FRANKLIN — Miners Hall Museum launched its first quarterly exhibit of 2020, “Music of the Little Balkans,” on Thursday. The exhibit will feature three special monthly programs, and will continue through March 28.
The exhibit — hosted by Morning Sun columnist, poet, songwriter and PSU professor emeritus J.T. Knoll — will focus on music that has long been played and heard in the Little Balkans region of Southeast Kansas, including not only the polka style music that was popular with European immigrants who came to the area to work in local mines, but also rock and roll, country, “Little Balkans Soul,” and other genres.
The first of three special programs accompanying the exhibit will be “Accordion and Polka” on Jan. 26, presented by Gene Corsini. The presentation will tell the story of the accordion and polka's arrival in Southeast Kansas, recall the artists and bands, and discuss some of the venues in which they played — from immigrant halls to large ballrooms.
The second special program, "City and Dance Bands,” presented by J. T. Knoll on Feb. 23, will focus on the area's town bands and local nightclub dance bands as well as the nationally known touring bands that played the Tower, Gay Parita and Trianon ballrooms.
The final special program scheduled as part of the “Music of the Little Balkans” exhibit will be “Rock & Roll and Country” on March 22, presented by Jamie Ortolani. Ortolani will discuss area artists and bands as well as touring groups and the venues in which they played — from drive-in theaters, to small clubs, to ballrooms, to "Cornstalk."
All special programs will be presented on Sundays beginning at 2 p.m., with doors opening at 1:45 p.m. Admission is free, although donations are accepted and appreciated. The museum would also appreciate a call if you plan to attend to allow for planning for adequate seating. After each program, attendees are welcome to view the quarterly exhibit.
Those who may have artifacts, photos, or stories relating to the exhibit and would like to donate or loan them for the exhibit or future display are encouraged to contact the museum.
Aside from the special programs, the public may view the “Music of the Little Balkans” exhibit at any time during the Miners Hall Museum’s regular hours. The museum, located at 701 S. Broadway in Franklin, is open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Call 620-347-4220 for more information or to set up tours for large groups.