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Wichita Area Ties To 1936 Olympics Featured In New Exhibit

A exhibit that highlights Wichita’s ties to the 1936 Olympics opens Monday.

The exhibit will be in Wichita State University’s special collections reading room and features a poster, photographs, a newspaper article and a book about the gold medal winning 1936 basketball team.

The team included players from the McPherson Refiners, a company team from Globe Refining. And Wichita University players Francis Johnson and Jack Ragland, and WU coach Gene Johnson.

Dr. Lorraine Madway, special collections curator at WSU says the exhibit also features historical context, highlighting the social and political unrest in Germany under Hitler’s rule, and the depression in the US.

She says the exhibit brings together many Kansas elements.

“It brings together education because basketball is played in universities like Wichita University, it brings together town pride, like McPherson, the town got behind the company, Globe Refining,” says Madway.

“And it shows a dimension that was lost - the whole idea of these amateur industrial leagues, long before you had professional leagues. So, it was one of the states golden moments and it was clearly a golden moment for our university.”

The exhibit runs July 9 through September 30 at Wichita State.