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, January 26
Final Friday: Community and Culture Closing Celebration
6-7:30 p.m.
The Watkins, in partnership with the Max Kade Center and Lawrence Opera Theatre, presents an evening of 19th-century German-American music and cuisine.
Saturday, February 10
Researching Ancestors from England
10 a.m.-noon; $10 DCHS members; $15 non-members.
More information and registration.
Thursday, February 15
FeBREWary at the Watkins
6 – 9 p.m.; $15 for members, $20 for non-members
The Watkins in partnership with Lawrence Beer Co. presents an evening of beer, food, and knowledge! Enjoy beer and a fascinating talk on brewing provided by Lawrence Beer Co., plus food from local restaurants and an informal museum tour.
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.
Friday, February 23
Final Friday: Opening of Free State, Free Spirits
5–8 p.m.
Join us as we celebrate the opening of our new exhibit on Lawrence’s 1960s counterculture with a talk by Rusty L. Monhollon, author of This is America? The Sixties in Lawrence, Kansas.

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

Picturing Place: Photographing Lawrence
Second Floor, through January 20

Free State, Free Spirits: Lawrence’s 1960s Counterculture
Second Floor, February 23–June 16

Worldly Encounters: Lawrence Goes to the World’s Fairs
Second Floor, January 26–April 14

Community and Culture: The Lawrence Turnverein
Third Floor, September 27–February 2

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

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

More Than a Game: Basketball and Community Spirit
Third Floor.

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