Cherokee Strip and Land Rush Museum hosts many exhibits related to the history of Arkansas City and the surrounding portions of Kansas and Oklahoma. I liked the exhibits related to the Oklahoma Land Rush of September 16, 1893, but most of the other exhibits are things that may be seen at countless museums across Kansas. Those items are primarily of interest to members of the local community.
The museum also maintains a genealogy reading room. A Mountain Man Encampment is held at the Museum during the first weekend in April. Admission for that event is $5 for adults, $3 for children.
Several times a year, the Cherokee Strip and Rush Museum hosts melodramas. When I visited the museum, "The Ballad of Gopher Gap" was being performed in the evenings. Prior to the melodrama, and during the intermission, you may tour the museum.
Seating for the play was at long tables, and I was surrounded by local people that appeared to all know each other, The woman sitting to my left, Latresha Swopes, had done the makeup for that evening's show. The melodrama was the usual fun. There was a piano player and drummer, and two fun women that held up cue cards to encourage us to boo the villain, cheer the hero and generally behave foolish. We were also encouraged to throw popcorn at the villain.
During the intermission, the cast served apple crisp. Then a cowboy poet, Russell Graves performed for about 15 minutes before the final act.
Tickets to the Cherokee Strip and Rush Museum melodramas may be reserved by calling (620) 442-6750. Tickets are about $5 and include admission to the museum.
A Mountain Man Encampment is hosted at the Museum in April.
copyright 2007-2010 by Keith Stokes