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The Fascinating Journey Through Time: A Day at Old Cowtown Museum in Wichita, KS

Are you ready to time-travel back to the days of the Wild West? Located in the heart of the old west of Wichita, Kansas, Sedgwick County. The Old Cowtown Museum is your golden ticket to yesteryears. Located at 1865 W Museum Blvd, this living history museum offers an immersive experience that takes you through Wichita's rich past. Open from Tuesday to Sunday, it's the perfect family outing that educates and entertains. So, saddle up, and let's dive into what makes this museum a must-visit!

Historic Wichita Cowtown Museum

The Old Cowtown Museum is a fascinating place located at 1865 W Museum Blvd, Wichita, KS 67203. It offers a glimpse into the history and culture of Wichita and the broader Kansas area. The museum and gift shop is closed on Mondays but is open from Tuesday to Saturday from 10 am to 5 pm and on Sundays from noon to 5 pm. The last admission is sold hours before closing.

Admission Starts At

  • Adults: $10
  • Senior Citizens (62+): $9
  • Youth (5-17): $8
  • Kids (4 and under) & Members: Free

Taxes are already included in the admission fees, and group rates are also available.

Contact Information

For more information about any events, activities, or general inquiries, for seniors and groups you can call them at (316) 350-3323.

The Birth of Old Cowtown Museum

The First Presbyterian Church stands as a testament to the inception mission of the Old Cowtown Museum. Believe it or not, this church is the reason the museum exists today. During World War II, the church was converted into apartments for mechanics working in the aircraft industry. Over time, the building faced decay and even survived a small fire. It was Victor Murdoch, a local history enthusiast whose father founded the Wichita Eagle newspaper, who saw the building's potential. Although Murdoch passed away before he could purchase the building, his vision lived on, leading to the creation of the Old Cowtown Museum.

The Museum's Evolution

The Old Cowtown Museum has come a long way since its inception. It started with just a few buildings like the Presbyterian Church, the jail, and the Hodge house. Over the years, the museum has expanded to include over 40 buildings spread across 26 acres, each telling a unique story about Wichita, and activities common to midwestern cattle town development. Hear the ring of the blacksmith anvil, try ice-cold sarsaparilla in the saloon, and be prepared to duck in the doorway as gunfire erupts in the streets!

The Six Sections of the Museum

Becoming Wichita:  This section focuses on the pre-1865 era, featuring buffalo hunters, trading posts established, and Native American activities.

Old Town Era: This part showcases the beginnings of the frontier settlement of Wichita, including Mr. Munger's log cabin and the plot of land that would become Wichita.

Residential Area:  Here, you'll find a glimpse into the lifestyles of Wichita's early residents.

Business District:  This is the heart of the museum, featuring businesses you would have seen in early Wichita.

Industrial Section:  This area focuses on the small industries that were the backbone of Wichita's agricultural economy.

The Farm:  This section showcases the agricultural and manufacturing area on how it shaped Wichita's development.

Special Attractions

Vintage Baseball

Step back in time and catch a game of baseball like you've never seen before! The Old Cowtown Museum is home to two vintage baseball teams: the Wichita Red Stockings and the Bulldozers. These teams play by the rules of yesteryears, offering a unique and entertaining experience. Imagine a game where the uniforms, equipment, and even the umpiring calls are authentic to the period. It's not just a game; it's a living history lesson that's fun for the whole family!

Empire House Players

Get ready for a dose of drama, the old-fashioned way! The Empire House Players bring melodrama back to life with entertaining and historically accurate performances. Picture yourself in a theater where the heroes are dashing, the villains are dastardly, and the damsels are... well, in distress. It's a throwback to a time when theater was the primary form of entertainment for children, and it's done in a way that keeps the history alive.

Conclusion

And there you have it! The Old Cowtown Museum is more than just a museum; it's a time capsule that allows you to live, breathe, and feel the history of Wichita and the broader Kansas area. From the humble beginnings showcased in the "Becoming Wichita" section to the melodramatic performances by the Empire House Players, there's something for everyone. Whether you're a history buff, a culture vulture, or just looking for a fun day out with the family, this museum is the place to be. So why wait? Grab your boots, put on your cowboy hat, and mosey on down to the Old Cowtown Museum. 

FAQ

Why is Old Cowtown Museum a Must-Visit?

Old Cowtown Museum offers a unique experience that takes you back in time. It's a great way to understand the history of cattle towns, in Wichita, Kansas.

How Can the Museum Benefit the Local Community?

Museums like the Old Cowtown can serve as educational hubs and tourist attractions, potentially boosting the city and local economy while preserving history.

What Special Events Can One Expect?

The museum often hosts special events. It would be a good idea to check their own site for an event calendar or sign up for their free e-news to stay updated.

How do the rules of vintage baseball differ from modern baseball?

Vintage baseball often uses 19th-century rules, like no gloves and one-bounce outs. The pitcher's mound is closer, and underhand pitching is common, making the game feel more communal and less competitive than modern baseball.

What kind of equipment do they use, and how does it affect the game?

Players typically don't use gloves, making catching more challenging. Bats may be heavier and balls less aerodynamic, affecting the game's speed and trajectory. The equipment adds an authentic, old-timey feel to the game.

What are some classic melodramas that the Empire House Players might perform?

They might perform classics like "The Drunkard," "Under the Gaslight," or "East Lynne," featuring exaggerated characters and dramatic plot twists. Audience participation, like booing and cheering, is encouraged.

How does experiencing a melodrama differ from watching a modern-day movie or play?

Melodramas are highly stylized, with clear-cut lines between good and evil. Audience participation is encouraged, making the experience more communal and interactive compared to the passive viewing of modern narratives.

 

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