Helping preserve the rich history of Douglas County, Kansas
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
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)
Tuesday–Saturday: 10 a.m.–4 p.m.
Closed Sunday, Monday and Holidays
The Watkins Museum’s public
spaces are fully accessible.
Friday, April 28
Final Friday Exhibit Opening:
Answering the Call
5-8 p.m., free.
National WWI Museum Living History Corps will give demonstrations.
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.
The Watkins Museum is a partner in the Freedom’s Frontier National Heritage Area
Smell Your Way Back in Time
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
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.
A new permanent exhibit, installed on the museum’s second floor opened August 17 to record crowds.
Quantrill’s Raid Artifacts
View an exhibit of artifacts from Quantrill’s Raid on Lawrence.
New Permanent Exhibit Opens
Another view of the new permanent exhibit exploring Douglas County heritage that opened August 17, 2013.
The Watkins Building
The Museum is housed in the historic Watkins Building in downtown Lawrence, Kansas.
Fresh local brews and old local history were united at Beer Night on January 19, 2013.
The Community Room
The Community Room is often used for receptions, reunions and family gatherings.
See a rare Milburn electric car on display in the exhibit area of the Watkins Museum.
More than a Game: Basketball and Community Spirit
Visitors explore the exhibition and discover basketball as a source of community pride and a force for social change in Douglas County.
A crowd gathers to test their knowledge at one of the Watkins’ Trivia Night events.
Taking you behind the scenes at the Watkins VIDEO
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.
Community Room is available for your receptions, birthday party or reunion. Call 1-785-841-4109 for more information.
Read more here.