Free Exhibit Lectures

Go beyond the Duty First: 100 Years of the Big Red One exhibit with local experts. Each free lecture covers a unique military topic for the one-hundred-year history of the 1st Infantry Division and takes place at the Flint Hills Discovery Center.


Thursday, September 21, 6:30-7:30pm

Fort Riley: Sustaining the Mission - Securing our Future, Fort Riley's Focus on the Environment

by Alan Hynek

Fort Riley's military mission has spanned from the mounted cavalry of the 19th Century to the heavy mechanized modern Army.  Environmental management of training lands and facilities has advanced greatly in those years. Today, the Army's commitment to environmental stewardship is well recognized, and Fort Riley's team of experts strive for that same commitment on a local level by ensuring compliance with our nation’s environmental mandates. A summary of the complexities and challenges of managing an environmental program at one of the nation's premier military training facilities will be presented.

 Alan Hynek is Fort Riley's Chief of Conservation in the Directorate of Public Works. He has a BS in Park Resource Management from Kansas State University and has worked for the Department of Army for the last twenty six years. He and his wife Katherine live near Saint George and have two children, Madison and Austin.


Thursday, October 5, 6-8pm

"Whatever Happened to Jim Sharp" Film Screening

Join us for a special screening of “Whatever Happened to Jim Sharp” (22 min.) a locally produced biographical film highlighting Jim Sharp who served in WWII and served as Sgt. Of the Guard at the Nuremberg War Crimes Trials for Nazi leaders.

73 Years of Service: U.S. Army Veterans Panel Discussion

Join the Flint Hills Discovery Center as we welcome four generations of U.S. Army soldiers to share their stories and experiences serving our country.  Their collective service spans 73 years from WWII through today, with deployments ranging from Western Europe to Vietnam to Iraq and Afghanistan.  Moderator Dr. Robert Smith, director of the Fort Riley Museums, will lead the panel in a group discussion giving guests a unique opportunity to see four generations of fighting men and women in conversation.  The panel will open to audience questions at the end.

  • Jim Sharp – Jim Sharp was born in 1924 and raised on a farm in Morris County, KS.  In 1944, he enlisted in the U.S. Army, deploying to France where he was assigned as a replacement in Co. B. 18th Regiment, 1st Infantry Division.  He fought in the Battle of the Bulge earning 3 battle stars and a Bronze star for valor.  Following the war, Sharp served as Sgt. Of the Guard at the Nuremberg War Crimes Trials for Nazi leaders.  He chronicled his experiences in the books Diary of a Combat Infantryman and Sgt. of the Guard at Nuremberg.  Sharp went on to a successful 35 year career with Kansas Farm Bureau and Affiliated Companies.
  • Mike McDermott - Mike McDermott was born in South Dakota in 1940.  In 1960, he joined the United States Army and in June 1967, he arrived in Vietnam after volunteering for service.  During the first of what would become three combat tours with the 101st Airborne Division, McDermott earned both the Purple Heart and the Distinguished Service Cross.  He received his second Distinguished Service Cross in 1972 while serving with the Vietnamese Army's 5th Airborne Battalion. He later commanded the 18th Infantry Battalion at Fort Riley, and subsequently served as a Defense Attaché in Southeast Asia for ten years before retiring with the rank of Colonel.  After his service, he became an innovative educator and a global traveler.  He currently works with the Kansas State University Office of Military Affairs.
  • Eileen Meyer - Eileen Meyer was born in Chicago, Illinois in 1960.  In 1979, she enlisted in the US Army in the Signal Corps deployments, as an Audio Visual Specialist.  By 1984, she enrolled at Kansas State University in the ROTC Program and remained in the National Guard with the 714 Maintenance Battalion. In 1987, 2 LT Meyer was assigned to the 24th Transportation Company at Ft. Riley.  She deployed to South America and the Middle East as well as several stateside missions with the 1st ID and the 937 Engineer Battalion.  Meyer currently works as a real estate agent for ERA High Point Realty here in Manhattan.

Thursday, October 19, 6:30-7:30pm

Tales and Recipes from Fort Riley's Historic Community Cookbooks

by Jane Marshall

Come learn about the favorite foods and the stories they tell about the historic Fort Riley community from food historian and writer Jane P. Marshall. She will explore the role the cookbooks play in revealing and appreciating the large and diverse military family. Handouts with some of the most unusual and iconic recipes will be available for attendees.

Jane P. Marshall, author of the award-winning “Teatime to Tailgates,” was a reporter and editor at several major newspapers in Colorado and Texas. She taught food writing and food history at K-State until her retirement this year. Marshall grew up on a farm in Chase County where she maintains a Flint Hills limestone home built by her ancestors in 1881.


Thursday, November 2, 6:30-7:30pm

The Enemy Among Us: German POWs in the Flint Hills

by Lowell May

Hear the fascinating story of German POWs sent to the far corners of Kansas and the farmers and ranchers who suddenly found the enemy living and even working in their own backyard. This talk will focus on the general experience of POWs in Kansas with specific examples from the POW camp at Lake Wabaunsee in the Flint Hills.

Retired Sgt. Maj. Lowell May is a military historian and member of the Fort Riley Vintage Military Vehicle Club. He is co-author of Prisoners of War in Kansas 1943-1946.


Thursday, November 16, 6:30-7:30

Willie and Joe at the Front with Jane Close Behind: Outfitting an Army for War 1939-1945

by Marla Day and Barry Michie

In 1939, the US Army had about 174,000 personnel with uniforms, gear, and equipment of WWI design. With the US entry into WWII, there would soon be over 11 million service men and women. Learn how this explosive growth necessitated a reevaluation of what to produce in order to clothe, equip, and protect personnel in a variety of circumstances across theaters of operation - from front lines to support units. Representative samples from the K-State Historic Costume and Textile Museum showing this evolution of uniforms and gear throughout the war for both men and women will be featured in the lecture.