The story of Brown vs. the Board of Education is perhaps one of the most well known and important aspects of American history. It was the start of the end of segregation in public schools. Those involved with the case such as the teachers, students, secretaries, and others may not have understood how much they would change things when they asked to be treated equally. It may have taken years for behavior to change regarding segregation, but at least the case made it clear that segregation was illegal.
Brown vs. the Board of Education National Historic Site is the site where history was forever changed regarding the segregation of the school system. The site is located on 17th street. The museum is open daily from 9am to 5pm, though it is closed on major holidays. Hours can vary for special events. Admission to the site is free; however, a donation is quite welcome.
Visitors are welcomed on site by a park ranger. This ranger will explain the story and history of the site. The tour will lead into an auditorium for a film titled Race and the American Creed. There are five clips shown daily, which are all five minutes in length. From the auditorium guests will move to the Education and Justice Gallery. Here visitors learn about the people, places, and events that lead up to the decision of the courts and what happened after. Computer stations with films are set up here for more education. The Hall of Courage provides a look at how each visitor might have felt being discriminated against.
A bookstore offers informative books, videos, and CD's regarding the civil rights movement, African American History, and the National Park Service. Once through the store guests come upon the "Legacy of Brown vs. the Board of Education'' Gallery. The events that happened as a result of Brown and the struggle for equality are examined here. Information kiosks, music stations, and a film are on display.
The last exhibit of the museum is the "Expressions and Reflections'' Gallery. This exhibit has four computers where visitors can share their feelings, pictures, or other media. All of the exhibits are located on the first floor of the building. The second floor of the Brown vs. Board of Education National Historic Site is the national park service offices. The Brown Foundation also has offices in the building.
Occasionally the site has special exhibits. For 2009 the museum offered the "Paint the Park'' exhibit which allowed contemporary paintings with America's national parks as the subject to be displayed. An art walk has also been hosted at the site. Events are held throughout the year for schools, groups, and other guests. These events are private viewings of the museum and can include catering.
This building is not the only place in Topeka a visitor may wish to go. In Topeka there is the Kansas History Museum, Old Prairie Town, and Kansas State Capitol for a complete historic tour.