Site Selection

 July 13, 1998

LITCHFIELD PARK, Ariz.– The City of Wichita, Kansas has been selected as the site of the American Overseas Schools Historical Park by the membership of the American Overseas Schools Historical Society (AOSHS) at its annual meeting in Minneapolis on July 11th.

The Wichita site was selected through a process which included soliciting proposals from 14 selected metropolitan areas in the United States; followed by site visits by a nine member committee to the three cites best qualified to have the park in their area.

“The City of Wichita was a clear choice in the site selection competition,” said Dr. Tom Drysdale, American Overseas Schools Historical Society President and Archives Director.  “The five-plus acre, downtown river front site made available by the City of Wichita in the heart of their outstanding ‘Museums on the River’ cultural district is superb. Additionally, the show of support from city government, Wichita State University, the Wichita Public School System and local business and industry has been very strong.”

“Wichita is very excited and honored to be selected as the home for the American Overseas Schools Historical Park. The park and museum will be a wonderful addition to the Museums on the River district, ” said Wichita Mayor Bob Knight.  “The Historical Park and Archives Museum will be a tribute to millions who attended overseas schools, many of them while family members served their country in the US military. The facility will also honor the educators who taught in those overseas schools.”

WSU President Eugene Hughes noted, “A Historical Park and Museum located in the ‘heartland’ of America will provide a synergy between the metropolitan area and the American Overseas Schools Historical Park, but especially between educational institutions at all levels.”

Plans call for the site to include a landscaped historical park with a visitor’s center, existing archives, a museum and memorials of overseas schools, alumni associations, educators and students. The selection of this site will begin a process of development, starting with the dedication of the Historical Park Site on July 22, 2001.

The origin, evolution and development of American education abroad is a remarkable human and educational success story that is finally being recorded. Graduate students at home and abroad, research scholars, historians, writers and educators, American and foreign, have expressed much interest in the project. All will benefit when the park, archives and museum are officially opened to the public.

The American Overseas Schools Archives (AOSA) was first established on the campus of Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff in 1989. The AOSA is dedicated to preserving the history and memorabilia of the kindergarten through grade 12 education of an estimated 4 million American children who attended more than 900 American overseas schools over the past 150 years.”

In 1995 the American Overseas Historical Society was incorporated as a non- profit IRS 501(c)(3) organization.  At this time the archives are now located in Wichita, Kansas.

The selection of Wichita concludes a search that was begun in 1996 for a permanent home for the archives and a museum in a historical park setting.