New era begins for city museum
Lansing Historical Museum ushered in a new era Tuesday, its opening day under the auspices of the city.
Mayor Kenneth Bernard, Lansing Historical Society secretary Verlin Tompkins and Laura Phillippi, who began Jan. 3 as the museum's site supervisor, welcomed the 25 people gathered for a brief ceremony. The museum had been closed to the public since November.
Since that time, its former operator, the Lansing Historical Society, signed the museum over to the city. With the changeover comes extended hours, new exhibits and programs and planning for an eventual expansion to include a museum dedicated to the regional prisons.
Bernard thanked the society for its past work.
"I, for one, fully realize that without the volunteers and all the efforts that you put in, this museum would not be where it is today, and we sincerely appreciate it," Bernard said.
Tompkins praised Phillippi for rearranging old artifacts on display and creating new exhibits.
"We're off to a great start," Tompkins said. "I'm very impressed, as I'm sure you were too, with the new displays and how they're arranged and all. We have a bright future ahead of us, I'm fairly certain."
Phillippi has prepared several new exhibits at the museum:
¢ The East Room has two exhibits dedicated to Drs. Kendall, Moore and Brown and the Kansas State Penitentiary, which is now the Lansing Correctional Facility.
¢ In the museum's West Room is the exhibit "Glimpses in Time: Photographs of Lansing History." Photographs in the display come from the museum's collection, Leavenworth County Fire District No. 1, The Current and the city. There also is a display dedicated to Lansing schools.
¢ The Center Room features Santa Fe Railway memorabilia, a gift shop and the exhibit "All in a Day's Work."
As City Council members, Historical Society members and other well-wishers gathered around the exhibits, Tompkins was effusive in complimenting Phillippi's work.
"I knew we had a lot of stuff. I see now we didn't have it arranged very well. Our new site supervisor really knows what she's doing," he said.
At one point prior to the opening ceremonies, Bernard and City Administrator Mike Smith gathered in front of a picture board that included a 1982 photo of members of the Lansing Police Department, including a younger Smith.
Bernard said he couldn't remember one of the officers; Smith recalled that several weeks after the photo was taken, he rolled the police car that was pictured.
"I like it. I think it's impressive," Bernard later said of the exhibits. "I think (Phillippi) did a good job."
Shanae Randolph, the city's director of economic development/convention and visitors bureau, said she hoped the next addition related to the museum would be signage on Kansas Highway 7 directing people to the museum. The Kansas Department of Transportation wouldn't allow the signs previously since the museum only was open on weekends.
"The signage is crucial so people can know about the museum," Randolph said. "It's not really visible from the highway."
Randolph, who is Phillippi's boss, said she hoped the public would turn out to see the new exhibits and participate in upcoming museum programs.
"We really hope we get great response from within the community and outside the community this week with the speakers and all," Randolph said. "Laura has worked really hard, and we hope people will come out and support the museum."
IF YOU GO
Lansing Historical Museum will continue its grand reopening with educational programs sponsored by the Kansas Humanities Council. The events, free and open to the public, are:
¢ 7 p.m. today, Feb. 23: Sandra D. Reddish, a doctoral student at Kansas State University, will present a slide, artifact and music presentation, "Kansas in World War I."
¢ 2 p.m. Friday, Feb. 24: William Worley, a professor of history at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, will portray Fred Harvey, the former Leavenworth resident who was renowned for establishing a food service on the Santa Fe Railway.
¢ 2 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 25: Albert N. Hamscher, a Kansas State University history professor, will talk about how cemeteries in Kansas and elsewhere reflect the changing views of life and death in his presentation, "Talking Tombstones: History in the Cemetery."
Also, Lansing Community Library will join in the grand reopening celebration with its presentation of "All Aboard! Story Time at the Museum" on Saturday, Feb. 25. Library volunteers will read to the public at 10:30 a.m. and 1 p.m.