Archives & Research Center

Bookcases filled with books. Tables and chairs. File cabinets. Large prints of historic photos in the background.
Our new research room includes thousands of photographs and archival materials.


2011 East Logan Street, Ottawa, Kansas 66067
phone: (785) 242-1232

Researching in Person:

Because it can take time to locate all of the materials you might need for your research project, we recommend making an appointment. Please call (785) 242-1232 or e-mail Ashley Brannan to set up a time.

Walk-ins are also welcome.

Researching remotely: We’re happy to help out-of-area researchers! Please call us at (785) 242-1232, e-mail Ashley Brannan at, or use our contact form.

Donations of Archival Materials/Artifacts: To avoid loss or damage of your donation while we finish moving in to our current location, we are temporarily unable to accept donations of archival materials and artifacts. If you would like us to reach out to you when we begin accepting donations, please call (785) 242-1232 or e-mail Ashley Brannan at to be added to our list. If the donation in question is currently endangered, please contact us to discuss options.

How is the Archives & Research Center different from the Old Depot Museum?

The Franklin County Historical Society is home to more than 36,000 photographs and 30,000 objects and archival documents. Only a very small portion of this collection is on display at the Old Depot Museum at any given time. The rest of the collection is safely housed at the Archives & Research Center. The Archives & Research Center also houses searchable biographical files, school records, and other information useful to researchers and genealogists. Two of our biggest collections include the J.B. Muecke Photographs and the Rural School Records of Franklin County.

What kinds of materials can be found at the Archives & Research Center?

The Archives & Research Center includes a variety of county, municipal, school, genealogical, biographical, and organizational records, including (but not limited to):

  • Historical Documents regarding Indigenous populations in Franklin County
  • Early Settler Histories
  • Town and Trail histories
  • Bleeding Kansas/John Brown/Pottawatomie Massacre histories
  • Maps
  • Cemetery records/Franklin County Death Index/Obituaries
  • Genealogy/Biographical Files
  • Subject Files
  • Abstracts
  • Marriage Records
  • Law Enforcement/Emergency Services History: Franklin County Sheriff, City of Ottawa Police, City of Ottawa Fire Department ledgers and papers
  • School Records and related school papers and ephemera
  • Local Business Papers and related ephemera
  • Papers from numerous local organizations/clubs
  • Yearbooks/Annuals
  • City & County Directories
  • Books on local topics or by local authors
  • Local political campaign materials
  • Architectural drawings for many public buildings
  • Historical materials regarding flooding and flood control
  • Personal correspondence
  • 36,000+ photographs
  • Access to thousands of related historical objects


Is the Archives & Research Center open to researchers and genealogists?

The Archives & Research Center houses many artifacts, documents, and photographs that provide valuable information to genealogists and researchers. If you are working on a specific research project, it is helpful if you call ahead to let our staff know so that we are prepared to give you the best assistance possible.

Does the Archives & Research Center charge admission/fees for research assistance?

Admission to the Archives & Research Center is free. Research assistance is generally offered at no charge, though we do charge for copies and digital scans. Donations to support our work are very much appreciated.

Will FCHS grant permission to use photos/images/documents for print/media/film?

Our ability to grant permission varies with the materials in question, but the FCHS does have a fee schedule designed to help recover the costs of our time and effort to locate and properly scan materials for publication. Please contact Diana Staresinic-Deane at (785) 242-1232 or e-mail

Does the Franklin County Historical Society have speakers available for schools and community events?

Through our day-to-day research, our  staff members have become experts on many Franklin County topics! If you’re interested in having us speak about history, research, or the museum industry at your club, event, or school, please contact us at (785) 242-1232 or

Do you have questions for the Franklin County Historical Society?

Call (785) 242-1232 or use our Contact form.

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