NEW DATE February 6, 2022: Santa Fe depot architecture subject of virtual annual meeting

A train is pulled in to a Santa Fe depot. the Santa Fe logo and "Princeton" are visible under the gable of the depot's roof. People are gathered on the platform between the depot and the train. Passengers can be seen inside the train.

“Santa Fe Depots: Form and Function,” presented by Bob Walz 85th Annual Meeting of the Members of the Franklin County Historical Society  Recording Available   Update: In deference to our Chiefs fans, we are moving our program to February 6, 2022, 2 p.m.  What exactly is a depot and what is it for? Using images of depots along the Eastern and Western Lines of the AT&SF Railroad, Bob Walz will examine the history of the development of Santa Fe depots, from repurposed boxcars to large, ornate depots and everything in…

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FCHS to host “Voices and Votes,” traveling Smithsonian exhibit, in 2023!

Text reads Voices and Votes Democracy in America

The Smithsonian is coming to Ottawa! Franklin County Historical Society to host “Voices and Votes: Democracy in America”   Ottawa, Kansas – The Franklin County Historical Society in Ottawa is hosting “Voices and Votes: Democracy in America,” a Smithsonian Institution traveling exhibition. “Voices and Votes” will be in Ottawa from August 19, 2023 to October 1, 2023 at the Old Depot Museum, 135 West Tecumseh Street. The “Voices and Votes” Kansas tour is sponsored by Humanities Kansas in partnership with the Smithsonian Institution’s Museum on Main Street program. “Voices and…

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Holiday Hours

Text: Holiday Hours. Background Image features a winter scene with snow, a snowman, and evergreen trees.

Holiday Hours at the Franklin County Historical Society Both the Franklin County Records & Research Center and the Old Depot Museum will be open regular business hours through December 30. Please note: Masks are required for all visitors regardless of vaccination status. For more information on current rules and restrictions, click here. Special Hours at the Old Depot Museum: 12/24 (Friday) – CLOSED 12/25 (Saturday) – CLOSED 12/26 (Sunday) – CLOSED 12/27 (Monday) – CLOSED 12/28 (Tuesday ) – OPEN 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. 12/29 (Wednesday) – OPEN 10…

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New exhibit explores transition from horse-drawn buggies to horseless carriages

Background: a photo of Central Street in Richmond, Kansas, showing both a horce and buggy and an automobile. The words "Horse Power" are in the foreground.

Horse Power Now through August 2022 at the Old Depot Museum   The Franklin County Historical Society’s newest exhibit, “Horse Power,” explores the transition from horse-drawn buggies to horseless carriages and how the automobile shaped our streets and our culture. The exhibit will be on display at the Old Depot Museum in Ottawa, Kansas, through August 2022. In 1899, the Ottawa Herald reported that “Franklin County has 6,622 horses. As yet, she has no automobiles.” “Horseless carriages” were still a rarity in Kansas; in 1900, Kansas ranked tenth in the…

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Phased Reopening Begins June 17!

August 9, 2020: Our hours and availability have updated! Please click here for the latest information. Beginning June 17, the Old Depot Museum and the Franklin County Records & Research Center will phase into reopening with appointments during limited hours. Museums and archives face special challenges during a pandemic because artifacts and archives cannot be sanitized without risking permanent harm to the object. Limiting exposure and allowing time for viruses and bacteria to die off naturally is an important line of defense in keeping staff, volunteers, visitors, and artifacts safe.…

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CANCELED: April 22: Unboxing History (Facebook Live Event)

CANCELED: Unboxing History Series (Online!) Wednesday, April 22, 2 p.m. Franklin County Records & Research Center We’re going to do this program via Facebook Live! Follow us on Facebook for details. The Franklin County Historical Society is home to more than 67,000 artifacts, including textiles, photographs, archives, and other objects. You’re invited to explore the hidden world of the FCHS collection–one box at a time! During each program in our new Unboxing History series, Collections Manager Gloria Kruse and Archives and Research Specialist Ashley Brannan will select one box of…

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FCHS facilities temporarily closed to public

In order to protect our staff, volunteers, researchers and visitors, the Franklin County Historical Society is taking the following precautions: The Old Depot Museum at 135 W Tecumseh in Ottawa, Kansas, will be closed to the public through Sunday, March 29 until further notice. We recognize that Kansas’ experience with COVID-19 is changing rapidly, and FCHS buildings will remain closed while KDHE and the county health department recommend limiting group sizes. The Franklin County Records & Research Center at 1124 W 7th Street Terrace in Ottawa, Kansas, will be closed…

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CANCELED March 13: Pi Kappa Delta Centennial Exhibit Grand Opening Reception

Pi Kappa Delta: The Art of Persuasion: from Ottawa to the World 1913-2020 Exhibit Grand Opening Reception Friday, March 13, 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Old Depot Museum   In order to protect our staff, volunteers, researchers, and visitors, the Franklin County Historical Society is closing our facilities to the public and canceling events through March 29. The Pi Kappa Delta grand opening has been canceled, but the exhibit will open to the public at a later date. For more information, click here. Pi Kappa Delta, the oldest comprehensive intercollegiate…

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December 3 program explores heroism or villainy of abolitionist John Brown

John Brown, as painted by John Steurt Curry.

160 years ago this December, John Brown was executed following the raid on Harper’s Ferry. On Tuesday, December 3, 7 p.m., Ottawa University Associate Professor Ryan Louis will present “Commemorating John Brown: Hero, Villain, or Neither?” at the Ottawa campus of Neosho County Community College, 900 East Logan, in Ottawa, Kansas. To say that John Brown is a polarizing historical character does not do justice to the sheer intensity with which people and communities remember him, says Ryan Louis. Brown is commemorated in more than a dozen states and around…

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Announcing the Laura Ingalls Wilder Commemorative Series

Library and historical society launch Laura Ingalls Wilder Commemorative Series Ottawa, Kansas—125 years ago, Laura Ingalls Wilder and her family traveled through Franklin County on their way to what would be their permanent home in Mansfield, Missouri. This fall, Ottawa Library and the Franklin County Historical Society are partnering to commemorate the event while exploring Wilder’s impact on Kansas and literature. On August 16, the Wilders entered Franklin County. In her journal, which would later be published as On the Way Home: The Diary of a Trip from South Dakota…

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