Stop Day tour to offer perspectives of campus landmarks

Monday, May 04, 2015

LAWRENCE — Retired University of Kansas professor Ted Johnson will give his annual Stop Day walking tour of the architecture and sculptures on the Lawrence campus on Friday, May 8.

The tour theme is Perspectives on the Monuments of Mount Oread. It will begin at 9 a.m. in front of the KU Natural History Museum, 1345 Jayhawk Blvd., and is expected to end around 6 p.m. Participants may come and go as they please. Sponsored by the Humanities and Western Civilization Program, the tour is open to all, and groups are welcome. 

“Emphasis as usual will be on the interrelations of the traditional Seven Liberal Arts  – Grammar, Rhetoric, Dialectic, Geometry, Arithmetic, Music and Astronomy – as they can be discovered in the sculptures on various buildings of the University of Kansas,” Johnson said.

The traditional marathon Stop Day walking tour of campus, which began in the early ’90s, consists of informal, peripatetic, Socratic dialogues growing out of various sites, Johnson said.

In the event of inclement weather, participants will gather at 9 a.m. in the portico of Lippincott Hall and visit the Wilcox Classical Museum. The group will have lunch at noon in the Kansas Union. When the inclement weather clears, the walking tour will resume at the appropriate time and place on the program.

The discussions, open to all who join the tour as it moves about the campus during the day, will turn around the following ideas:


9 a.m.: “Whoso findeth wisdom findeth life.” Location: KU Natural History Museum.
Topic:  An inquiry into the interrelations of the Romanesque Revival architecture and iconography of both Spooner Hall, the first university library, and the Natural History Museum.

10 a.m.: The Seven Liberal Arts and the Classical Tradition. Location: Lippincott Hall.
Topic: The Daniel Chester French statue group of Mentor and Student, mens sana in corpore sano, the Ionic portico of Lippincott Hall, laws, letter and spirit, the Liberal Arts, and drawing ideas from sculptures in the Wilcox Classical Museum.

11 a.m.: “Make our garden grow” (final chorus of Leonard Bernstein’s "Candide"). Location: Twente Hall and then to the Prairie Acre.
Topic: An inquiry into the implications of the quotation from Plato’s “Republic” just inside the door of the former student hospital — “Our youth will dwell in a land of health and fair sights and sounds” — and the campus as garden with the Prairie Acre and sculptures representing a "Prairie Formation," "The Pioneer," "St. George and the Dragon," and "Mercury."

Noon: Memory, the Muses, and the Liberal Arts and Sciences. Location: Watson Library and then to Wescoe Hall for lunch.
Topic: An inquiry into the implications of the iconography on the College Gothic northern façade of the university library, the Romanesque Revival eastern façade of Stauffer-Flint as prototype for the façade of the Natural History Museum, and the late Brutalism of the humanities building, Wescoe Hall.

1 p.m.: Lunch and conversation. Location: The Underground with various dining stations on the first floor of Wescoe Hall.

2 p.m.: The interrelations of a research library, the Liberal Arts, liber and liberty on a university campus. Location: Gather on Wescoe Beach, then travel through Strong Hall to visit the Kenneth Spencer Research Library.

3 p.m.: “Civilization is measured by the extent to which people obey unenforceable laws.” Location: The Chi Omega Fountain and then Memorial Drive with KU Korea and Vietnam War memorials to the Memorial Campanile.
Topic: Participants discussed this idea at the new law school during past tours, and it will serve as point of departure for our inquiry into the implications of the iconography of the fountain with its low relief sculptures and the story of Persephone, Demeter, Hades and pomegranates. A linear pear orchard and a low wall protecting a row of crabapple trees. The dialogue turns around the cycles of life, death, wheat, seasons, courage, honor, sacrifice and wisdom.

4 p.m.: “Free government does not bestow repose upon its citizens but sets them in the vanguard of battle to defend the liberty of every man.” Location: The Memorial Campanile.
Topic: After reflections on the inscription in stone within the Memorial Campanile and the memorials and bucolic landscape on the northern slopes of Mount Oread, a descent through the shadows and raking light of Marvin Grove and then a gradual return up to the plane of Mount Oread and Spooner Hall.

5 p.m.: Tentative Syntheses and Perspectives. Location: Arthur D. Weaver Court, adjacent to Spooner Hall, the first university library.
Topic: Having come full circle, a summing up of the day’s dialogues in a garden where, formerly, under the dappled shade of graceful trees arching over the merry splashing of a fountain, floated a quartet of large rocks.

For further information, please contact the Humanities and Western Civilization Program at or Johnson at