Historic houses launch new and bold educational programming

The Wornall/Majors House Museums News Release

Contact: Jayne Siemens
 (913) 268-0606


(Kansas City, MO)— On Sunday, August 4 from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m., the Alexander Majors House Museum (8201 State Line Road, Kansas City) will offer a lecture and living history tours that comprise the first event for Blood & Ashes: A Civil War Trilogy, a series of commemorative programs observing the 150th anniversary of General Order No. 11 issued by Union General Ewing on August 25, 1863. Blood & Ashes is being produced by the Jackson County Historical Society in cooperation with The Wornall/Majors House Museums, Wide Awake Films, Wine Walk on Delaware, and Jackson County Parks & Recreation. 

In 1863, eighty percent of the population in the Missouri counties along the Kansas border were supporters of Southern guerrillas. In an effort to suppress the secessionists, the Federal commander issued General Orders No. 9 and No. 10 compelling Southern sympathizers to be forcibly removed from the state and their property, including slaves, confiscated. Following the raid on Lawrence, Kansas, Order No. 11 instituted the complete evacuation and depopulation of all citizens regardless of their political support for the south or the north from the western border counties of Missouri located within the District of the Border (the Counties affected were Jackson, Cass, Bates and Vernon County, north of the Osage River).

On August 4, the Alexander Majors House, located at 8201 State Line Road, Kansas City, will offer a lecture by Dr. Timothy Westcott at 1:00 p.m. followed by tours of the operational blacksmith’s shop and four living history vignettes in the Majors house from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Dr. Timothy Westcott is the Associate Professor of History and Department Chair of Social Sciences at Park University. The vignettes are by local author and Wornall/Majors board member Hibberd Kline. Both the lecture and the tours will be rich educational opportunities that explore the socio-economic, racial, and political complexities of Orders No. 9, 10, and 11. Tickets are $10 per person and $5 for children ages twelve and under. Tours will start every 15 minutes, and each tour will last about 40 minutes. To purchase tickets, call (816) 444-1858 or visit www.wornallhouse.org to make an online payment using PayPal. Advance registration is recommended. 

“The Wornall and Alexander Majors Houses are vaulable educational resources. Our August 4 program at the Majors House will launch a new series of dynamic and inclusive educational opportunities that we will offer over the next few years, especially with the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Westport in 2014,” says executive director Anna Marie Tutera. “Our goal is to create bold and enriching programs that appeal to a multigenerational and multicultural audience and that are created in collaboration with a diverse group of community residents including youth. We strongly believe that understanding your history is a critical compenent of building self-confidence and being a socially responsible member of society. We are confident that we have the capacity to provide meaningful programs about history that also help to build community and foster both youth development and civic unity.” 

The other two events comprising Blood & Ashes will take place on Saturday, August 17 from 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at the Pacific House and Delaware Street and Saturday, September 14 at Missouri Town 1855. On August 17, there will be a reading of Order No. 11 by General Ewing, the debate between General Ewing and George Caleb Bingham, period music, Union soldiers, and other period activities. On September 14, there will be an all-day living history event showing the devastating effect of General Orders 9, 10, and 11 at Missouri Town 1855, 8010 East Park Road, Blue Springs, Missouri, from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. followed by a candlelight tour from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. For more information on these events, please visit www.ordernumber11.org.

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The John Wornall House and The Alexander Majors House merged in 2011 and formed The Wornall/Majors House Museums, a nonprofit organization with a mission to “engage community by bringing history to life through innovative, hands-on programs and experiences.” The Museums boast an impressive record of achievement, reaching over 8,000 visitors and program participants annually with a 2012 operating budget in excess of $250,000. The Houses feature hands-on tours, including popular “ghost” tours and Holiday festivities. Field trips by dozens of local schools introduce thousands of students to history and what it means to them. The grounds of both Houses are filled with children’s laughter during sold-out summer camp sessions and often bustle with activity as history buffs and educators reenact the lives of Civil War soldiers and civilians. Concerts and readings by regional authors and re-enactors round out the Houses’ programs. For more information about The John Wornall House, log on to www.wornallmajors.org. For more information about The Alexander Majors House, go to www.wornallmajors.org

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