In January 2012, the Boeing Company announced plans to close Wichita's aircraft manufacturing plant after 85 years of operation, affecting nearly 2,100 workers and reshaping Kansas' aviation industry. The decision left many in Kansas wondering: What will happen to the "Air Capital of the World" without the Boeing plant?
The Kansas Humanities Council in partnership with the Wichita-Sedgwick County Historical Museum will explore this question through a $19,000 Archie Green Fellowship from the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress. The oral history project will document the stories of Boeing plant workers, past and present, and Wichita community members. The interviews and transcripts will be archived at the American Folklife Center in Washington, D.C.
KHC was one of five recipients of the fellowship named in honor of the late Archie Green, a prominent scholar of labor-related folklore. The fellowship supports independent research on the culture and traditions of American workers and the creation and preservation of digital archival materials for future use by researchers and the public.
The Boeing Oral History Project is part of KHC's The Way We Worked in Kansas, a statewide initiative highlighting Kansans' relationship with work over time and across generations.