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Kansas Archeology Training Program Field School

Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site

Shawnee County

June 3 - 18, 2022

Registration for this years KATP is now closed, due to limited space walk-on registrations will be dependent on availability each day.

2022 KATP - Information Packet

2022 KATP - Program Schedule

The Kansas Archeology Training Program at Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site is scheduled for June 3-18, 2022. 

Registration will open March 1, 2022 and be open until May 31, 2022. Registration is limited by activity each day and is on a first come, first served basis. Walk-on registration may be available during the field school. 

The Kansas Historical Society and Kansas Anthropological Association are partnering with the park and the National Park Service’s Midwest Archeological Center (MWAC). The research goals are being planned by Principal Investigator Nikki Klarmann (KSHS) with input from the National Park Service and Midwest Archeological Center, based on their goals for interpretation at the park. The park includes the Monroe Elementary School and commemorates the 1954 Supreme Court’s decision to end legal segregation in the United States. This was a landmark victory for civil rights in America and helped to inspire the American Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 60s. The National Historic Site is the location of the Monroe Elementary School (built 1927) and the former location of the Monroe School (built 1874). Both schools were constructed as segregated schools for Black children, one of four in Topeka, until the 1954 court decision, the later Monroe Elementary School was still used as a school until 1975 when it was closed for low enrollment. The school property was a part of the Ritchie Tract of land that was purchased by John Ritchie in 1856 with plots sold to predominately African Americans. Various structures once stood on many of the plots where the Monroe Elementary School currently stands.

The goal of the 2022 KATP is to expand our knowledge of the early life of the Monroe School property from when it was purchased by John Ritchie and up to the time when the current Monroe Elementary School was built, by exploring the remains of some of the structures that are buried on the property. The park has little information regarding the preservation of these structures and archeology can help tell the story of the people who lived in the Monroe School neighborhood. Excavations may also occur in the field across Monroe Street where the playground once stood and where there are known trash deposits from various points in the school’s history. Understanding these trash deposits can provide clues that expand our understanding of people’s daily lives and use of this field. This project will help tell the story of the crucial time between the Civil War and the Civil Rights eras that had such a profound impact on people’s lives throughout the country. When people visit the site, many are unaware or understand the full history of the Monroe School property prior to the 1954 Brown v. Board decision. This project will assist the National Park Service to tell more of that story and learn more about the community that surrounded this school. 

A registration fee is required of participants to help cover field school expenses. The registration fee for members of the Kansas Historical Society and the Kansas Anthropological Association is $35 for standard participants, $25 for participants 65 or older, $15 for all students currently enrolled at a middle school, high school, or college. If a participant is not a member of either the KAA or Kansas Historical Society, the fee is $90. 

Participants are responsible for their own transportation to the project, lodging, and food. This year we are happy to work with Visit Topeka, whose goal is to promote Topeka and increase tourism’s economic impact on the community. Their website features list of lodging and dining options. Please visit their website to find out more about accommodations in Topeka. https://www.visittopeka.com/ 


Current COVID Protocols (updated 05/18/2022)

Enrollment numbers are limited this year to allow for adequate distancing of participants in the field and lab area. Participants will be required to follow federal mandates regarding COVID-19 at both Brown v. Board of Education and the Kansas Historical Society. The National Park Service is following CDC guidance that if Shawnee County case numbers stay below ‘high’, masks will be optional in all buildings. Masks are not currently required out in the field.

These protocols are subject to change prior to KATP and information regarding any change in protocols will be shared with participants prior to field school. Participants should have a mask on hand just in case the numbers in Shawnee County change.

Federal Guidance: https://www.covid.gov/?for=Shawnee%20County-Kansas|20177


Additional information will be posted here as it becomes available.

For more information contact Kansas Historical Society Public Outreach Archeologist Nikki Klarmann, Nikki.Klarmann@ks.gov; 785-272-8681, ext. 266.