Our Mission

To capture, preserve, and celebrate President Obama’s Kansas heritage, sense of family, and Midwestern values; to educate and inspire all children by using his ancestry as a model; and to share his family’s local history with people across Kansas, the nation, and the world.

The President Obama’s Kansas Heritage Project (2009-2017) is the work of a group of citizens from the greater Butler County area. Recognizing a civic duty to preserve a Presidential heritage, and honoring the role of Midwestern values in the strength of a nation, the group focused its efforts on collecting oral histories and artifacts, developing educational tools, and providing a website in order to make these resources available to the larger community.

Oral History Collection

There are sixteen Oral Histories in the collection, gathered from seventeen oral history narrators. Video recordings of the oral histories, transcripts, and finding aid notes may be viewed on this website. A two-part book of the oral history collection may be downloaded here as well. The permanent collection is housed at the Augusta Historical Museum in Augusta, Kansas, and at the Kansas Historical Society in Topeka, Kansas.

President Obama's Grandparents and Mother: Madelyn, Stanley Ann, and Stanley Dunham
President Obama’s Grandparents and Mother: Madelyn, Stanley Ann, and Stanley Dunham

Oral History Documentary
From the Flint Hills of Kansas to the White House

Featuring excerpts from the oral history collection, this documentary (BCTV production, Steve Cless, director) premiered on August 25, 2013 at Garfield Elementary School in Augusta, Kansas, the same school Mr. Obama’s grandmother attended. In the video, the documentary is preceded by clips of Garfield students portraying Presidential history.

Length: 25:41

Family History

The Family History of President Obama’s maternal grandparents is presented in the back story narrative, researched and composed by Carolyn Schmidt and Paul Leeker, under the direction of historian Jay Price, director of the Local and Community History Program at Wichita State University. The research team explored the ancestry of both grandparents and the communities in Kansas where they came of age in the 1930s. Their work provides important background information and an enriching context for the oral histories.

Media Resources

Media Resources and links to news stories, books, and speeches focus primarily on local history and Mr. Obama’s Kansas connections.

Photo Gallery

The Photo Gallery contains photos of ancestors, family members, and gravesites,  photos taken during the project, and images of documents.

Educational Tools

Educational Tools include resources and links such as libraries, museums, and speakers’ bureaus; speeches and lesson plans; Obama’s ancestry and ancestry research; Kansas sites and service-learning; elementary, middle school, and high school activities; social studies and character education; as well as videos, websites, podcasts, and news activities.

Dedication

We dedicate this project to our oral history narrators and to grandparents everywhere. It is they who hold fast the bonds of community from one generation to the next, and the next, through time.