Dear Franklin County History Enthusiast,
During the past two years, museums and historical societies all over the world have found creative ways to serve their communities while also developing and constantly adjusting safety protocol. At the Franklin County Historical Society, we have proudly continued to fulfill our mission—to preserve, present, and promote the history of Franklin County, Kansas—despite continued closures and surges in COVID-19 cases in our state.
Here are some of our 2021 accomplishments, which were only possible thanks to support from Franklin County, grants, donations, and your membership dollars:
The Old Depot Museum returned to its normal hours during the summer. We welcomed 1,675 visitors (compared to 557 in 2020). For the first time in at least a decade, visitors under the age of 18 were our largest demographic group.
- We reopened the One-Room School Program! Though this program normally serves a fourth-grade audience, our county schools asked if we could also accommodate the fifth graders who missed out during the 2020-2021 school year. From September through December, we welcomed 248 students to our One-Room School classroom.
- We introduced ourselves to new audiences through online programming. More than 500 history fans from Franklin County and beyond joined us in 2021 for fantastic programs by Kelly Johnston (“Mapping the Past,”), Rex Buchanan (“Petroglyphs of the Kansas Smoky Hills,”), Jonathan Conard and Kristin Conard (“Trails of Kansas: Past, Present, and Future”), Kaily Carson (“The Orphan Train Movement,”) and Beccy Tanner (“Dirt, Grit, and Jell-O Salad: How We Survived the Great Depression.”)
- FCHS received a $7,164 SHARP Recovery Grant thanks to the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and Humanities Kansas.
- We fulfilled 188 research requests.
- FCHS accepted and processed 722 artifacts and archival materials into our collections.
- We opened three new exhibits at the Old Depot Museum.
Our Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram posts were seen nearly one million times.
Here’s what’s coming in 2022 and 2023:
- Relocating our archives. In January 2022, the Franklin County Historical Society Board of Trustees and the Franklin County Board of Commissioners reached an agreement for FCHS to lease a portion of the Franklin County Visitors Center building at 2011 East Logan. We are still working through the details of this move. (We do not yet know the fate of our climate-controlled storage building.) Our current location at 1124 West 7th Street Terrace will close to the public on April 1, 2022. We will be unable to accept donations or assist with research questions until we reopen in our new location.
- The Smithsonian is coming to Franklin County in 2023! The Old Depot Museum will be one of six Kansas locations—and the only location in northeast Kansas—to host “Voices and Votes: Democracy in America,” a traveling Smithsonian exhibit made possible thanks to Humanities Kansas.
- Dietrich Cabin is reopening in 2022!
- New exhibits on Indigenous sovereignty, the evolution of the Civil Defense to storm spotting, and architectural preservation.
- Beginning repairs on the Old Depot Museum roof.
We need your help now more than ever. Here are ways you can help FCHS continue its mission to preserve, present, and promote the history of Franklin County:
Renew your membership! Consider increasing your membership level or adding an additional donation to your membership this year.
- Volunteer your time and talents. Volunteer opportunities include:
- Relocation preparation: Packing and wrapping archival materials, setting up shelves, moving boxes—we will need volunteers throughout April and May, Monday through Saturday.
- Gardening: We need help maintaining the Old Depot Museum’s perennial gardens donated to us by Loma Vista Nursery and Bones Landscaping.
- One-Room School: Are you a retired or retiring teacher? Join our one-room school program!
- Follow us on social media. Get the latest news and history posts through our Facebook, Twitter, and Instragram feeds.
- Join us for events! FCHS will host both online and in-person events this year.
- Visit our museums. See what’s new at the Old Depot Museum and Dietrich Cabin!
Thank you again for supporting the Franklin County Historical Society and sharing our joy in discovering local history!
FCHS Executive Director
Here are a few things you get for supporting FCHS.
In addition to feeling great about supporting the kinds of programs and exhibits mentioned above, members receive
- Free Admission to the Old Depot Museum any day the museum is open
- 10% off at the Old Depot Museum Store
- Our newsletter, full of history, updates, and games
- Coupons for free or discounted tickets to special events and programs
- 4 free digital photo scans from our collection
- Did we mention the warm fuzzies for supporting a great organization?
|A.P. Elder Level||$125.00|
|Cabin 150th Level||$150.00|
|Ben Park Level||$250.00|
|Jacob Dietrich Level||$500.00|
|Isaac Kalloch Level||$5,000.00|
Questions? Call (785) 242-1232 or email Chuck Tilman.