About Us

About the Watkins Museum of History

Since 1975, the Watkins Museum of History, housed in the iconic 1888 Watkins Land Mortgage and National Bank Building in downtown Lawrence, has provided programs and public events, educational resources and activities, research support, 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, a non-profit organization committed to preserving Douglas County heritage and encouraging civic engagement by sharing stories of the people and events that have shaped our communities.

The Watkins is proud to be a member of the Douglas County Heritage Alliance, a cooperative effort of the historical societies in Douglas County to share resources and preserve county historic places, and a partner organization in the Freedom’s Frontier National Heritage Area. The Watkins Museum of History gratefully acknowledges the operational support provided by Douglas County through its annual outside agency allocation process.

About the Douglas County Historical Society

The Douglas County Historical Society (DCHS) is a non-profit organization committed to preserving Douglas County heritage and encouraging civic engagement by sharing stories of the people and events that have shaped our communities. It was started in 1933 when a group of concerned citizens, both men and women, were motivated to preserve the community’s early history. Through their efforts, important artifacts from the city’s early days were preserved, and in the 1970s, DCHS members played a crucial role in preserving the iconic Watkins National Bank Building itself, partnering with Douglas County Government to secure ownership of the building and raise funds for its restoration. In 1975, the DCHS opened the Elizabeth Miller Watkins Community Museum in the newly refurbished building. Today, operation of the Watkins Museum of History is the society’s primary activity.

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