff collaborated on a number of well-attended public discussion forums. The topics included gun control, economy and health care concerns. Multiple internships allowed history students to assist with archival and museum projects, while several students from the A.Q. Miller School of Journalism and Mass Communications gained media relations experience.
Some new partnerships and unforeseen opportunities have developed, too.
“Last summer, the Eisenhower Library hosted an exhibit that we created, ‘From Wheat Fields to White House,’ which highlighted our Marlin Fitzwater collection,” said Dean of K-State Libraries Lori Goetsch. “It was an ideal venue for the display because of Fitzwater’s remarkable career working for two U.S. presidents and his Abilene upbringing.”
The venture marked the first time K-State Libraries created a large-scale traveling exhibit, and the project drew on the talents of both organizations’ employees.
The 2016 appointment of Richard Myers as K-State president makes the partnership even more meaningful, as the areas of military and leadership are key programming and scholarly strengths of both institutions. Myers enjoyed a distinguished military career as a four-star Air Force general and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
The Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum is also under new leadership. Dawn Hammatt was appointed its executive director in May 2017.
Dedicated in 1962 and opened for research in 1966, the presidential library in Abilene is one of 13 administered by the National Archives and Records Administration. The Eisenhower campus includes a research library, gift shop, museum, boyhood home and a place of meditation where Eisenhower is buried.