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Between the Pages – an Inside Look at Midwest Genealogy Center’s NEW Gallery Space

Between the Pages – an Inside Look at Midwest Genealogy Center’s NEW Gallery Space

May 29, 2024

Think back – where are your yearbooks right now? Do you remember? Perhaps they’re tucked away in a closet or a box of old school things. Can you recall what’s in them? Signatures from past friends, a record of hairstyles and fashions best left forgotten, perhaps an old school program tucked in the front cover. As well as being a valuable genealogical tool, yearbooks are often a deeply nostalgic experience and a powerful catalyst for memory.

Here at the Midwest Genealogy Center, we are home to some 8,000 yearbooks spanning 49 states and three continents, dating from the late 1800s to the present day. The majority of this collection is the result of private donations, often from the book’s original owner or their descendants. While we at Midwest Genealogy Center do not always know a yearbook’s history before it comes to us, we can catch glimpses into its past through the objects previous owners have left behind. Snapshots, handwritten notes, report cards, graduation announcements - all these and more have been found slipped between the pages of yearbooks donated to the collection over the years. Each item, once found, has been carefully preserved and added to the Midwest Genealogy Center archive.

This is the basis for Midwest Genealogy Center’s first gallery wall exhibition, Between the Pages: A Showcase of Found Objects. Open April 22 through July 19, Between the Pages is the inaugural display of the Gallery Wall at Midwest Genealogy Center, a gallery exhibition space intended to showcase the stories of Kansas City and Midwest communities, past and present. Housed within the Conference Center at MGC, the gallery wall is available for viewing during MGC’s opening hours: 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., Monday through Saturday, and 1:00 to 8:00 p.m. on Sundays. (Keep in mind, however, that the Conference Center at MGC is a reservable venue, and the gallery wall may occasionally be closed for private events.)

Through the Gallery Wall at MGC, we hope to highlight some of the many fascinating corners of the MGC Archives, an archival collection focused on Jackson, Clay, and Platte counties that includes original documents, photographs, diaries, ledgers, land records, and more. With the Between the Pages exhibition, we invite the viewer to consider the ephemera of bygone school days. Hum, the game day cheers and school songs. Consider the evolution of prom fashion through the decades. Read heartwarming student notes to teachers – and heartbreaking grade cards. In Between the Pages, we ask you to contemplate what has changed - and what remains the same - in student life and to ponder what stories your own yearbooks may tell.

For more information on gallery wall exhibitions, please visit our website. Additional materials and collections are also available online at MGC’s Genealogy Gallery.

Emily W.
Midwest Genealogy Center

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