The long and winding road leading to the Kansas Museum of History is worth the drive. This facility’s well-lit, nicely designed displays invite hours of exploration.
History has seldom looked better than it does at this lovely museum. Permanent displays include a scale model of a traditional American Indian earth lodge and a full-size teepee. Another life-size diorama features a stuffed bison, prairie dogs and birds frolicking among prairie grasses and sunflowers. Artifacts and plaques document early travels along the Oregon Trail and migration by ex-slaves from the South. Crafted in 1862, the first Kansas Colored Infantry Flag honors the more than 2,000 African-American soldiers who enlisted in the state during the Civil War.
Perhaps the most impressive exhibit is a locomotive and several full-size rail cars, including old-fashioned dining and passenger cars. Period luggage and a large Santa Fe Time Table are displayed nearby. The final room illustrates Kansas life from the 1940s through the 1980s, with retro stand mixers and cowboy boots decorated for the 1961 Kansas Centennial. Discovery Place makes learning about history fun for youngsters; this section of the museum holds a pint-size log cabin, county fair carnival setup and Plains Indian teepee. There’s also a miniature locomotive, model farm equipment and a puppet-show stage.