Since 1975, the Watkins Museum of History, housed in the 1888 Watkins Land Mortgage and National Bank Building, has provided 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. The Watkins Museum is operated by the Douglas County Historical Society.

The 1870s playhouse is fun for all ages.
A third floor exhibit captures the feel of 1900s Mass Street.
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
View an exhibit of artifacts from Quantrill’s Raid on Lawrence.
The Museum is housed in the historic Watkins Building in downtown Lawrence, Kansas.
See a rare Milburn electric car on display in the exhibit area of the Watkins Museum.

Coming Events

August 19–25
The Great Watkins Giveaway
From August 19–25, visitors to the Watkins can enter to win gift cards and other valuable prizes from a huge range of downtown Lawrence retailers. Prizes range in value from $5 to $100. Tickets are $1 each or $5 for six and purchased on site. Winners will be drawn August 26..
Friday, August 25
Final Friday: Local Stories of the Underground Railroad
6-8 p.m., free
At 6 p.m., Bill Wagnon of the Ritchie House in Topeka will present on the history of this Underground Railroad site.
At 7 p.m., Judy Sweets will discuss "The Search for Dr. John Doy, Underground Railroad Agent."
Friday, September 29
Final Friday: Town Teams: Bigger Than Baseball
7 p.m.– 8:30 p.m., free
Director Mark Honer and baseball historian Mark Eberle join us for a screening and discussion of this award-winning film about small-town baseball.

Cole’s Cam

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.

Exhibitions Now on View

Faster, Higher, Stronger: Douglas County Track and Field Olympians
Second Floor, July 18 through August 5

The Power of the People: Lawrence and Fair Housing
Second Floor, Bank Lobby, July 18-August 26

Film, Family, and Friendship: The Centron Legacy
Second Floor, July 28-August 26

Casual Exclusion: Life in Segregated in Lawrence
Third Floor, through August 26

Watkins: The Couple, the Building, the Legacy
First Floor Lobby.

Visit the Watkins Museum of History

The Watkins Museum is open year round, and admission is free.


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.
Tuesday–Saturday: 10 a.m.–4 p.m.
Closed Sunday, Monday and Holidays

The Watkins Museum’s public spaces are fully accessible.

Join the Douglas County
Historical Society

The Douglas County Historical Society, is a non-profit organization that was established in 1933. The society preserves the heritage of Douglas County and encourages civic engagement by sharing stories of the people and events that have shaped our communities.

Membership in the Douglas County Historical Society supports the Watkins Museum and offers inside information and members-only programs. Join Today!

Watkins Museum of History
1047 Massachusetts Street
Lawrence , Kansas 66044
Phone (785) 841-4109 • Fax (785) 841-9547

© Copyright 2018 Watkins Museum of History
Freedom's Frontier Heritage Area
The Watkins Museum is a partner in the
Freedom’s Frontier National Heritage Area