KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- This August marks 100 years since the Panama Canal was built. In celebration a special exhibition is set to open this week in Kansas City. It includes a working model of how the lock system works in the Panama Canal.
"This is one of the greatest engineering achievements of the 20th century," said Lisa Browar of the Linda Hall Library.
The Panama Canal, one of the seven engineering wonders of the world, brought to life in Kansas City.
"When they come in and see it I think we can give them a better understanding of kind of the how the Panama Canal works for one thing," said Jerry Richardson an associate professor at UMKC.
UMKC and Shawnee High School students helped build the mini model with locks that really work.
"It's better to show than tell but it's better to experience than to show,” said Jason Wang, a Shawnee Mission Northwest student.
It is part of a special exhibition at the Linda Hall Library marking the centennial of the Panama Canal; an achievement that shortened shipping routes by more than 8,000 miles. It enabled international commerce to flourish.
"I can say with a great deal of assurance that a lot of these products did come through the Panama Canal,” said Browar.
The exhibit features detailed notebooks and other items of American engineer A.B. Nichols who lived and worked in the canal until it was complete in 1914.
"His own journals his own recollections his own observations, and all of the items are in the collection he acquired and put together in this collection because he thought they were important to tell the story,” said Browar.
A story that changed life as everyone knew it.
"It is a phenomenal undertaking, to do what they did 100 years ago,” said Bower.