PITTSBURG — “It’s the people before us which shape the world we live in today.”
That’s why Amanda Minton said she believes history is so vital to the future.
“Have you ever read a fictional book and you just love the characters, you wish you knew the characters or they existed somewhere?” she said. “Well that's how I felt when I read about Theodore Roosevelt, Nero and Alexander Hamilton.”
For Amanda, when reading about historical “characters” she feels like she’s reading a really good book, but the difference is, these characters did exist.
“I wish they could just jump out of the page and live in our world,” she said.
Each “character” made an impact on the future, she said.
“They are people who lived and existed in the same world we are living in,” she said. “George Washington and John Adams were once real and as present as you and I are.
“They perceived the things around them, they made choices, they made decisions and they made mistakes, but that’s what helped shape the world we live in today.
“They lived their lives and it became story and then their story became history.”
Amanda said she believes it is hard for people to relate to the times in which historical people in history lived.
“When we think of them [historical characters] it’s really hard to think about these events the same way someone back them would perceive them,” she said. “I think that’s why people don’t like history so much, it’s too far back. They just have a hard time connecting to it.”
Although it may be difficult to relate to the days of the past, Amanda said she encourages people to learn about history because it plays a part in the future.
“History is vital,” she said. “We need to learn about the people who came before, personally I believe it gives us ownership of the world we live in.
“We learn about the individuals behind the decisions that were made.”
Amanda’s love of history began when she was a student at Pittsburg State University.
Her mentor, history instructor Judith Shaw, inspired her to further her education and receive her masters in History.
“I just fell in love with it,” she said. “I fell in love with the way she taught.”
Now Amanda is a history lecturer at PSU.
At the beginning of each semester she tells her students to come in with an open mind, history can be fun and it’s not just about remembering dates.
“History is like a soap opera,” she said. “Where else can you learn about love, hate, blood guts and war?”
Amanda also serves as the director of Crawford County Historical Museum.
“It is a small way for me to give back to the community who has been so gracious,” she said.
“All this is possible through the continued support of our community, the visitors who pass through.”
Before becoming the director, Amanda interned at the museum while she was in college.
“It has become full-circle to me,” she said. While changing things around at the museum she found a piece of door frame which had her name and graduation year on it. It was left there while she was in college and now it has shown up years later.
Amanda wears many hats at the museum, including planning activities.
She said the museum has grown, with the renovations, new education pavillion and the living history exhibits.
Amanda said one of the summer programs, Wacky Wednesdays, is her favorite because children come in and learn about history and “they don’t even notice.” From 11 a.m. to noon on Wednesday will be the last of the summer and it is Christmas in July-themed. They will learn about Christmas in other countries through crafts.
On top of all the other history related things she does, she writes articles of the history of Crawford County which are published in The Morning Sun every other Tuesday.
She wrote how a southeast Kansas Principal from Weir and a boy scout troop helped citizens screen their windows to help protect people from germ-infested flies. Amanda also wrote about various things which had happened in the past 50 years since the museums conception for the museum’s 50th anniversary.
Amanda gave credit to her the CCHM board members, her husband John, and handyman and board member Bob Zagonel for their help and support.
“I wouldn’t be able to do this without the support of my family,” she said.
— Stephanie Potter is a staff writer at the Morning Sun. To nominate someone for Patrick's People send an email to email@example.com