Wonder Workshop Founder Richard Pitts passed Monday morning after a decade long fight with cancer.
Pitts, a New Jersey native, came to Manhattan to study history at K-State. He began to develop a children’s educational program concept and created the Wonder Workshop back in 1995. The museum carries out exhibits and programs to teach about the arts, sciences, and humanities.
Pitts was also credited for researching, studying, and writing about the Underground Railroad experience in Kansas — particularly in Riley and nearby counties. He authored two books on the subject and was the featured historian and narrator in a documentary of the stories of the Underground Railroad in Wabaunsee County produced by K-State’s College of Education and released to PBS Television in 2016.
A natural and ebullient storyteller, Pitts gave talks and performances throughout the state, as well as a performance as Frederick Douglass.
He was one of the recipients of the 2017 Spirit of Martin Luther King Jr. Community Service Award. For his nomination , a resident stated “People don’t think of the Wonder Workshop without thinking of Mr. Pitts. He IS the Wonder Workshop.”
Members of the community recently held a jubilee to celebrate Pitts.