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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New Exhibit Features Historic Maps of Ottawa

Background shows a translucent image of the index page from the 1884 Ottawa Sanborn Fire Insurance Map. Text reads Our City in Sanborns: The City of Ottawa in Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps, 1884-1924

Our City in Sanborns: The City of Ottawa in Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps, 1884-1924 Now through July 2022 at the Old Depot Museum   The Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps were first published in the 1860s to help fire insurance agents assess risk to commercial, industrial, and residential buildings and properties. Sanborn ultimately printed more than 50,000 editions of maps for 12,000 U.S. towns and cities through the 1950s. Because these maps were expensive—ranging in price from $12 to $200 depending on the year and the size of the city—communities often…

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New exhibit highlights teen’s photos of 1950s Franklin County

A black-and-white image shows a teen boy standing with a camera on a tripod, photographing a sun setting over a body of water. The exhibit title Through a Teen's Lens: The Photography of Jack Bremer appears in the upper right-hand corner.

Through a Teen’s Lens: The Photography of Jack Bremer Now through March 2022 at the Old Depot Museum Before Jack Bremer found his calling as a United Methodist minister and social activist, he was a teenager with a camera. The Old Depot Museum’s newest exhibit, “Through a Teen’s Lens: The Photography of Jack Bremer,” showcases 50 photographs Bremer captured during the early 1950s. The exhibit will be on display through March 2022. Bremer’s photographs caught the attention of the Franklin County Historical Society in June of 2020, when his daughter,…

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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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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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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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Franklin County Museum Hopper Weekend returns August 3-4, 2019

Museum Hopper Weekend on August 3 & 4

Four Franklin County museums are partnering to promote local history on August 3 and 4. Appanoose Museum, the Old Depot Museum, and Richmond Community Museum are returning for the second annual Museum Hopper Weekend to encourage visitors to explore the rich history of Franklin County. New to the event this year is Williamsburg Community Museum. Admission to all four museums is free during Museum Hopper Weekend. Some participating museums are also offering giveaways and refreshments.  Hours, locations, and featured exhibits include Appanoose Museum: 600 Shawnee Road, Pomona (from Pomona, turn…

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