Helping preserve the rich history of Douglas County, Kansas

The Douglas County Historical Society, a non-profit organization established in 1933, preserves the heritage of Douglas County and encourages civic engagement by sharing stories of the people and events that have shaped our communities. Since 1975, the Society has operated the Watkins Museum of History. The Watkins Museum, housed in the 1888 Watkins Land Mortgage and National Bank Building, provides educational resources and activities, programs and public events, and changing exhibits that explore the heritage of Douglas County and connect the past with issues that affect our communities today.

Membership in the Douglas County Historical Society supports the museum and offers inside information and members-only programs. Join Today!



Watkins Museum of History

Museum and Book Shop Hours

April–November
Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday:
10 a.m.–4 p.m.
Thursday: 10 a.m.–8 p.m.
Sunday: 1 p.m.–4 p.m. (May–October)
December–March
Tuesday–Saturday: 10 a.m.–4 p.m.
Closed Sunday, Monday and Holidays


The Watkins Museum’s public
spaces are fully accessible.
Coming Events
Friday, May 26
Final Friday Art of Conversation: Veterans’ Issues
5–8 p.m., free.

Support Watkins Museum

Use the convenient PayPal button below,
to help support the programs provided by the Watkins Museum.

How to Find Us

Map

View Watkins Museum of History
in a larger map



 


Freedom's Frontier Heritage Area
The Watkins Museum is a partner in the Freedom’s Frontier National Heritage Area
 
  • Smell Your Way Back in Time

    images/slides/smell-slide.jpg

    A new Family Guide and hands-on activities in the Watkins Bank’s original tellers’ counter help family visitors explore life in early Lawrence.

    New Exhibit Rendering
  • Recently Renovated

    images/slides/stair_hall.jpg

    The Watkins Museum’s recently renovated main stair hall

    Recently Rennovated
  • Distinguished Visitors

    images/slides/slide13.jpg

    The Australian Ambassador to the U.S., Hon. Kim C. Beazley, AC, and a party from the embassy in Washington, D.C. visited the Watkins Museum and toured downtown Lawrence on July 17, 2015.

    New Exhibit Rendering
  • Permanent Exhibit

    images/slides/slide12.jpg

    A new permanent exhibit, installed on the museum’s second floor opened August 17 to record crowds.

    New Exhibit Rendering
  • Quantrill’s Raid Artifacts

    images/slides/slide02.jpg

    View an exhibit of artifacts from Quantrill’s Raid on Lawrence.

    Raid Artifacts
  • New Permanent Exhibit Opens

    images/slides/slide11.jpg

    Another view of the new permanent exhibit exploring Douglas County heritage that opened August 17, 2013.

    New Exhibit Rendering
  • The Watkins Building

    images/slides/slide01.jpg

    The Museum is housed in the historic Watkins Building in downtown Lawrence, Kansas.

    Watkins Building
  • Beer Night

    images/slides/slide09.jpg

    Fresh local brews and old local history were united at Beer Night on January 19, 2013.

    Beer Night
  • The Community Room

    images/slides/slide03.jpg

    The Community Room is often used for receptions, reunions and family gatherings.

    Community Room
  • The Milburn

    images/slides/slide04.jpg

    See a rare Milburn electric car on display in the exhibit area of the Watkins Museum.

    The Milburn
  • More than a Game: Basketball and Community Spirit

    images/slides/slide05.jpg

    Visitors explore the exhibition and discover basketball as a source of community pride and a force for social change in Douglas County.

    More than a Game
  • Trivia Night

    images/slides/slide07.jpg

    A crowd gathers to test their knowledge at one of the Watkins’ Trivia Night events.

    Trivia

Cole’s Cam

Taking you behind the scenes at the Watkins

Cole’s Cam takes you behind the scenes at the Watkins Museum. For more inside info on Watkins Museum programs, exhibits, and collections, visit our YouTube page.

Exhibitions Now on View

Hike Through History on the Burroughs Creek Trail
Second floor, March 31 through April 29

Answering the Call: Lawrence’s WWI Soldiers and Nurses
Second Floor, opening April 28

Breaking the Ice: Lawrence, the Soviet Union, and Peace
Third Floor, through May 6

Watkins: The Couple, the Building, the Legacy
First Floor Lobby.


News
 
Community Room

Community Room is available for your receptions, birthday party or reunion. Call 1-785-841-4109 for more information.
Read more here.