Some have asked for this so here it is!
Speech given to Kansas Museum Association
Nov. 6, 2009
I’ve been doing a little research. Listen to this as those you’ve never been to
WHERE YOU’LL FIND US
We have history museums in opera houses, jails, hospitals, Carnegie Libraries, newspaper buildings, old mercantiles, courthouses, auditoriums, schools, churches, banks, depot, houses, fire stations, city halls, an American Legion hall, a city shop, a county shop, a home for nurses, a grain elevator, a livery stable, and a water office.
You can enjoy the building or the stories they tell in places like the
Ah yes, the matter of the
BARNS AND MORE
The largest barn in the state, the Cooper Barn, once housed Hereford Show cattle and can now be viewed by all. Another museum documents the sad story of the largest horse barn in the state that met its fate from a lightning-induced fire. You can walk through a spectacular 1898 restored roller mill and a clay-brick Mennonite immigrant house or learn about pueblo Indian ruins that date back to the 1600s that you can still see! You can tour a Lustron and a Hartford House, too.
You’ll find a museum within an active high school and they give an awesome tour – even while school is in session. Or, you can tour and eat in the first Harvey House to have a restaurant!
Step inside Constitution Hall where the walls are still shaking from vigorous free-state and pro-slavery debates during our territorial days.
HOUSES OF FAMOUS PEOPLE
You can visit the homes that famous people lived in: Walter Chrysler, Dwight Eisenhower, Amelia Earhart, John Steuart Curry, Carrie Nation, Fred Harvey, General Fred Funston, Bernard Warkentin, Susanna Salter, and even the mayor of Munchkinland.
OUR COLORFUL PEOPLE
Our museums tell about colorful people. John Brown, Wyatt Earp, Bat Masterson, Buffalo Bill Cody, Wild Bill Hickok, George Custer, Martin and Osa Johnson, and even John R. Brinckley (the goat gland doctor).
The list goes on. A few more of our people include George Washington Carver, Gordon Parks, William Allen White, Clyde Cessna, Cyrus Holliday, Arthur Hertzler, Mother Bickerdyke, and there are so many more.
Satanta was held prisoner at
We tell about some real characters, too – Vivian Vance, Buster Keaton, Emmett Kelly, and Whizzo the Clown.
Athletes shine, too. From Olympians Thane Baker, Glenn Cunningham, and Billy Mills to Walter Johnson and Jackie Stiles, coaches Dean Smith and Eddie Sutton and the inventor of basketball himself James Naismith.
Do you know these people that you can learn about in our museums?
Merle Evans (Ringling Brothers band leader)
Ron Evans (astornaut)
Harold Krier (aerobatic flyer)
Wayne Dunafon (Marlboro Man)
Grace Bedell Billings (letter to Lincoln)
Grandma Layton (artist of social causes)
Earl Sutherland (Nobel Peace Prize winner)
Lorenzo Fuller (African American musician, Broadway performer, and early television pioneer)
---and we also have a Gallery of Also Rans...
We cover some really big and fascinating topics
Lewis & Clark
The Plains Indians
Lead, zinc, and coal mining
Immigration (Mennonites, Eastern Europeans, Hispanics, Asians, Scandinavian, more)
The evolution of agriculture and ranching
And we’re a hotbed for fossils
You can go underground to see where businesses were once housed, you can traverse through a tunnel once used as a getaway for bad guys, or you can take an elevator 650 feet down to hop a tram into a dark ride for a salty adventure.
On the flip side, we have another museum that will give you all the space you need and rocket you upward and onward.
THE LARGEST, BIGGEST, ONLY AND MORE
We have the largest electric coal shovel in the world and our museums also tell about the largest hailstone on record, the largest hairball, the largest swimming pool, the largest cattle pool in the state, the largest gas field in the world, the oil field that was the largest producer/supplier of oil in the U.S. during WWI, the first 1950s all-electric house in the U.S. open to the public, the first MGM lion*, the first patented helicopter, the airplane of the first Kansan who built an aircraft that flew successfully, and the longest hand-carved wooden chain! We have displays about the only nuclear plant in the state, the first post office in
Did you know that the first greyhound race was in
ART (art museums are not included in this summary of history museums -- but we have great ones)
JJ Pennell left us great photos of early
Mickey Mantle was a member of the Baxter Springs Whiz Kids. In 1953, Ed Fouts put some shoes on and got on a train with the second largest ball of twine in
We have whole museums for Girl Scouts, pharmacy artifacts, motorcycles, telephones, carousels, Bibles, and barbed wire.
FEATURED IN OTHER MUSEUMS ARE prison escapes, the start of suburbia, truck farming, auto-camping, deaf culture, jackrabbit hunts, chautauquas, rodoes, a round square, and Knute Rockne’s 1931 plane crash.
Find out about communities being lost under reservoirs, oil boom towns and gas camps that are now left for the ghosts, Asa Soule’s legendary effort to bulid an irrigation canal uphill. Learn the story of German POW prisoners in
Displays tell about the dust bowl, drought, floods (especially the 1951), tornadoes, including the 1955 tornado in Udall that killed 83 people, 270 injured, and erased 192 buildings.
IT’S NOT ALL NICE
German Family Massacre
And both sides of the Indian story
Find the Frontier Army Museum, U.S. Cavalry Museum, and the very interesting
YOU CAN SEE
a fish within a fish fossil, a full-scale model of the Liberty Bell made out of
Visit our museums to "get Kansas!"
KE #2 Marci Penner
*now known to be the second MGM Lion but maybe the most famous.