Tag Archives: Mahaffie Stage Coach and Farmstead

To the Finish Line….

By Kathrine Miller

This will be my final posting. All I can say is my many thanks to the Mahaffie organization for the endless dedication and effort towards my first internship. It has been definitely a rememeberable one. I have learned more than I have ever thought I could in a single Summer with Katie right by my side providing the path towards success. I can say that my ultimate goals of losing the fear of speaking of front of people and learning amongst the historians who are out in the community were reached!. Thus, I can take what I have gained and return back to the classroom (for now) but in the long run use this experience within in my own career. I also have to thank Dr. Cantwell, for allowing me the opportunity in the first place, without your guidance and reassurance it would have been a whole different ballgame! Now I can call the staff @ Mahaffie are friends and I will return as a visitor to interpret the experience a whole different way. So, I leave you all now- saying that this was hard at times, I lost my weekends, my sleep, I had to work in traditional clothing on hot days and do some jobs that were not pretty. However, in the end, IT WAS ALL WORTH IT!! Thanks, I will be seeing you soon! Kat Miller

Archival Room Days…..


By KIMG_0909athrine Miller

For my Final project at the Mahaffie StageCoach and Farmstead, I wanted to make use of my skill or least try to present something that the staff could continue to use for education purposes. I got myself involved in a selected topic that I have been taking an active role in and found that only a hand full of personnel really knew the extent of the duty of inputting the Butchering interpretation So, my supervisor and myself took on the task on implementing a Butchering Guide that all Mahaffie staff members can use. it is filled with much much information that just a step by step guide to butchering. It also has the historical background, biology IMG_0910of the chicken, sensitivity issues, the role interpretive themes, the connection to guests, role the of the site and its main mission. The guide offers an overall prospective on the reasoning of how and why butchering interpretation is included within the broad storyline of what Mahaffie and the City of Olathe is trying to convey to their guests. I have now come to the end of my project and finishing the final touches and hope that my contribution will find a good place on their research / library shelves amongst the other significant pieces that have been added as their collection. I did not want to walk away from my internship and not see some sort of piece that can recalled back to me.

When doing all of my research–I came across all these great and crazy articles from the Kansas Farmer.. so I just snapped a couple pics

Growing Within: A look of what my internship has done for my soul!

By Kathrine Miller

I know it sounds really, really corny when I mention what this sort of internship has done for me personally when speaking to my family or friends but I thought I should surely tie it to all my posts and comments over my summer weeks spent with the Mahaffie organization. My mentor, Dr. Cantwell believed that I was ready to seek out that opportunity and validated every word I had spoke on my reasoning of why I thought I needed to explore this opportunity. This shot a huge motivation spark or drive inside of me to go outside the classroom, explore new territory, and immerse myself within the community. It has been a community that has been filled with historians, supportive staff, and of course loads of guests. To this point, I have grown immensely, example being- I am more open and vocal among the guests and just taking more risks even if it does not always pan out! This is one area I have felt that I was extremely weak in and I can now say that I the tide has turn in my favor. I will need the tools learned and hashed out moments to move forward in this sort of field-I don’t want it to hold me back. Taking the lead was another aspect, I had always been a follower-I have simply learned during this internship-sometimes following just doesn’t work. Be a leader and outspoken when the time arises! These are feats I have captured and leaving soon–I don’t want these traits to disappear along with my internship day.


Till next post. Look our corn fields are growing, growing, and growing!!!

The simple things

IMG_0868By Kathrine Miller

Look at the photo to the right. What do you see? Well, I am figuring it out, every piece along the way has a story to tell, a memory, or something to offer. Embracing the task of asking, wondering, and especially dreaming of what was on the Mahaffie Stagecoach has brought clarity to my door. Spending enough quality amongst the memories, the goods, the treasures and the especially the people has only brought the good out of me and will help me further down the road to success. It is my hope I have succeeded in their eyes of what they have thought I had to offer. I can only bring these last and dwindling days to close and absorb all I have gained. This is what I am taking with me. This simple doorknob that I took great care in washing, cataloging and safely storing for the future tells this to be true. I can walk away and say I was successful at my internship and can come back to the Mahaffie Stagecoach with open arms and be greeted as a friend. This has been a great learning experience for me. I will only have a couple more posts to follow so I will try to think of some story or brilliant aspect to leave on.  Till then.

