Monday, August 2, 2010

Kansas Museum of History

Nancy and I recently paid a return visit to the Kansas Museum of History in Topeka. It was a trip long overdue, as I had not been there for several years and Nancy had not been there since our youngest child was in grade school. I had not intended to do a Kansas Journeys blog posting about our museum visit, but upon learning how few of our acquaintances knew anything about this outstanding attraction, and with Kansas' 150th anniversary of statehood coming up next year, I changed my mind.

Anybody, no, everybody  who lives in the state of Kansas should visit the Kansas Museum of History. Why?
  • The lessons learned about our collective history are crucial to understanding our state and our people, why we are who we are in the 21st century;
  • The museum is not only educational and interesting, but entertaining. It is far from a mere collection of boring old artifacts. Even children as young as three and four will be fascinated with some of the displays, and that is before they enter the children's discovery area. 
  • Whatever level of pride you might happen to have in your state, it will be elevated by viewing this museum.
For the remainder of this blog post, I'll minimize text, and include more photos than usual. I hope these pictures whet your appetite to visit the Kansas Museum of History.

This is a more familiar view of the museum - as seen from Interstate 70, but it is actually the rear of the building.

Adjacent to the main building is this Potawatomie Indian mission building, a Baptist manual labor training school in the 1850s, closed at present due to budgetary constraints.

Indians have lived, farmed and hunted on the Kansas prairies for thousands of years, This exhibit displays ancient pottery unearthed in the state.
This grass lodge typical of the Wichita tribe, as well as a Cheyenne tipi are among the types of Indian dwellings on display
Conestoga wagon used by settlers bound for the west.
Artifacts from years of bloody turmoil - Bleeding Kansas
No state had a higher per capita number of its men fighting in the Civil War than Kansas. This historic battle flag accompanied the 1st Colored Regiment, and lists the battles in which it fought.
Uniform of Kansas officer, Civil War
"On the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe," Locomotive #132 began riding the rails in 1880
Stan Herd's mural depicts the building of the railroad.
Public entertainment - town bands, Chautauquas, parades, etc.
The state's first of many aeroplanes, designed and built in Kansas 1914.
The Valentine company manufactured a kind of pre-fab roadside diner.
Later version of roadside "diner"
"Where's the Beef?"
Pop culture - 1960s & 70s
Guitar playing cowgirl in children's play area
Nancy and friend entertain me at the puppet theatre
Another section of the museum not pictured here is a gallery for temporary exhibits. Currently showing: Cars, the Need for Speed dealing with Kansas' long fascination with the auto culture.


Links of Interest:
Kansas Museum of History:
8 Wonders of Kansas History - Kansas Museum of History:

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