Long before the Wizard of Oz - there were intrepid explorers from Kansas that found themselves in whole new worlds. Martin and Osa Johnson from Chanute Kansas - recorded the exotics of Africa the South Pacific and Borneo. Through photos - film and books they shared their adventures. During their lifetimes they would command sold out - standing room only lectures about their "trips". The Wizard of Oz was produced in 1939 - their adventures started in 1917. They weren't in Kansas way before Dorothy left.
In Chanute KS there is a museum dedicated to their exploits. It is the Safari Museum. Not huge but a wonderful foray into these two adventurer's lives. I had the fortunate opportunity to visit a couple of years ago and I did this because one of our grand-daughters is named after Osa. Brilliant.
From 1917 to 1936 they recorded their voyages. Their pictures and film document the wild and exotic before the onslaught of civilization. The museum is a testament to their travels and their travels have enthralled thousands and probably influenced some of your thoughts about travel - without you even knowing it.
During their time - Martin and Osa produced a couple of films: Simba and Baboona which helped to excite expeditions to Africa as well as the South Pacific. In order to document their exploits under some severe and ridiculous environmental conditions Martin created special cameras to record their treks. He was considered a pioneer in the film industry because of it.
The museum is filled with personal items memorializing these amazing people. When I was there it also housed a special exhibit of African items - religious costumes - pottery - masks which fit perfectly with the Johnson's. I found and bought - in a used bookstore in Salt Lake City of all places a first edition of their book...."I Married Adventure". I gave it to our granddaughter as a keepsake from her namesake.
It is believed that if it hadn't been for World War II and the movement of troops in the Pacific Theatre that their adventures would have astounded audiences for decades. But times changed and their exploits became less and less exotic as travel to the more remote parts of the world increased after the war.
You probably won't find yourself in Chanute Kansas. Too bad. The Safari museum is a reminder that although we live in these magical times of global travel... to so easily go where we want to go....someone blazed a trail before us. It doesn't lesson our excitement and wonder or joy in travel.....but it should serve to remind us to appreciate the adventurers before us.
Travel Safe - Travel Well !!! Thank You Martin and Osa !!!!!!
BK Travel Tips
To enjoy travel and see the world and often yourself as if for the first time and with with the eyes of a young child.