It’s all about the Chicken!

By Kathrine Miller

For my final Reflection Paper, I wanted to contribute something more meaningful to the Mahaffie StageCoach Farmstead that could be used from my learning experience. From the time I arrived here it seemed as if the knowledge of butchering of a chicken had been very limited among the staff and volunteers so quickly learned this routine out of necessity. My knowledge and quick hands earned me the butchering spot when needed during the  interpretive rotation. As my days were coming to the end at the farm, my supervisor Katie and myself came up with a great idea of forming a butchering guide for other staff members to access to that had historical / anatomical information, butchering step by step, along with drawings to be able to handle butchering on ones own. I really did not expect this when thinking of my reflection paper but it is one process gets talked about a lot and and the more educational information that is provided, maybe it would be easier for some of the other staff members. Within the guide, I have made sure that I have included several mindful topics such as the sensitivity issues that we are aware of, providing the staff with numerous educational structured outlets to aim conversations with guests to explain the reasoning behind the demonstrations such as adding depth and breadth to an interpretive program. I soon found myself in another room on Mahaffie grounds that I absolutely loved and couldn’t get enough of-the Archival Room. Researching on microfilm, In boxes of archival material of newspapers, letters, family letters, oral accounts but I was in search of historical Kansas farming with a narrowing of farming of poultry(any information related). I will be soon wrapping up this guide and turing it over to the Mahaffie staff of which I hope they will see I put much effort in seeking out this guide to be used by their staff members.

The “ins and outs”!!!

By Kathrine MIller

IMG_0907I wanted to do a blog about just the little things that have brought me joy to experience during my time at the Mahaffie Stage Coach and Farmstead. I have uploaded a few photos that I have snapped along the way when time has allotted me. It has been a very busy season for the operation  since they began the Thursday Family Fun Night that portrays a different theme each week. This past week on Thursday 7/9/15 it was a Civil War week theme with cannon firings and demonstrations shown to guests. I provided a picture of the 2 cannons that were used below. IMG_0893Other pictures slated in are of the property corm fields that I pass everyday and walking in one day- I saw the pioneer scarecrow; I thought it was a nice touch to add. July 4th celebration week was a wild ride since I had very limited experience of handling crowds such as this which I was told that the organization saw over 700 guests that day who had come to see the traditional firework displays they put together.(no photos included due to being extremely busy) We normally have around 100 guests give or take on Thursday nights and even less on Sat & Sunday. So it was a valuable experience to hold onto for the future. The other random photos expose the “ins and outs” of where I spend my time whether helping with traditional games, helping load guests onto the stagecoach, providing house tours, or sitting in front of a computer putting together a recipe for their weekly newsletter- it all becomes the “In’s and Outs” of the job at the Mahaffie StageCoach and Farmstead. To provide their guests an educational experience of 1860s frontier living. I am soaking up the very last days at Mahaffie to be able to walk away and know that my internship was a valuable experience that I can use later down the line in my career.

“The Long Road”

By Kathrine Miller

IMG_0891During my time at the Mahaffie StageCoach and Farmstead I wanted to step back to reflect on what I’ve really accomplished among a group of local professional historians, volunteers, and other seasoned professions. I feel that I have risen to the challenge that was bestowed upon me and have worked side by side with the staff (with some costume malfunctions here and there I have to say!!) without hesitation or question. Yes, there have been many projects that which I’ve started and had no idea what I was doing- such as my adventure with the chicken butchering experience or cleaning wool from a sheared sheep.

However, I am holding nothing back and just going for journey that the classroom can never provide to a person. Other times it has seemed a bit overwhelming since being so new at a public history forum but the guests do appreciate the effort.  The big “Fourth of July Firework and Celebration” on site really exposed me to how and why Mahaffie ties itself to the holiday for recognition but I was not prepared for how many guests would visit and all the staff seemed extremely, extremely busy with guests entering and exiting. I have never seen so many guests on site before. For this event, I just wish I had been warned by other seasoned staff members but overall, for the station I was working, I made it work till the end.

