Happy birthday, Wichita and Sedgwick County! Both were founded 150 years ago this year, and the Wichita-Sedgwick County Historical Museum is celebrating the anniversary with an event that’s FREE if you bring a birthday card.
There will be some restrictions to keep everyone safe and healthy.
Masks are required inside the museum, and space is very limited. Entrance will be first-come, first-served.
For this event, you’ll need to come in through the Heritage Square entrance on William Street.
No backpacks, strollers, or food and drink will be allowed inside the museum, although food and drinks are allowed outside in Heritage Square, and that’s a wonderful place for a picnic.
The Wichita/Sedgwick County birthday event will be held from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, July 25, from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Remember, you’ll get FREE admission to the party and to the museum when you bring a birthday card.
This isn’t ONLY the birthday of Wichita – it’s also the birthday of Wichita’s original City Hall at 204 S. Main St., which is now the Wichita-Sedgwick County Historical Museum.
Wichita was officially “born” July 21, 1870. Twenty years later, a grand ceremony was held on July 4, 1890 to celebrate the laying of the City Hall cornerstone.
Beneath the cornerstone was a time capsule, opened 100 years later in celebration of the building’s Centennial.
If you’ve never been to WSCHM, this will be a great time to go. The museum’s mission is to preserve and educate others about our local history. Exhibits in the old 1890 Wichita City Hall (the clock-tower building downtown) span four floors and are as eclectic as Wichita’s history. Core exhibits include the entrepreneurial history of our city, the dust bowl, a 19th century Victorian cottage, its Native American roots, a 1916 Jones VI automobile (ask them how they got it into the building!), and more.
My family enjoys our visits every time we go. The photo below shows a working 20th century phone booth with a rotary dial phone. I think I may be a relic, because I had to show my teenager how to use it! (If I’m not mistaken, the phone booth is a permanent exhibit, so it’s probably still there. Bring a dime and let your kids make a local phone call.)
Date: Saturday, July 25, 2020
Time: 1-5 p.m.
Location: The Wichita-Sedgwick County Historical Museum, 204 S. Main St., Wichita, KS
Cost: FREE with birthday card
For more information, visit WichitaHistory.org
Fun fact: Wichita was incorporated as a city on July 21, 1870. One of the signers of the incorporation petition – and the only woman – was Billy the Kid’s mother, Catherine McCarty. Interesting, right? I first learned about this at a Diamond W Wranglers concert, and then later looked it up in the history of Wichita at the Wichita Metro Chamber website.
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