Library Hours: Sundays, noon-midnight; Mondays-Wednesdays, 7:30 a.m.-midnight; Thursdays, 7:30 a.m.-10 p.m.; Fridays, 7:30 a.m.-7 p.m.; Saturdays, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
HAYS, KS -- Imagine taking a journey through 18th-century America by viewing some of the letters of Benjamin Franklin, written in his own hand, or seeing the literature published by the great authors of the 19th century, or maybe even encountering Elvis Presley memorabilia.
Fort Hays State University's Forsyth Library offers all of these exciting journeys beginning June 1 with a series of special displays celebrating America from 18th through 20th centuries.
"The library was approached by the local PEO chapter to have a display celebrating Flag Day. We enlarged the project to celebrate Independence Day and dedicated a century display on each floor of the library," said John Ross, Forsyth Library director.
Starting in the front lobby of the library, patrons can begin their walk on the "Great Events of America Trail." Each floor of the library tells a unique story about America during a particular century through photographs, narratives, books, models, and several other materials.
Patrons making the trek through American history will also receive a special map that doubles as an entry for prizes.
The Great America Trail begins in the front lobby of Forsyth with two original letters written by one of the Founding Fathers of America, Benjamin Franklin. Also in the lobby, newspapers from 1769 and 1787 give viewers the opportunity to see a different perspective of the early American newspaper.
"My favorite part of the display would have to be the Benjamin Franklin letters because we have a chance to hold history in our hands," said Ross.
The journey then moves to the second floor and makes the transition to the early 19th century. Viewers may observe 39 volumes of George Washington's writings or enjoy scenic displays of Mount Vernon. Patrons can travel to the Louisiana Purchase display and discover a letter regarding the purchase from Thomas Jefferson. While in the 19th-century era, patrons can explore the wilderness with Lewis and Clark and view pictures of the adventurers' travel gear.
Last but not least during the first part of the 19th century, viewers will see contemporary accounts of the composition of the "Star-Spangled Banner."
From the second floor of the library visitors descend to the basement floor and simultaneously travel deeper into the 19th century, passing milestones such as the invention of the telegraph by Samuel B. Morse in 1835. They will also experience great literature by authors such as Henry James and Mark Twain. The 19th-century exhibit also offers a child's view of the time period through books on the Pony Express and the railroad.
From the 19th century, patrons move into the 20th century located on the first floor of the library. During this part of the journey, visitors will experience "First Flight: America and the Airplane," great thinkers, and the changing role of women. Also included in the 20th-century displays are an American poets corner, Elvis memorabilia, and a display entitled "Space Flight: The Greatest Adventure."
Finishing off the journey through American history is a display focusing on the development of the American flag.
"The library would like to invite area citizens and the university community to come and celebrate America," said Ross.
Patrons will have a chance to travel through the centuries and experience legendary events, amazing literature, and elaborate displays through the FHSU Forsyth Library celebration of America, and the journey is free. For more information on the display contact Fort Hays State University Forsyth Library by phone at (785) 628-4539 or contact Ross by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.