Museums teach visitors about the roots of communities | Hillsboro Star-Journal


Personal editor

Marion County Museums preserve the history of their communities, maintain archives, and display memorable artifacts from the early days.

Father Kapaun Museum

Perhaps the most visited museum at the moment is the Father Kapaun Museum in Pilsen.

Chaplain Emil Kapaun, a prisoner of war in Korea who helped other prisoners survive, is a candidate for canonization by the Roman Catholic Church. People come from all over the world to experience Kapaun’s selfless life.

The museum is open from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Tuesdays and Fridays. Appointments to visit the museum and church at other times can be made online or by calling Melissa Stuchlik at (785) 366-0790.

Stuchlik receives four or five calls a day. Several tourist guides are available.

Florence-Harvey House

Step back in time by taking your family or a group of friends to dinner at the Florence Harvey House Restaurant and touring the facilities.

It is part of the first restaurant and motel that Fred Harvey established along the Santa Fe Railroad in the 1870s.

The museum is open by appointment only. Appointments can be made by emailing [email protected] or calling (620) 878-4481.

Hillsboro Museums

The Visitor Center for several historic Hillsboro buildings is near the entrance to the city park. It is open from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. and from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays and from 9 a.m. to noon on Saturdays.

The 1876 Pioneer Adobe House, also known as the Mennonite Settlement House, is nearby. It was built by Peter Paul Loewen and is the only surviving house of its type in the area. It has a unique cooking and heating system. An addition houses old objects from this period.

An 1876 windmill used to grind wheat is nearby, and an 1890s one-room schoolhouse is adjacent to the visitor center.

The 1909 William F. Shaeffler House on E. Grand Ave. is also available for tours. The Queen Anne House features an open staircase, stained glass windows, beautiful woodwork and a round cupola.

Tours can be arranged by contacting museum director Cara Duell at (620) 947-3775.

Marion Historical Museum

The Marion Historical Museum was originally a county museum, but as other towns have had their own museums, it has become local. The museum continues to hold items from towns that do not have museums, such as the smaller communities in northern Marion County.

Aubrey Wheeler, director and curator for two years, recently obtained a master’s degree in anthropology and a certificate in museum studies. She digitizes objects.

Located in a former church on the northeast corner of Central Park, the museum has limited space, but Wheeler is trying to make it more wheelchair accessible.

“My goal is to open up the space a bit,” she said.

She plans to update the signage to reflect the articles’ relationship with the community.

The museum is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday to Saturday.

For access on other days or to arrange a visit, Wheeler can be contacted at [email protected]

Mennonite Heritage and AgMuseum

The Goessel Threshing Days will take place August 5-7, and by paying the entrance fee you will gain access to the Mennonite Heritage Museum as well as seven other buildings.

The museum is housed in a 200-by-18-foot replica of one of two immigrant houses built for a group of Mennonites who came to the area in 1874. Other buildings include Turkey’s Red Wheat Palace, 1902 Schroeder barn, 1875 Krause house and a country school.

The museum is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday to Saturday from May to September. More details are available at www.goesselmuseum.com. Director Fern Bartel is at (620) 367-8200.

Peabody Historical Museum

Peabody’s Walnut St. has been designated 1880s Main Street and a National Historic Site. Walking or driving down the street is an experience in its own right.

Peabody also has a historic building complex that includes the 1874 first free library in Kansas, the 1914 Carnegie Library, the Peabody Printing Museum, and the Morgan House. Behind the Morgan House is a barn which houses railway and agricultural artifacts.

The museum is in an 1874 building just east of the Carnegie Library. It is open from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. on the first and third Saturdays of each month. Appointments can be made for other times by calling the city at (620) 983-2174.

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