Step back in time as history unfolds at the Kearny County Museum on Buffalo Street. Established in 1979, the museum won the Kansas Historical Society’s Award of Excellence in 1982.
In 1974, the museum property, one-half city block, was given to the Kearny County Historical Society by Jennie Rose O’Loughlin, daughter of John and Mary O’Loughlin. Jennie’s father, John, was the county’s first permanent white settler in what was to become Kearny County. He was also the first permanent settler of Southwest Kansas. In 1873 John came to the railroad designated stop of Lakin to establish a store.
The complex consists of the museum building constructed in 1979 and annex, the White House, School House, Santa Fe Depot, Farm Machinery building and a Round Barn, totaling over 20,000 square feet. The Lakin area was an important part of the Santa Fe trail and houses an excellent Santa Fe Trail exhibit. The 1831 Conestoga Wagon is quite impressive.
The Museum was built in 1979. It houses a large reference library, with volumes reaching back as far as 1847. Extensive files on Kearny County history, families, newspapers, county records are housed in the Museum. An extensive collection of indexed photographs, Kansas Historical Society publications, and all newspapers printed in the county are on microfilm.