FINNEY COUNY MUSEUM REOPENS WITH AMERICAN FLAG EXHIBIT

The Finney County Historical Museum has re-opened, effective June 8, with a new Front Door Gallery display in time for Flag Day and Independence Day.

  The museum, which closed to the public March 30 due to the state-mandated pandemic stay-at-home order, has also made additional updates and is observing COVID-19 precautions for visitors and employees.

The new display is entitled “Significant American Flags in Local History” and it will remain in place through mid-summer.  It features six U.S. flags, some reproductions and some from the museum’s artifact collection, spanning 243 years.  They range from representations of the first American flag to versions of the Stars and Stripes in use at the time of the Louisiana Purchase, Kansas statehood, Garden City and Finney County’s founding, World War II and the community’s 125th birthday in 2004.

Visitors will also be able to trace the 128-year history of the Pledge of Allegiance, see an American flag that was flown last year over Fory McHenry in Baltimore Harbor and learn how the initiation of the American Civil War made homesteading possible in what would later become Finney County.

The Front Door Gallery is a small display space, located just inside the museum’s main entrance, where exhibits are changed frequently throughout the year.  The museum is located at 403 S. Fourth Street in Garden City’s Finnup Park.  Admission is free and summer exhibit hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 1 to 5 p.m. Sundays.  Information is available at 620-272-3664.

ENHANCEMENTS & PRECAUTIONS

Also new at the museum are two additions to the True Crime Exhibit, which shows how the perpetrators were brought to justice in the tragic 1959 murders of the Herb and Bonnie Clutter family and the 1920s crime spree of the infamous Fleagle Gang.

The display now includes the chair and judicial robe worn by Judge Roland Tate when he presided at the 1960 trail of Richard Hickock and Perry Smith, who were convicted of taking the lives of the Clutters; and eight of the firearms wielded by the Fleagle Gang over a 10-year period of robberies and murders.

In keeping with COVID-19 precautions and recommendations, the museum has placed hand sanitizer at the entrance and is requiring six-foot social distancing between individuals and groups.  Plexiglass shielding has been placed at the reception and gift shop counters and daily sanitizing is taking place on high-touch surfaces.  While not required of visitors, face masks are recommended and welcome in the exhibit areas.

At this time the museum will not be making Lego blocks available in the Celebrate Kansas Exhibit or try-on garments available in the dress up area.  Food and beverages are prohibited in the exhibit galleries and public restrooms are not available.

Those who visit the museum may purchase tickets in a fund-raising raffle.  The drawing, which runs through June 15, is offering a dozen donated prizes as a means of off-setting various fund-raising events which had to be cancelled or scaled back due to the pandemic.