The Kansas Museum of history is a museum stocked with rich historical artifacts of the U. S. A since the 1860s during the days of President Abraham Lincoln In the museum one can trace the history of native American tribes, the movement of early settlers in the western via the Oregon and Santa Fe trains, the Bleeding Kansas, The civil wars and the populism of the 20th century among others . Also featured are the Atchison and Santa Fe’s early train of two cars(Building the Kansas Museum History , 1984 ).
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The Museum is situated in the north west Kansas at Topeka near Potawatomi mission. It is built on an 80 acre piece of land and it is a home to 10, 000 artifacts exhibited on 30, 000 square feet (2, 800 squares meters). The museum was built in the 1980’s on this piece of land donated by the state. It opened doors to the public in 1984 and houses a gallery museum store classrooms and labs for conservation and exhibitions.
A Visitor wishing to visit the museum should take exit route 365 of Interstate 7, then turn north and enter the roundabout on his west / left and follow signboard directions to the museum . A private car can also access the museum easily through the interstate 7 road. Those using public means will have to walk some distance since public vehicles are no allowed on that road . Inside the museum there is a free parking area as well as a free picnic area. Wheel chairs and strollers can also access to the museum easily and even there are some readily available at the entrance for free.
The museum is funded at the state level by the Heritage Trust Fund for between $5000-$90, 000. At the National level it is supported by the National Trust which contributes between $2000-$50, 000. Other sources of fund to the museum include the tax revenue from visitors to it(museum) and well wishers . The public is also encouraged to contribute in terms of finance and some artifacts they so wish to donate.
To date the Museum has a gallery where artifacts are displayed, a store where collections are stored, a classroom and a laboratory where teaching and conservation takes place respectively Amongst the items featuring in the gallery are a train and a full size tipi of the Southern Cheychene style (Building the Kansas Museum History, 1984) At the entrance of the Museum there is a reflective pool on one side reminding of the Bleeding Kansas during the civil war.
On the other side there is a statue of a beautiful Indian and a buffalo made by Lumen Winter . There is also dome room at the entry that faces towards the East to the morning star –the god of fire and war.
The building has a Pawnee Lodge which is more than a home with a reflection of the social and religious life of the Pawnees. The Kansas museum of history is a state museum presenting history of Kansas from pre historic times to modern eras . It is a home to the native tribes like the Osage and the Pawnee.
Amongst the artifacts in the museum are ; a Pike used by John Brown in 1863, a Flag that was used by William Quantrills who killed Lawrence Kansas, Riding boots used by George Armstrong Custers , Carrie A. Nation’s Hummer, William Allen White’s printing press and Dwight D. Eisenhower’s Jacket used in World War 11.
Other items on display are a banner from Lincoln –Douglas debates , a flag used in the 1860 presidential campaigns , mementoes of assignations , a sofa set on which Harriet Beecher heard of Uncle Tom Cabin’s inspiring stories among others . The Museum is open on Tuesdays to Saturdays from 9 am to 5 pm. On Sundays it is open from 1 pm to 5 pm. The museum is closed on Mondays and state public holidays (Voices from the Heartland-A Kansas Legacy, 1990).
The museum is open to Adults at an entrée fee of $5, seniors $4, Students with Id’s $3, while Students on school tour and Residents get $1 discount. Current military, members of the society and children below five years are allowed free entry.
Today the Museum has a nature trail, conference center, and educational room, for carrying out educational programs . Among the programs covered are the native American tribal history.
One can argue that the Museum is a worth site for anyone who wants to know and explore the rich Native American history in Forts and Trails, Civil War, Settlement and Towns , Fast foods, Kansas families , the early 20 th Century among others. This presentation is not just descriptive and persuasive but also an accurate analysis of the Native American History. The museum is an ideal site for the historians to dig into the past of Kansas . It is also ideal for students who want to study history given the resources like maps, stored and the conducive learning classroom.
To the tourists it is an ideal attraction site given its easy accessibility and terrain. It is also ideal for tourists who want to make holidays given the free picnic area. Parents and student can also find the picnic ideal for them (Voices from the Heartland-A Kansas Legacy, 1990). To the future generation the modern laboratory guarantee proper conservation of the artifacts. The modern conference center in the museum provides an n ideal meeting place
Building the Kansas Museum History (1984) Kansas History, Vol. 7 No. 1, spring, Topeka, Kansas State Historical Society, Pg. 40-45.
Voices from the Heartland-A Kansas Legacy (1990) The Public Historian, Vol 12. No. 1, Winter. Santa Barbara CA, University of California. Pg123-127