The Kramer Family Research Room

The Watkins Museum’s archive has thousands of photographs and documents about the history of Douglas County, Kansas and its residents. These materials cover themes including businesses, schools, churches, personal correspondence, and changing Lawrence city governance. While the core research materials outlined below are on hand through our research facility, materials in the museum’s archival collections can be made available through research requests.

The renovation to the Watkins Museum’s research room was possible thanks to a generous $100,000 donation from Carol J. Koenig, in memory of her mother, Daisy Viola Kramer Koenig, who grew up in Douglas County, Kansas. The renovated research room is designated the Kramer Family Research Room, in recognition of this gift.

Research Requests

While the Watkins Museum of History is open for normal hours, research staff are not on-site everyday. Please submit all research requests via email to Collections Manager Kate Grasse or Research Assistant Gillian Nichols at [email protected] or call (785) 841-4109 for more information. In your email, provide a summary of your research objective, question(s), and any background information relevant to the research request.

On-Site Research

  • The Kramer Family Research Room is available by appointment only Tuesday through Friday, 10am – 4pm. Appointments may be available for other days but must be requested at least 3 business days in advance of the desired date.
  • Researchers should email the research team at [email protected] with details of their research topic prior to visiting Watkins. All research requests are handled in the order in which they are received. 
  • The research staff will review each request to determine whether relevant materials are available and will contact the researcher to schedule an appointment

Policy & Fees

Independent Research Fee: The Watkins Museum staff is available to provide some reference assistance to you. However, if you find that you require extensive research assistance or cannot come in-person, the museum’s research assistant is happy to help conduct research for $15 an hour.

Digital Reproduction Policy and Fees: Researchers must submit a completed Reproduction Request Form for all digital reproductions. An estimate of research fees will be provided to researchers. Photos must be requested at least 3 business days in advance of the desired date.

Membership Benefits: The following Douglas County Historical Society membership levels receive a discount on research fees. Not a member? Sign up here.

  • Associate ($100-249/year) = 10% off a purchase of $20 or more
  • Supporter ($250-499/year = 15% off a purchase of $20 or more
  • Patron ($500-999/year) = 25% off a purchase of $20 or more
  • Benefactor ($1000 and above) = 25% off a purchase of $20 or more
Reproduction FeeImage Type
$5.00Per image for personal research only
$10.00Per image for publication or public display (hard copy, web, film usage)
$20.00Per image for commercial use
$30.00Per oversized image (originals exceeding 11” x 17”)
Price VariesPer media reproduction (ex: Oral Histories, CD, etc.)
Copying Fee
$1.00 per Black & White photocopy
Postage & Handling Fee
$3.50 minimum

Reference & Research Resources

  • Archival collections
  • Audiovisual & oral histories
  • Genealogical Guide
  • General history files
  • Local history index
  • Maps & atlases
  • Monographs
  • Newspaper clippings
  • Obituary/Mortuary records
  • Research guides
  • Teacher & student resources
  • Vertical files
  • Photographs & postcards
  • Yearbooks & school newspapers

Additional Online Resource

To access digital resources already available online see Douglas County On-line Resources.  Please check back frequently as the listing will be updated by Watkins staff. To access digitized newspapers, visit the Newspaper Search Guide.

Other area institutions:

Watkins Genealogy Classes

Since 2016, the Watkins Genealogy Group has held engaging classes aimed at informing a wide range of family historians from novice to experienced. These classes are taught by genealogy expert Alisa Branham. Click on the link above for more information about Watkins genealogy resources.