Collections from Kansas National Parks

National Park Service, Centennial One Object Exhibit

In celebration of the National Park Service Centennial in 2016, this exhibit showcases one object from every national park museum collection in Kansas. We invite you to explore museum collections from Brown V Board of Education National Historic Site, Fort Larned National Historic Site, Fort Scott National Historic Site, Nicodemus National Historic Site, and Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve.

This silver-finished Art Nouveau jewelry casket closely resembles one was originally sold in the Sears & Roebuck Catalog for 17 cents. Originally lined with silk or velvet, jewelry boxes such as these often featured flowing, asymmetrical lines, with motifs relating to nature. Mail order catalogs enabled middle class American families to bring a touch of the “high style” of the world's great cities like Paris and London into their homes.

Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site, BRVB 306

Fort Lamed was an Army post along the Santa Fe Trail garrisoned with Army soldiers. The fort was in existence from 1859 to 1878 and hundreds of soldiers stayed here over that time as part of the post garrison. Life for soldiers on the frontier was harsh and uncomfortable. This original army bunk, which slept two men on each level is a perfect example of the hardships and cramped conditions the common soldier endured in the frontier army.

Fort Larned National Historic Site, FOLS 26472

Born about 1828 in Illinois or Missouri, Pleasant Fountain enlisted as a Private in the Union Army at Fort Scott, Kansas on January 7, 1862. He was mustered into Company H of the 6th Kansas Volunteer Cavalry Regiment on March 3, 1862, with the rank of Sergeant, and was promoted to Regimental Quartermaster Sergeant a year later. Sergeant Fountain was seriously wounded in a skirmish with rebel guerrillas in Jasper County, Missouri, in late March 1863.Transported to the US Army General Hospital at Fort Scott, he was soon discharged from the hospital and passed away at his home in Cherokee County, Kansas on April 6, 1863.Pleasant Fountain was laid to rest in the Fort Scott National Cemetery. Descendants have graciously donated several of his Civil War-era personal effects to Fort Scott National Historic Site in order to honor his sacrifice and share his memory with future generations. These items are seen in this tintype and include his sabre, scabbard, sword belt, and belt buckle.

Fort Scott National Historic Site, FOSC 12508

Used in the Nicodemus African Methodist Episcopal Church in Nicodemus, Kansas. This candelabrum, which was used in one of the community churches, symbolizes faith, one of the five pillars that the Nicodemus community was founded upon. The Nicodemus settlers' faith had seen them through slavery, the oppression of the post-Civil War Reconstruction Era and continued to see them through the rigors and heartache of taming the unforgiving new land they came to with all their hopes and dreams.

Nicodemus National Historic Site, NICO 6

This ledger provides an early record of US government land sale to the state of Kansas. It was initially purchased by the railroads for sale to private individuals, including two wealthy ranchers. The entries give chronological documentation representing a continuum of land use and progression of technology. It tells the story of how two prominent Chase County ranches developed, ultimately becoming Spring Hill and Deer Park Farms, part of which which make up Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve. This is the story of the end of the open range to the time of large enclosed corporate ranches, ending in 1924. It also documents when the land was first leased for gas and oil exploration when owned by C.C. and Nannie Patton in 1916. A lease agreement describes their free use of these natural resources for heating the large ranch house and other buildings/uses as desired. These documents give clues to when significant modifications to the home interior and use of stock tank heaters occurred, and gas lines and pumps are still in the ranch house and across the landscape. The entire document has been scanned and is now housed in the online archives of Kansas Memory of the Kansas State Historical Society in Topeka, KS. This land abstract was a land owner's copy.

Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve, TAPR 1350

Credits: Story

Park museum staff from: Brown V Board of Education National Historic Site, Fort Larned National Historic Site, Fort Scott National Historic Site, Nicodemus National Historic Site, and Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve.

National Park Service, Museum Management Program Staff: Amber Dumler, Stephen Damm, Ron Wilson, and Joan Bacharach

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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