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Gordon Parks Museum Nearly Complete


Construction of a new Gordon Parks museum in his eastern Kansas hometown is now open and nearly completed.

The Gordon Parks Museum and Center is slated to open at Fort Scott Community College.

Parks became known as a photographer, activist, filmmaker and writer. He became the first African-American photographer to work at Life Magazine.

Director Jill Warford said the museum is 85 percent completed.

“I’m glad that it’s open. Now we have enough space to have groups in and not be cramped,” she said.

Warford said the center is open to students and the public for tours.

Not all the planned displays and exhibits are finished.

Last week, the center hosted a group of elementary students.

“The kids were well taught about Gordon Parks,” she said. “They knew a lot of details about his life and pictures. They were very prepared.”

The new 3,500-square-foot center displays Parks’ music, literature, film, photography, poetry and other works.

“There is so much more space now, and it’s a very professional looking space,” she said. “There’s so much more we’re able to show.”

The new center and museum now includes exhibition space for Parks’ memorabilia and artistic work and a timeline wall that outlines Parks’ entire life and career.

There is also a glass display case, a recreation of the living room and writing desk from Parks’ New York apartment with a window and viewing screen to show films, educational stations, and archive storage space.

The new area creates both exhibition and learning space for visitors, Warford said.

The center is expected to be completed by next month.

In the future, Warford said she hopes to add interactive touch screen computers that visitors may use to find articles about Parks.

Parks, who was born in Fort Scott in 1912, died in March 2006 at the age of 93 and is buried at Evergreen Cemetery in Fort Scott.

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