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Historical Society and Museum marks 75th anniversary with exhibit

The 1884 William and Lettie Fulton House crossing Fulton Street on the way to the museum in 2003.

The Finney County Historical Society marked its 75th anniversary on Jan. 31, and the Finney County Historical Museum in Garden City has just opened a photographic exhibit telling the story of the organization’s founding, growth and change over that period.

Entitled “Seventy-Five Years of Preserving the Past,” the display is in the museum’s Front Door Gallery, where exhibits change four to six times each year.  It is comprised of more than two dozen images, some dating back more than seven decades.

Visitors who view the collection will see a little of what the museum looked like when it opened in 1964, learn how historical artifacts were displayed during the 16 years prior to that opening, discover how the present museum structure took shape with a major expansion project in the 1990s, and find pictures showing the historic 1884 William and Lettie Fulton House and the 1890 Pleasant Valley One-Room School as they were transported to their sites inside Lee Richardson Zoo.

The exhibit also incorporates a chronology of significant dates in the development of the museum and historical society, from its formation at a meeting in the Finney County Courthouse by local citizens two days after Kansas Day in 1948 to today’s operations that include long-term and changing museum exhibits, a year-round education program serving children and adults, a library providing historical and genealogical research services, the preservation of more than 22,000 cataloged artifacts and a series of history-related events and activities for the community.

Viewers may also learn about joining the historical society, which offers annual memberships ranging from $15 to $25 and greater; and see a collection of historical books published by the organization.

Admission is free and viewing hours are 1-5 p.m. daily. The Front Door Gallery is located just inside museum’s main entrance at 403 S. Fourth Street in Finnup Park, adjacent to the pedestrian arches at Lee Richardson Zoo. All other museum displays are accessible simultaneously and the gift shop is open the same hours.  Front Door Gallery exhibits are supported by the Steve Stone Memorial Fund.

In addition to the exhibit, which will remain in place about two months, the FCHS will mark the 75th anniversary with a public reception later in the year and a program at the society’s annual meeting and banquet in April.