Helping preserve the rich history of Douglas County, Kansas
The 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!
The Watkins Museum’s public spaces are fully accessible.
Saturday, December 3
Tails and Traditions Family Festival
9:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m., free
Activities, performances, and family fun on the day of the Downtown Lawrence Old-Fashioned Christmas Parade mark the beginning of the holiday season at the Watkins Museum.
Sponsored in part by the Lawrence Sertoma Club
Saturday, January 21, 2017
Introduction to DNA for Genealogists
10 a.m.–noon, $10 DCHS members, $15 for non-members
Part of Richard and Alysa Branham's genealogy series.
Visit our Genealogy Programs page or call (785) 841-4109 to register. There will be pre-class homework and time for questions at the end of class.
Friday, January 27, 2017
Final Friday: Art of Conversation: Langston’s Lawrence
Time: TBA, Free admission The debut of a new short film about Langston Hughes’ life in Lawrence, followed by a discussion with three Hughes scholars.
Support Watkins Museum
Use the convenient PayPal button below, to help support the programs provided by the Watkins Museum.
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
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.
Watkins Museum Quilt
Created by Mary L. Boucher of Lawrence in 2016, this work of art took three months to complete. The quilt is made with the raw edge applique technique. The cotton fabrics were selected for their artistic quality—for instance, the wood-grained patterned border fabric which is reminiscent of the curly yellow pine woodwork on the museum’s third floor. 1,470 yards of multi-colored thread add detail to the fabrics.
When Mary donated the wall hanging to the museum, she indicated that it was her “hope that funds generated by this donation will continue the preservation of the history of Lawrence, a city I have been
privileged to call home since 1975.”
Tickets for a drawing to win the quilt are $5 each or 5 for $20. They are available for purchase at the at the museum’s front desk, by calling 785-841-4109, or by using the “Donate” button on the museum’s website home page.
The winning ticket will be drawn at the museum’s Tails and Traditions Family Festival on Saturday, December 3, 2016.
Exhibitions Now on View
Campgrounds & Battlefields: The Lives of Civil War Soldiers Second Floor, through December 31, 2016
Enriching the Future: The Pinckney School Collection Third Floor, through January 21, 2017.
Power Forward: 125 Years of Basketball Second Floor, through March 25, 2017.
Photographs from Lawrence History Second floor, opens early January 2017.
Watkins: The Couple, the Building, the Legacy First Floor Lobby.