Category: Museums


Trego County Historical Society Museum

The Trego County Historical Society Museum, along with the recent addition of a one-room country school house is located on the Trego County Fairgrounds.

There is a vast collection of pioneer possessions on display. The old safe from the office of the Trego County Treasurer was installed there in 1901 and was given to the historical society in February 1989.

* The tellers cage from the Ogallah Bank;
* A telephone exchange used in Collyer in 1910;
* Medical, dentist and optometrist equipment used by pioneer doctors;
* The first printing press of the Western Kansas World Office dating back to 1879;
* Newspapers, county abstractors records and school records;
* World I and II items are on display;
* Early day household and farm equipment and tools.

The many people settling in Trego County were Civil War veterans, soldiers and sailors from Chicago, Germans from Russia, Bohemains, Swedes and Czechoslovakians beginning somewhere in the years from 1875-1878.

Smoky Hill Museum

The Smoky Hill Museum is a nationally accredited history museum, in the heart of downtown Salina, Kansas. This FREE museum tells the history of the Smoky Hills in a dynamic and inviting way, interweaving it with experiences, tales, graphics, and artifacts.

From animal paths to Indian trails to interstate highways, Salina is the Crossroads of the Heartland. At the heart of Salina is a history rich with ingenuity and idealism, struggle and success, conviction and courage. The stories of our history intersect here, at the Smoky Hill Museum. Run your fingers through the thick fur of a buffalo, go into a full-sized sod dugout or be the historian at the battle of Indian Rock. Complete your visit by stopping at the Museum Store for a wide selection of gifts, regional products and local artwork. Find yourself here, at the Crossroads of the Heartland. The past has never looked better!

Yesteryear Museum

Central Kansas Flywheels, Inc., operator of the Museum, is a non-profit organization to collect, restore and exhibit antiques that pertain to our American heritage and provide mutual enjoyment to members and visitors. Look for: 1880’s Print Shop; 1869 Swedish Bible; 500-piece Dog Figurine Collection; Lock and doorknob display; Barb wire; Wrench display; License plates; Boy Scout memorabilia; Yardstick and brick display; Telephone equipment; Hinkle-Myers Reboring Machine on Model T block; Machine used to make mattresses; Currie Windmill made in Kansas; Tinners’ anvils and tools; Bull Tractor; Typewriters, dictaphones and adding machines; Washing machines; Shaving mug collection; Children’s toys; Woodworking shop; Shoe repair shop; “Big Red” 200 horsepower steam generator; 1943 Mack fire truck; Ostenberg OMC Tractor assembled in Salina, Kansas; Model A truck; Stoves; and Radios.

By Gone Days is scheduled each Spring, and the Antique Engine Show and Antique Tractor Pull is a popular Fall event each October. New exhibits and collections are added throughout the year.

Gernon House

This structure is the oldest “post rock” stone house built in Russell in 1872 by Nicholas Gernon, a blacksmith and one of the original settlers. This lovely home has been fully restored to the period of the 1890s.

Step up to the house on original limestone sidewalks and enter the front parlor where you will stop back in time. Imagine the merry tunes playing on the piano, a baby being rocked to sleep in the cradle, pumping water at the cistern out back, mother running her treadle sewing machine, the girls playing with their china dolls and the boys enjoying a game of checkers.

In addition to the Gernon family being raised here, the house has served as a funeral parlor, apartments, and finally was acquired by the Russell County Historical Society in 1979.

Oil Patch Museum

Oil Patch Russell is a place to see, feel and learn about oil, the “Black Gold” that fuels man’s imagination, as well as his machines. The story of the people and events that make up the history of oil in this area will come alive at Oil Patch Russell.

Whether you are a youngster eager to explore a new subject or an experienced oil person looking to relive old memories, you will catch the spirit of oil at Oil Patch Russell.

Tour the museum building and learn the story of the Lucky Seven and the drilling of the Carrie Oswald #1, the first discovery well drilled in Russell County in 1923.

Walk through an actual oil storage tank and study the geology, drilling and production and transportation exhibits. Take the outdoor walking tour and view cable tool drilling rigs, rotary drilling rigs, pulling units, steam engines and pump jacks.

The spirit of Oil is alive at Oil Patch Russell.

Fossil Station Museum

An imposing looking structure, the museum building was formerly the county jail, built in 1907 from greenhorn limestone or “post rock.” It has adapted nicely to the modern theories of museum functions.

