Independence Historical Museum & Arts Center
The museum creates a sense of exciting evolution from the 1800s when Independence was called "Hay Town," to the present, now a busy southeast Kansas city of more than 10,000 people. The museum's permanent exhibits in 22 rooms tell stories of the early settlers’ lifestyle; the history of the oil industry; some of the Indian culture collection and various historical artifacts.
Sculptures, antique china, crystal, and other rare collections are on display in the foyer and throughout the museum.
Also, on display... large Military display, 1869 furnished Log Cabin, 1884 School Classroom, Old General Store, Doctor's Office, Bedroom, Dining Room, Parlor, Kitchen, Toy Room, Blacksmith Shop, Antique Tools, Toy Collection, Fire Department, old pictures and more.
Various activities are sponsored and held each year at the museum such as a quilt fair, arts and craft fairs, Verdigris Valley Art Exhibit and numerous museum social events.
A collection of playwright William Inge memorabilia, activities and awards enhance the annual Inge Festival sponsored by the Independence Community College. We also have memorabilia from other local celebrities, including Bill Kurtis, Vivian Vance, Jim Halsey, Osa Johnson, and Ossie Tranbarger.
The Independence Historical Museum was owned and operated by the Ladies Library and Art Association organized in 1882.
Upon completion of the Carnegie Library in 1907, the Association turned the 3,500 volumes it had acquired over to the city. Its first objective completed; the group devoted its effort to secure an art collection for its people.
In 1963, the Association purchased the Old Post Office/Federal Building at 8th and Myrtle Streets as a cultural center for the community, a repository for the art collection and as a museum to preserve the history of the area. The museum building was placed on the National Register of Historic Places as well as the Kansas Register in 1988.
In January 2000, the Independence Museum acquired the Montgomery County Historical Society collection and then integrated the two collections. The name was then changed to The Independence Historical Museum. It was founded by the Ladies Library and Art Association and became the home of Montgomery County Historical Society.