Americans by Choice: The Story of Immigration & Citizenship in Kansas

On display July 14-September 2, 2012

“Americans by Choice” illustrates the paths to citizenship taken by Kansas settlers from around the world over the past 150 years. The exhibition features photographs and documents to convey their personal struggles, sacrifices and accomplishments along the journey to naturalization.

Most Kansans can trace their heritage to another part of the world. Some came in search of a better life for themselves or their children. Between 1865 and 1880, Kansas attracted immigrants at a faster pace than anywhere else in the United States. The state’s population grew from 107,205 in 1860 to 1,428,108 in 1890—thanks to the irresistible promise of a better life through land and jobs. In 1870, 13% of Kansas’ total population was foreign-born.

Employment opportunities, lower cost of living, and ease of integrating into communities in a meaningful way, continue to attract many new immigrants to the state. From 1931 to 2010, more than 75,000 new citizens were naturalized in Kansas, an average of 2,400 annually. Today, 6% of all Kansans are foreign-born. And each year the U.S. District Court, District of Kansas hosts more than 20 naturalization ceremonies where individuals who have completed the requirements for citizenship take the Oath of Allegiance and become United States citizens.

“Americans by Choice” is a special exhibition from the U.S. District Court, District of Kansas, in celebration of the court’s 150th anniversary. The traveling version is based on a permanent exhibit of the same title at the Robert J. Dole Courthouse in Kansas City, Kansas. After Kauffman Museum the touring exhibition will be shown at the Eisenhower Presidential Museum & Library in Abilene, Kansas

Public programs in the Sunday-Afternoon-at-the-Museum series

Free to the public

Dates to be announced

Featured in this exhibition are (left to right) Jacob Kroeker, Katherine Janzen Kroeker, Anna Kroeker, John J. Kroeker, who emigrated from Germany in 1926 and later settled in Newton, KS. Photograph: John D. Thiesen.
316•283•1612   kauffman@bethelks.edu
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