It’s a shame that so few people visit their local historical museums. The Wyandotte County Museum located in Wyandotte County Park is a prime example. How many of the county’s residents can say they have visited this historical site?
Wyandotte County Museum Needs Your Love
We dropped in on a Saturday morning to check out any updates. Although they are open a few hours on Saturdays, we figured we would see some other guests. Besides staff, who were extremely welcoming, there was no one else to be seen. Now I guess that is a good and bad thing. It was bad because obviously this is a great place to learn about the history of Wyandotte County. The one good thing was that we had the place to ourselves. By the way, we would much rather share it with lots of others.
We find that local museums are a perfect place to start when exploring a new town or city. It is a pace where you can get a grasp of the districts and townships that made up the early beginnings of a city. Then when you are out and about you will be able to better understand the relationships that places have to one another. The same goes for the Wyandotte County Museum. We started in the gallery that showcases the original inhabitants of the area. The Hopewell Indian Tribe occupied the are until about 300 A.D. as hunters and gatherers. Many of the Hopewell artifacts on display were found near 61st and Leavenworth Road.
Exploring Wyandotte County Museum
In 1804, Lewis and Clark made camp at Kaw’s Mouth, which would later be named Kaw Point. Located at the confluence of the Missouri and Kansas Rivers, the group made camp here for three days. During their time in this area, they witnessed their first viewing of buffalo. They also saw a flock of Carolina Parakeets, which are now extinct.
The museum progresses in chronological order. As we moved through the displays, we passed forward in time. Native Indian tribes lived in the area, with the Wyandot being the most dominant. French Canadians called them Huron tribe, which has become synonymous with a local Indian cemetery ( You can read more about it here> ). Over time, the area saw vast changes, and in 1859 was organized into Wyandotte County.
Some of the most popular artifacts in the Wyandotte County Museum are the over-sized maps. Here visitors can explore the changes that have occurred in the county since the early 1900’s. One map even has the names of many of the land owners, and those from the area will see many familiar family names.
Something For Everyone
The museum isn’t large, but they still attempt to allow all visitors to have an interactive experience. In one gallery children have some hands-on displays that allow them to see some of the challenges archeologists face during exploration and recovery. In another section of the museum they have an assortment of garments from various occupations. Children are encouraged to try them out, and dress up as various members of the community.
As we continued to explore the East Gallery, we came to the World war II exhibit. During wartime, a bomber plant in the Fairfax district was tasked with producing B-25 Mitchell Bombers. While these were first produced in California, the Kansas City, Kansas plant would end up fabricating over 6,600 of these aircraft. manufacture of these planes began in August 1940, and would continue for five years. Our time was running out for this visit, so we made our way back toward the entrance. One last conversation with staff, and we were heading out the door with a renewed appreciation for the rich history of Wyandotte County.