The museums and historical sites in Wyandotte County have joined together to sponsor a History Hunt this summer.
The event begins May 20 and lasts through Sept. 14, according to Cathi Hahner, executive director of the National Agricultural Center and Hall of Fame in Bonner Springs.
The History Hunt is designed for residents and visitors, Hahner said. It would be an ideal activity for kids on their summer vacation, she believes, and also for tourists and any age group. Passports for the History Hunt went home in the backpacks of many Wyandotte County students, she added.
“Families could take each week and explore one of the sites,” Hahner suggested. “It’s not just for kids, people of all ages would enjoy doing this.”
Those interested may pick up passports at the participating museums, and then answer a historical question at each site on the hunt, she said. The answer to the question usually cannot be found on the Internet, and will be discovered by a personal visit to the site, she added. Passports also are online at www.visitKansasCityKS.com.
“What we’re hoping for is increased visitation to all these sites, and increased awareness of the history of Wyandotte County,” Hahner said. “We’re trying to get people into our doors to know we’re here.”
Most of the museums here work on very small budgets, she said.
"Some people don’t even realize there’s a medical museum at KU Medical Center,” she said. “We’re just trying to work together to build this awareness.”
From the Strawberry Hill Museum with its different ethnic groups, to Grinter Place with its history about early settlers, to the Lewis and Clark historic site, to the Underground Railroad Museum and the Quindaro Museum, to the Ag Hall and the history of farming, there’s quite a diversity of history in this small county, Hahner said.
“I think people are always surprised at the diversity of history In Wyandotte County,” Hahner said.
About a year ago a collaborative group, Wyandotte County Museums and Historical Sites, was formed and held a museum crawl last fall. The History Hunt is another initiative by the group, Hahner said.
Hahner said admission to some of the historic sites is free, while others have a charge. The Ag Hall has made it possible for visitors who are in the History Hunt to find the answer in its lobby, and those who cannot afford the admission fee will not have to pay the fee to play the History Hunt, she said. The Ag Hall welcomes visitors who will stay and tour the site; admission fee information is on the website at www.aghalloffame.com.
Historical sites participating in this History Hunt include the Ag Hall, Wyandotte County Museum, Grinter Place state historical site, Strawberry Hill Museum, Clendening History of Medicine Museum at KU Med, Lewis and Clark Historic Park at Kaw Point, Korean-Vietnam War Memorial, Schlagle Environmental Library, Old Quindaro Museum, Quindaro Underground Railroad Museum, Rosedale Memorial Arch, and Sumner High School.
The History Hunt has the support of the Kansas City, Kan., Convention and Visitors Foundation, the Bonner Springs Convention and Tourism, and Barton P. and Mary D. Cohen Foundation.