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Jul 26

Kansas History Museum: Topeka

EntranceThe Kansas History Museum is a wonderful museum in the heart of Topeka, Kansas.  The museum features exhibits devoted to Native American history, settling Kansas, Bleeding Kansas, and general Kansas history.  There is even an 1880 Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railroad locomotive and train cars.Windmill

While we were visiting and for the remainder of 2011 the Kansas History Museum is hosting an exhibit that lists 150 things people love about Kansas.  This showcase commemorates the 150 years of Kansas statehood.  It was a pretty neat exhibit with several high tech displays like a virtual storyteller and an interactive slideshow.  Of course, there were a variety of Wizard of Oz objects and a section on the wild weather Kansas has every year.  The display also covered the Wild West, landscape, people, and the state flower- the sunflower.
Virtual Storyteller

There were several dioramas and large objects throughout the museum.  Besides the train there was a large windmill, stagecoach, Conestoga wagon, and biplane.  Karen really enjoyed the diorama of an old sod house and Southern Cheyenne Tipi.  The Museum also had a diorama of a prairie wildlife scene complete with buffalo.  I really liked the 1950s diner and the history of restaurants that came out of Kansas.  I grew up near Topeka Kansas and boy do I miss my hometown food.
Conestoga Wagon

My favorite part of the Kansas History Museum was the section on Bleeding Kansas.  I teach this subject every year in my 8th grade U.S. History class.  It was pretty neat seeing the real artifacts whose facsimiles I use in the classroom.  I even got a few new ideas and stories that I can use for next year’s class.  I thought the museum represented both sides, and what they wanted, well.  They even had an area where you could determine if John Brown was a hero or a terrorist.
John Brown Hero or Terrorist

Karen’s favorite area was the train.  She really like the ability to walk the length of it and even go in some of the train cabs.  Her second favorite thing there was all the small details and trinkets of early everyday life.
Train

Karen and I highly recommend the Kansas History Museum because it is priced well. It takes about two to three hours to go through and it has many interesting things to look at.
First McDonald's Sign in Topeka

Kansas History Museum
Located at 6425 SW 6th Avenue Topeka, Kansas
Hours of Operation – Tuesday through Saturday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.  and Sunday 1 to 5 p.m.
Cost of Admission as of 2011 Adult is $6 Student with I.D. $4
For more information check out their website at http://www.kshs.org/portal_museum
Trails at the Museum

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