Its limestone exterior is typical of the environment. In the early pioneer days, lumber was scarce and limestone was cheap and plentiful. Many homes and business buildings were constructed of this material, and many stand today, showing little or no effects from eighty to a hundred years of Kansas weather.

Displays portray the early history of Russell County. Many historically significant artifacts help tell the Russell County Story: the wandering Plains Indians hunting buffalo, the coming of the cross-country trails, and the Kansas Pacific Railroad bringing the first Ripon colonists to Fossil Station.

View 100 years of Clothing, Heartland Politics, Russell County Goes to War, and the Painless Puller Palace during a visit to the Fossil Station Museum.

Genealogical library available for researching family histories.

Bison Community Museum

Many of the contents in the Bison Community Museum were donated by area citizens and are retained by the museum as a public trust. The museum displays household items, tools, clothing and personal items used in the first half of the 20th century. Also displayed are artifacts that offer a glimpse into Bison?s early history, including a large display of advertising memorabilia, calendars, and thermometers, that attest to the thriving business section once present in Bison. Photographs of early Bison, its residents and events describe the city and surrounding farm life as well as the devastation left by the 1912 tornado. Other items of interest include a small scale replica of a header barge, stone working tools used to cut limestone posts and a postcard collection from the turn of the century. One unusual feature of the museum is a large pitcher collection that was donated by Edith Money, a Bison resident. From time to time the museum features rotating and special exhibits. rn

Rush County Historical Museum

Housed in an old Santa Fe Depot which has been moved from Timken, Kansas, a town famous for its early family ties with the Timken Roller Bearing Company.

This building filled with artifacts peculiar to this area from early pioneer days, displays everything from a partial rolling pin collection, military items from the conflicts of this century, to old cash registers, typewriters, farm tools and baby shoes to wedding dresses from long ago. There is also a corner dedicated to the showing of the tortuous equipment used in a rural doctor’s office of long ago.

Come spend a delightful morning or afternoon exploring the past with us.

Kansas Barbed Wire Museum

The internationally recognized museum displays over 700 varieties of barbed wire and related fencing items. Also housed in the museum is one of the largest collections of fencing tools in the world. Dioramas depict the use of barbed wire in the 19th century. A library and theatre provide visitors an opportunity to learn more about the settlement of the region.

One of the most unusual specimens in the museum’s collection is an authentic Ravens’ nest built Raven's nestprimarily of barbed wire. Discovered in a tree in Greeley County, Kansas in the 1960?s, this massive nest is a tribute to the ingenuity of these feathered creatures.

A display of military wire and wire tools illustrates the significant role of barbed wire in 20th Century warfare. Although barbed wire had been originally invented as a deterant to livestock, it was quickly modified for use against humans.

The Early Days: The Invention That Tamed the West

Names like Wyatt Earp, Bat Masterson, or “Wild” Bill Hickock instantly conjure up images of a wild West. Alongside these men, there is another name, perhaps not as familiar, but important just the same. So important, in fact, that without him, the wild West may never have been tamed. He was a banker, a businessman, and a farmer. He even served as the Sheriff of his community. However, is it for one of his first inventions that he is most well remembered. His name was Joseph Glidden and his invention changed the lifestyle of midwestern settlers.

In 1874, Joseph Glidden designed and patented a type of wire fencing known as barbed wire. In a short time, his invention flourished into a multi-million dollar industry. “Cheaper than dirt and stronger than steel,” was the slogan shouted by promoters of this new style fencing. Great expanses of prairie were soon divided; cattle and Bison could no longer roam freely across the plains. A new way of life was born; the West was being tamed. This new way of life did not to come without a price. Battles were fought both in the courtroom and on the range. There were few winners, and a lot of losers. Some people even paid with their lives.

The Early 20th Century: Barbed Wire Goes to War:

Twists of steel with razor sharp points glistening in the sun communicate the message “you’re not welcome here.” Originally invented as a means of restraining animals, barbed wire was soon modified as a successful means of restraining humans. Rolls of twisted barbed wire, known as concertina wire, first came into wide spread use during the first World War. It has been used in every military conflict of the 20th century as an effective deterrant to foot soldiers and land vehicles. Rolls of concertina wire were stretched like a spring over miles of hillsides and ravines. Razor sharp points on the wire could inflict painful wounds upon those who tried to cross over, through, or under a fence. The high tensile strength and elasticity of twisted concertina wire would hopelessly entangle large vehicles and equipment. Barbed wire had become a weapon of war.