Take a step back in history with the Old Cowtown Museum. The museum reflects life as it was in the 1870's. The activities, sights, and sounds at the museum will resemble real life at a Midwestern cattle town. The period of time is reflective of the Victorian era, where the old west meshes with the Victorian. Exhibits range from wagon rides, blacksmithing, to replicated homes.
The Old Cowtown Museum is located in Wichita, Kansas. There are seasonal hours for the museum. From November 1st to April 24th the museum is open Tuesday thru Saturday 10am to 4pm. April 25th to October 31st the museum is open Wednesday thru Saturday 9:30am to 4:30pm, and Sunday noon to 4:30pm. Admission into the Cowtown Museum is $7.75 for adults, $6 for ages 12 to 17, and $5.50 for children under 12. Group rates will vary depending on the type of group. School groups are the least expensive.
The first exhibit is called the "Old West'' Cowtown. The exhibits include an accurate representation of the frontier. Furniture, structures, art, clothing, machines, and tools are all from the 1870's. The pieces in the museum were actually used to build it. Photographs, letters, and documents are also housed in the buildings to explain life in the past. Total the museum has twenty- six buildings which are historically accurate. Interpreters and actors will act out the life in the old west with gun fights and more.
The Buffalo Hunter Trader exhibit explains the economic activity. Hunting and trading was the first and most important way to support life on the frontier. Men would come to the "Great Plains'' to hunt and sell the animal skins. Trading posts were erected throughout the region, so the museum decided to recreate one showing the relationship between the Native Americans and frontiersmen. The Trader's Cabin was once on the Chisholm Trail in Clearwater, Kansas. Visitors are able to go into the cabin to touch the furs and read tales about the hunters. A second building as part of this exhibit is the Munger House and Garden. The Munger house was the home of Darius Sales Munger. It was used as a boarding house, church, post office, and public gathering place. The home is the original built in 1868. It was the first home in Wichita to have a shingle roof.
The Business and Industrial area houses the train depot, drugstore, blacksmith, meat market, and Fritz Snitzlers Saloon. Each of these buildings has a history as part of a real town. For example the Fritz Snitzlers Saloon was a real place for eating, drinking and gambling. In fact the saloon would pay the monthly license fees to reduce the cost of taxes. The meat market was a place for wild game like buffalo, deer, antelope, and elk to be purchased.
The last section of the Cowtown Museum is the Residential Street with the Murdock House and Garden, Story and Half House, and First Presbyterian Church. Marshall Murdock promoted the town through his newspaper. Today you can see gun fights erupt or take a meal with the Diamond W Wranglers.
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