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Ellis County Historical Society Museum
Hays Kansas Museum

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NameEllis County Historical Society Museum
Address100 W. 7th
7th & Main - Downtown Hays
Hays, KS 67601
Brief DescriptionA variety of permanent exhibits, artifacts, displays, photographs and new exhibits throughout the year tell the story of Hays, Ellis County and the early pioneers. Includes the first stone church in Hays, a harness shop and gift shop.
DescriptionLocated at the corner of 7th and Main Streets in downtown Hays, the Ellis County Historical Society Museum exists to preserve and showcase the colorful history of the county. . The museum has over 25,000 artifacts that tell the colorful history of Ellis County. From buffaloes to boxcars, outlaws to oil strikes, farming to flying, and Victorian gentility to Volga German tenacity, the area has a diverse heritage. History walked the streets of Hays in the frontier era, and later, Germans from Russia migrated to Ellis County, farmers battled the Dust Bowl of the Great Depression, and Walker Army Airfield trained B-29 crews for World War II service.

The main gallery begins with the frontier days, when legendary characters such as Wild Bill Hickok, Buffalo Bill Cody, and George Armstrong Custer walked the streets of Hays. In addition, learn about the clash of cultures that resulted when the railroad crossed tribal grounds and buffalo hunters decimated the great herds. Visit the recreated saloon and try your hand at faro, a favorite card game of the day. Round out your experience with a stroll through the first Boot Hill in the Wild West (18th and Fort Streets), last resting place for those who “died with their boots on.”

Transport yourself forward in time to the settlement era of Ellis County history, when nearly thirty different groups struggled to tame the land. Queen Victoria was the namesake for an English colony that included George Grant, who brought the first Angus cattle to America in 1873. The largest immigrant groups to settle in the county were Germans from the Volga River region of Russia and Bukovina from Austria-Hungary. The museum complex also features the 1879 Stone Church, the Younker Harness Shop, and the Volga German Haus. The stone chapel is considered one of the oldest existing church buildings in western Kansas and is the oldest church building still standing in Ellis County. The Volga German Haus replicates an early immigrant dwelling, complete with authentic furnishings. Finally, children will enjoy the hands-on activities in the Learning Center, where history can be explored through toys and clothing of bygone eras. Annual special events include Pioneer Day in May, bus tours, new opening exhibits and Christmas Open House the first weekend in December. A complete calendar of events is available on the website at
Phone 1(785) 628-2624
Handicapped AccessibleNo
Time Allowance1-2 hours
Last Updated11/12/2013
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Ellis County Historical Society Museum - Hays, KS 67601

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What's Nearby?

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