In re-shaping its exhibit program, the Watkins Museum of History imagined visitors exploring the state’s turbulent abolitionist history and it’s struggle to realize a free society, while being inspired to get involved with today’s issues. InterActive Group created a county-focused visitor experience immersing visitors in the momentous events and people who made a difference in the years leading up to the Civil War… and after. Opened on the sesquicentennial of William Quantrill’s infamous guerrilla raid on Lawrence, this new permanent exhibit has seen four-fold increase in visitor attendance.

Visitors to this first of a planned two-phase exhibit experience can:

  • Step into a personal-sized theater and use their hands to navigate through the brutal 1863 raid on Lawrence by Quantrill’s Raiders.
  • Learn about the “Bleeding Kansas” struggle between abolitionists and pro-slavery forces in the Kansas-Missouri conflict before and during the Civil War.
  • Explore an interactive timeline of people in the county’s history who turned their passions into civic action.
  • Weigh in on today’s issues with an interactive website and see what other visitors think.