The Johnson County Museum is located inside the Arts and Heritage building on Metcalf Avenue inside the old King Louie Bowling Alley building. This building has been standing in the Johnson County, Kansas area for many years.
Once inside, you get your tickets at the desk and then you head behind this wall to the glass door and walk down the stairs or use the elevator right inside the doors to the bottom level where the museum is. If you are wanting to visit but need something cheaper, make sure to check the website for this year’s free days.
Kidscape – Children’s Play Area
At the bottom of the stairs and straight ahead is KidScape and an area that looks like a parking lot for strollers. They also put a family restroom here that is great for when you’re playing. This area is really neat after a walk thru the museum for toddlers to about 8-10 year olds based off the kid. There is a whole village here and they all play with each other. There is a wagon and a farm house where you can collect eggs from the chickens, harvest the vegetables from the garden. Then you go in the farm house to cook.
There is a city market to buy groceries from and a diner if you are lucky to eat out tonight. There is also mail to be delivered and a hospital. And don’t forget the construction area, trolly, school house, and theater. There are comfortable chairs and benches as well. I love the free-play children can have and explore their environment. If this is a place your kids love and you’re a local resident getting a membership for the winter might be ideal for you. We had one when the kids were little and it was wonderful.
Johnson County History
One of the best things about this museum is that it’s in timeline order. This makes much more sense as you go thru and relate it to the world around you. Even the special train exhibit is in timeline fashion.
The museum features an exhibit that gets change out and right now it’s Trains. The exhibit shows how trains influence and changed the landscape of Johnson County. I love how they had a few interactive exhibits including a model train. Don’t forget to take a picture at the selfie station as you leave this area.
Starting at the gold star you can start your time travel journey as the land starts becoming Johnson County and the farming. The eight year old loved seeing the banking. We all loved seeing the old farming tools they used for spinach and other food. I loved playing the plinko-like game to see when I planted what might happen and all the different things that could happen to your crops to keep kids busy as you read more.
Then you go along and you see when JC Nicholas started being part of the landscape. Then as you keep going you end up in the 1950s electric garage. This is probably the top favorite is the 1950s All Electric House that you get to go thru. You can see an ice box, dishwasher, washing machine, stove, and many other items this house had. I can’t believe all the outlets and at all the levels they had them at. I also think it’s cool how the stove went down to one coil for a soup pot.
Plus seeing all the neat containers and items they had like in the kitchen and green toilet paper was very interesting. Also, the kids can try delivering the paper on the outside of the house. Don’t forget to check out the Bel Air car. There are little details inside from an original ash tray to a baby seat.
Don’t forget to check out the walls here with information about women’s rights, politics, and the start of Boy Scouts, Girls Scouts and Barbie becoming recession proof products as baby boomers bought it for their kids. Also loved seeing the front yard with Kenmore grill which was a very known name in the time along with the Sears tricycle. As you finish the timeline, check out info about Metcalf South and typing on typewriters becoming the new norm. See how well you can type on a typewriter. Finish with some information about White Haven which was around till 2010.
Overall, this a great local museum, it shares history that is relatable to many. Some of the history is just old enough to know of or seen of some of it. Also, if your families have been in the area you might find something about them. So check out your local history. When leaving, check out the local store it has some fun local city items.
Don’t forget to check out some of the other places to visit in the area!