Archive for Thursday, September 27, 2007

Gallows’ return a plum for museum

September 27, 2007

News earlier this month that state historical officials have agreed to loan the gallows formerly used at the Kansas State Prison was a shot in the arm to the Kansas Regional Prisons Museum.

The gallows, last used at KSP for executions in 1965, have been sitting in storage in Topeka at the Kansas State Historical Society, ostensibly collecting dust and taking up space.

But with their return "home" to Lansing, the gallows will be among the attractions once the prisons museum opens.

The return of the gallows is due mostly to the diligent efforts of Mayor Kenneth Bernard and State Rep. Kenny Wilk, R-Lansing, who have prodded state historical officials for months. This summer, through Wilk's string-pulling, Bernard again made the case for the gallows' return to Lansing during a meeting with officials from the Kansas State Historical Society and the Kansas Museum of History.

During his presentation, Bernard laid out the vision for the Kansas Regional Prisons Museum. Bernard and the other members of the prison museum's board had done their homework, and the presentation was said to have "wowed" the audience.

Prison museum officials now have the responsibility to ensure the gallows don't become a side show. Though there is bound to be fascination with the gallows, they must be displayed with reverence to the families of the victims of those who hung by the noose.

Of course, we're sure those responsible for the museum are working on a plan to do just that.

So as planning for the museum continues, we look forward to the day when the gallows come home to Lansing. That will be a day to signal the museum is closer to reality.

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