I only have a few more weeks left at my internship and I will be working still on “Thursday Family Fun Night”, Saturday -continuing working in the collections dept and Sundays-rotation on -site to soak up as much knowledge that these great historians and volunteers have provided me.

And it is bittersweet. Yes, I am ready to return  to the classroom to finish my degree but I will forever be grateful to Mahaffie for the “Long Road” to success is near.

A Priceless Opportunity- A Continued Posting

By Kathrine Miller

This is a continued posting of my blog discussing on working among the collections at the Mahaffie StageCoach and Farmstead. I thought it would be a great topic to breakup into a couple postings due the amount information and photos that I am relaying on this particular topic. Please be sure to see my first posting on this topic to follow my journey.

IMG_0879My last post left off where I was elated of finding an organization that would take the time to make sure my internship had a well-balanced learning experience. This included finding out that I would have an opportunity to work among their most cherished items besides the actual site itself. I know this is a rare educational experience that I am gaining and I will be grateful for every minute of it.

As stated before, the project I am handling is a small artifact collection that has been sitting on site but has not been cleaned, catalogued properly, nor stored in the appropriate preservation containers. For the last two weeks, this has been my duty on Saturdays and at I was elated then I started to look at all the work needed to be completed-Got to work very quickly!!

Each step became regimented, precise and I began to find my pace within the pile of collections.  Katie, my immediate supervisor would check on me from time to time as I worked through the assembly line of washing the artifacts in buckets of warm water to sift to dirt and grime as best IMG_0838as possible to the final stage of a drying table. The next step would be to catalogue the artifact on a  hard copy  of a “Catalog Form”. This form consisted of detailing information such as an object ID, object name, home location, where found, description / condition of item and taking and its height/width/length.

I had to tag the object ID of each artifact and also photograph each piece for a computer backup. Within the group of collections, I have completed the process for all the glass artifacts and I will now begin to start the cataloguing of the more difficult pieces next. I figure this will take me another couple Saturday sessions to complete this project but I have gained a solid block of knowledge within the collection room.



The Story’s the Thing

By Kathrine Miller

11245535_10103088407902760_313476232728814064_nAt the Mahaffie Stage Coach and Farmstead it is the goal to provide their guests an joyful and an educational experience while they visit the historical site. One way to capture these elements  is to offer their guests the option of viewing and and interacting with interpreters on the grounds who care for the site day in and day out. It is the hope that the guests take away some educational aspect of the life on the frontier and enjoy the site for what it has to offer with the use of interpreters.

During my Summer internship at the Mahaffie organization, I have been rotating my duties and one of my duties is taking on the role of an Interpreter. At first, honestly, it was a bit of a challenge for me. My nerves have gotten the better of me at times due to being very new with handling guest/public relations but I have had a wonderful support network which who have guided and steered me into the right direction. As an interpreter at the Mahaffie StageCoach, it is my duty to provide the guests the backlog of information that will help support the mission of the site-such as explaining the necessities of gardens while watering the grounds as I speak in front of a group, or providing the backlog of information of the Barlow & Sanderson Stage Coach that guests tend to love, to filling in the historical background when upon a question is asked by a guest when they spot something unknown to them.

My favorite interpretation undertaking and one of my greatest achievements has been learning to slaughter chickens for demonstration purposes. I had no experience in this realm, so it took quite a brave streak within me to conduct this and in the end I was successful. The guests on this particular Sunday day were curious, full of questions, and even willing to help get the chicken cut into the appropriate cuts. I have to say, I learned quite a bit about living on the frontier myself as I took on the multitude of tasks to finish the job correctly as it would be done then. This day of interpretation exposed me to the elements of gaining the valuable experience needed help carry me onto other places to hold a key spot as an valuable interpreter on the grounds. I have added pictures of the chicken demonstration and photo of me in my traditional clothing that we as interpreters wear on the grounds when visitors are with us.(I have set it as my featured pic, I am clothed in traditional dress w/ petty coat underneath to fill out dress, a hair bonnet due to short hair, and and the classic bonnet, and I would have an apron on)

I am gaining so many educational experiences for my future that one can not gain within the classroom. It has been and will be something I will reference to for future bases.

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