#14 Smoky Hill Museum

My name is David Hawksworth and I would like to adopt the Smoky Hill Museum.

Smoky Hill Museum (Photograph by David Hawksworth)

Smoky Hill Museum (Photograph by David Hawksworth)


Tell us a bit more about yourself

I live in Salina, Kansas, and run a video production company. I am also a history fan, especially of local history.

Tell us a bit more about your adopted museum
The Smoky Hill Museum is located in Salina, Kansas, and celebrates the history of the Smoky Hills region in north-central Kansas from prehistoric times to the present. The original artifacts were collected through each of the households in Salina in the mid to late 1800s donating one item. Free admission, open year-round.

Why have you chosen to adopt this museum?
The Smoky Hill Museum was totally renovated in 2005, and is accredited by the American Association of Museums. The museum takes a very active role in bring the region’s history to the community, with monthly presentations by regional historians and others, award-winning original exhibits, and the annual Street Fair, attended by thousands of people the last Saturday in September. With an engaging children’s section where they can solve history mysteries, a hands-on replica of the first dugout home in the area, and a touchscreen kiosk where you can take a Salina school’s now-famous 1895 8th grade final exam, there’s something for everyone. There is an active Friends of the Museum group that runs the museum store, with a wide variety of books and gifts that celebrate the local heritage.

Why would you recommend people visit?
The museum gives a great overview of the region, with plenty of artifacts and photos that make each time period come alive. The special exhibits, which are changed semi- annually, examine more specific topics in the region’s history. Past exhibits have included such topics as civil rights in Salina, voting, the military presence in the region, the 1970s, how the railroad enhanced life in the region, and Salina’s recent 150th birthday. The museum’s motto is “Share the past, envision the future.” Only by having a clear understanding of our history can we properly plan for the future. The museum embodies this in all that they do. The staff do a fanstastic job and are very dedicated to their work. The museum is very well-respected locally, regionally, and nationally.

How would you sum up your museum in three words?
History comes alive!

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