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Inside Spencer: The KSRL Blog

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Welcome to the Kenneth Spencer Research Library blog! As the special collections and archives library at the University of Kansas, Spencer is home to remarkable and diverse collections of rare and unique items. Explore the blog to learn about the work we do and the materials we collect.

That’s Distinctive!: Lawrence Historical Museum Scrapbook

Check the blog each Friday for a new “That’s Distinctive!” post. I created this series to provide a lighthearted glimpse into the diverse and unique items at Spencer. “That’s Distinctive!” is meant to show that the library has something for everyone regardless of interest. If you have suggested topics for a future item feature or questions about the collections, you can leave a comment at the bottom of this page. All collections, including those highlighted on the blog, are available for members of the public to explore in the Reading Room during regular hours.

This week on That’s Distinctive! I am sharing some news clippings (circa 1951-1952) about the Lawrence Historical Museum, now known as the Watkins Museum of History. The Lawrence Historical Museum, which was overseen by the Douglas County Historical Society, was located in a city building at 8th and Vermont streets. The Watkins Museum of History, which is also run by the historical society, opened in 1975 at the corner of 11th and Massachusetts streets. The building housed the Watkins National Bank before being refurbished for the museum.

The Douglas County Historical Society was started in 1933 “when a group of concerned citizens were motivated to preserve the community’s early history.” Today, the society’s main activity is maintaining the museum.

The news clippings are part of an artificial collection, meaning it was put together by library staff (not assembled by an individual or organization and then donated to the library). The clippings discuss plans for the Lawrence Historical Museum and highlight when the museum opened for visitors in the basement of the new city building – a span of about six months. The articles also share information about new additions to the museum.

The Watkins Museum of History is open to the public Tuesday through Saturday, 10am to 4pm. Admission is free to the public. The museum “showcases unique and fascinating stories from Douglas County’s past.” Exhibit topics include Territorial Kansas, Civil War era artifacts, Quantrill’s Raid, and more. The museum also hosts many public programs and school groups, and it’s open for community research.

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The title page of – and selected pages page from – a scrapbook of Lawrence Historical Museum clippings, 1951-1952. Call Number: RH MS B64. Click images to enlarge.

Tiffany McIntosh
Public Services

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