The state of Kansas may be widely known for its flatness, the amount of wheat that comes from the state and agriculture in general, but what some may not know is that it is the birthplace of aviator Amelia Earhart, an Indian Cemetery and is the home of a barbed wire museum (which definitely makes sense if you keep reading). Below, we’ve made a list of those little known but travel worthy destinations to add to your bucket list.
Worlds Largest Collection of Smallest Versions of Largest Things – Lucas
So this may be a bit of a brain teaser (I had to read the title of the place several times) but don’t let that deter your interest! Seemingly silly and rather outrageous, the World’s Largest Collection of the World’s Smallest Versions of the World’s Largest Things was created by Erika Nelson and is incredibly unique in that it is a traveling museum. Once a photo of the real “thing” has been taken, a mini replica is made. Afterwards, Erika attempts to get a photo with the “Big and the Small.” The photo and the replica is then put on display in one of the windows of the van, or traveling museum. For example, you might expect to find a mini ball of rubber bands from an orthodontist’s office t0 replicate the worlds largest rubber band ball.
Though it might be hard to catch the traveling museum, you can visit the website where all the photos are loaded. http://www.worldslargestthings.com
They Also Ran Gallery – Norton
This uniquely named museum displays portraits of all the losers of each presidential race in history. They need recognition too! It all started in the 1960s when a man by the name of William Walter Rouse was brainstorming ways to boost tourism in Norton. He came up with the idea to build a replica of a stage coach station, now known as Stage Coach Station 15. After the station was built, the town chose to dedicate the place to Horace Greeley, the owner and publisher of the New York Tribune and the losing candidate of the presidential election of 1872. He was, at the time, the most famous person that had passed through Norton. Rouse decided it was a noble idea to hang a portrait of him close to Station 15 in the lobby of the bank he owned. Rouse was soon fascinated by a book he was given that gave details on the lives of the losing presidential candidates. The bank expanded and so did all of the photographs Rouse had saved. The museum now displays the photographs and details on each losing candidate.
Don’t worry if you don’t plan on making it to Kansas soon! The portraits are all available online at http://www.theyalsoran.com.
Amelia Earhart Birthplace Museum – Atchison
It was July of 1897 when Amelia Earhart was born here at the home of her mother’s parents. It was constructed in 1861 by her grandparents, who she spent a lot of time traveling with while she was young. As of 1971, the home is now on the list of National Register of Historic Buildings, but was actually a private home till 1984. The museum is now maintained by a group of women pilots, who Amelia was the first president of, the Ninety-Nines. It still holds many of the personal belongings of the Earhart’s along with artifacts correlated to her death. Her plan was to circle the whole globe by plane in 1937, but was never seen again and probably disappeared over the South Pacific. A light tower that is named after her stands on Howlard Island is is constantly waiting for her refueling pitstop.
Kansas Barbed Wire Museum – La Crosse
You’re probably wondering how a museum of barbed wire could ever attract tourists. You might be surprised to know that the “Devil’s Rope” is actually caused the idea of the Wild West to be ceased and the act of private land owning took place. Barbed wire made it easy for land and livestock owners to keep out any unwanted farm animals or other stray beasts. The wire went from a makeshift metal string to being mass produced and was an informal way to enforce rules and the law. It also put to rest any uncertainty on whose land was whose. The museum was built in 1990 to showcase the different types of barbed wire used over the years and brings collectors under one roof. Private collectors are who keep the museum running and updated with over 2,000 different types of the prickly stuff. They even have the types of tools and manufacturing equipment that was used on display along with a theater, archive and a barbed wire Hall of Fame. For true enthusiasts, La Crosse holds a International Antique and Barbed Wire Supershow annually. This allows people from across the country to buy, sell, trade or simply show off their wire collections.
Huron Indian Cemetery – Kansas City
Destinations don’t always have to have a dark history or conflict to draw attention, but it does add to the attractiveness and it seems to make the place a bit more captivating. The Huron Indian Cemetery, formerly the Wyandot National Burying Ground, has a controversial background and has been recently deemed as a strictly cultural and religious place. The grounds were founded in 1843 after the Wyandot Nation was forced to leave. The cemetery is the resting place of an unknown number of Native Americans, but we don’t have documents stating just who is buried there. The move caused many natives to give in to illnesses like typhoid or measles. They were carried across the Kansas and Missouri Rivers, which created a cemetery. It was sold in the 1890s by developers and in 1906, they wanted to move the remains elsewhere. 2 women helped keep the remains where they were and in 1998, Wyandot Nations of Oklahoma and Kansas finally agreed to keep the place just as it is.
Oz Museum – Wamego
Who could visit Kansas and not visit the Oz Museum? This place simply a collection of Oz-related games and artifacts. It was built in 2004 as a celebration of the 1939 movie, but was also a celebration of the phenomenon of Oz that started with L. Frank Baum’s children’s book in 1900. The museum holds over 2,500 movie related artifacts and toys based of off Baum’s book. Because of the museum, the town of Wamego is now all about Oz in that it now has restaurants and wineries named after the story. Visitors may feel as if they have truly stumbled upon Oz once entering the town.