Since 1975, the Watkins Museum of History, housed in the 1888 Watkins Land Mortgage and National Bank Building, has provided 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. The Watkins Museum is operated by the Douglas County Historical Society.

The 1870s playhouse is fun for all ages.
A third floor exhibit captures the feel of 1900s Mass Street.
A new Family Guide and hands-on activities in the Watkins Bank’s original tellers’ counter help family visitors explore life in early Lawrence.
The Watkins Museum’s recently renovated main stair hall
View an exhibit of artifacts from Quantrill’s Raid on Lawrence.
The Museum is housed in the historic Watkins Building in downtown Lawrence, Kansas.
See a rare Milburn electric car on display in the exhibit area of the Watkins Museum.

Coming Events

Friday, October 27
Final Friday: Weaver’s Windows
6:30-8 p.m., free
A special event celebrating the opening of Mass Street Magic: Weaver’s Window Displays.
Tuesday, October 31
Halloween at the Watkins
5-8 p.m., free
Families and kids, drop by for candy, a ghostly scavenger hunt, and other fun activities with the chance to win cool prizes!
Wednesday, November 8
NovemBeer at the Watkins
6–8 p.m.; $15 DCHS members, $20 non-members
Join us for a unique evening of German-American beer, food, and history! Along with beer from Free State Brewing Co., we'll have delicious German food from Hank Charcuterie and Great Harvest Bread Company, a talk by Free State master brewer Jeff Jensen, and a tour of our new German-American history exhibit.
Tickets are $15 for DCHS members, $20 for non-members. You may sign up online or contact the museum at 785-841-4109. We recommend buying in advance. Ages 21 and over only, please. More information and registration.

Saturday, November 11
Genealogy: Group Work Day and One-Hour Consultations
Midwest Genealogy Center, Independence, Mo., 9:30 a.m., $10 for members, $15 for nonmembers.
Group work day and one-hour consultations at Midwest Genealogy Center.
More information and registration.
Saturday, December 2
Tails and Traditions Holiday Festival
9 a.m.-3 p.m., free
This iconic winter favorite returns! Stop by the Watkins for prime horse parade-viewing spots, snacks, kids’ crafts and games, and live holiday music.
Saturday, December 9
Introduction to Genealogy, including Census and Vital Records
Watkins Museum, 10 a.m. $10 for members, $15 for nonmembers.
We will revise our popular introduction class to include more about Census and Vital Records, which are key starting points in your family history research. There will be plenty of homework for those who register at least a week in advance, and lots of useful handouts. Encourage your friends and family to enroll too!
More information and registration.

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

The Power of the People: Lawrence and Fair Housing
Third Floor, through-December 31

Hidden Treasures: Staff Favorites from the Watkins Collection
Second Floor, through November 27 Second Floor, through November 27

Community and Culture: The Lawrence Turnverein
Third Floor, September 27–January 10

Mass Street Magic: Weaver’s Window Displays
Second Floor, October 27–February 10

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

Visit the Watkins Museum of History

The Watkins Museum is open year round, and admission is free.


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.
Tuesday–Saturday: 10 a.m.–4 p.m.
Closed Sunday, Monday and Holidays

The Watkins Museum’s public spaces are fully accessible.

Join the Douglas County
Historical Society

The Douglas County Historical Society, is a non-profit organization that was established in 1933. The society preserves the heritage of Douglas County and encourages civic engagement by sharing stories of the people and events that have shaped our communities.

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

Watkins Museum of History
1047 Massachusetts Street
Lawrence , Kansas 66044
Phone (785) 841-4109 • Fax (785) 841-9547

© Copyright 2018 Watkins Museum of History
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Freedom's Frontier Heritage Area
The Watkins Museum is a partner in the
Freedom’s Frontier National Heritage Area