Inman Museum - Inman, Kansas
The Inman Museum in Inman, Kansas is normally only open on Sunday afternoons, but they are so serious about trying to make the museum available to everyone that they have a list of 11 names and phone numbers on the door to call to see museum. It is still better to schedule a tour in advance, but if you find yourself in town and would like to spend an enjoyable hour, call and someone will try to accommodate you.
The museum occupies a large former former store front and attached structures, but includes many other buildings, both next door and across the street to the rear. My tour did not include the other buildings which include the 1875 Wilke Homestead & Farm, 1878 Rock Island Depot, 1957 Rock Island caboose, and the former Inman Mutual telephone Company office.
The largest display inside the museum is a group of recreated buildings, including a scaled down reconstruction of the 1880 Little Church on the Prairie which was originally located 2.5 miles south of Inman. When it was torn down in 1991, it was reconstructed using the original techniques. The original church was 28 x 64' and this structure appears to be about 1/6 that size.
My favorite exhibit in the museum is a large collection of antique, circus toys. Some of the toy circus wagons were actually carved by Ralph Vogel, the museum curator, 50 years ago. Ralph is the former principal of Inman Elementary School. Another interesting exhibit is devoted to Sam, a cat who slept in the window of Jim's Appliance Store and was so much a part of Inman that he was included in the Stan Herd Inman mural across the street from the museum.
When touring old buildings and museums, I usually ask if there is a haunting associated with the building. I learned that the museum has had some unusual experiences the original grave marker for 12 year old Johnie Kay Martens was moved to the museum. Johnie fell through ice in 1955 and his grave had a handmade headstone made by Isaac K. Friesen, who made at least 10 headstones to relieve families of the financial burden of purchasing professionally carved headstones. Over the years the writing deteriorated to its present condition and all of those stones were replaces by more permanent markers. When you tour the museum, ask the docent about their experiences since the stone was placed in the museum, which lead some people to believe that Johnie now haunts the museum.
copyright 2021-2022 by Keith Stokes