Shawnee Indian Mission State Historic Site

Shawnee Indian Mission State Historic Site 3403 W. 53rd Street, Fairway, KS 66205-2654 913-262-0867 [email protected] In the 19th century as Americans wanted more land, settlement moved west.
(13)

For countless American Indians, the American thirst for land meant a challenge to a traditional way of life. Shawnee Mission, like many others, was established as a manual training school attended by boys and girls from Shawnee, Delaware, and other Indian nations from 1839 to 1862. Visit this 12-acre National Historic Landmark and learn the stories of those like Sallie Bluejacket who lived there.

Operating as usual

The SIM offers a range and variety of programs, none of which would be possible without our volunteers.  Their spirit, s...
09/19/2020

The SIM offers a range and variety of programs, none of which would be possible without our volunteers. Their spirit, skills and generosity animate every program at the Mission. In this column of the newsletter, we turn the spotlight on one outstanding member of our volunteer team.

The fall of 1986 was a season of many firsts for the Shawnee Indian Mission. The Friends of the Mission group was formed and undertook its first project: the First Fall Festival. One of the visitors that day was John Forbes, who was making his first visit to the mission as a volunteer parent, leading a troop of Boy Scouts through the festivities.

That outing was clearly a success – and a classic win-win moment. The scouts had a wonderful day exploring a local landmark; the Mission gained a remarkable volunteer, ally and friend – John Forbes.

Ever since that day, for an amazing “34 years and counting,” Forbes has been a steady fixture at the Mission, dedicating countless volunteer hours and sharing his impressive knowledge and talents with Mission staff and visitors. During that time, when Forbes wasn’t at the Mission “living history”, he was teaching history in the Shawnee Mission School District, mostly at Shawnee Mission South High School, until his retirement in 2000.

Volunteering at the Mission was a natural fit for a professional historian, particular one charged with engaging young people in the study of history. As John’s own children grew, his involvement with the Mission also grew. He helped plan and present summer youth programs based on hands-on activities to simulate life along the Oregon Trail.

By 1992, just six years into his alliance with the Mission, Forbes doubled-down and became an even more active volunteer. He led a campaign to acquire a full-scale pioneer wagon to serve as the centerpiece for the Mission’s school programs and outreach activities. Forbes not only championed the purchase of the wagon, he personally observed its construction and served as a “second-hammer” to the wagon-maker in Centerville, Missouri who built the wagon. Forbes wanted to fully understand every aspect of the wagon’s construction and each of its components. To his day, he is the recognized “wagon master” and ensures that the symbol of the Mission is well-maintained, repaired and always ready to roll.

Within a year of his retirement from full-time teaching in 2000, he undertook another ambitious and vitally important project at the Mission: the organization of the SIM Research Library. At that time, the library consisted of a small, dusty and disordered collection of papers, books, photos and maps housed in a single room on the top floor of the West building.

By 2005, Forbes had catalogued and organized the original collection, expanded the resources of the library with new books and source material related to Mission history and moved the library to its current location in the North building. Now the ever expanding Library is a valuable and recognized resource for scholars, students and local researchers.

In 2020, visitors can find Forbes at the Mission every Wednesday, working in the Library, helping researchers use its many resources and fielding inquiries from the Mission staff and the public. He also hosts a monthly “Brown Bag Lunch” that gathers local historians and interested amateurs for informal talks on all-things-past. For those who want to delve deeper, Forbes teaches a KU Continuing Education course on the history of the Mission and the nearby community.

SIM Site Director Jennifer Laughlin asked Forbes if, after all these years, he had a personal favorite memory of the Mission. He quickly replied that for him, the stand-out experience was “working with the School for the Blind, giving those students hands-on living history activities such a rope-making, touching a real covered wagon and even blacksmithing. We even created an ‘audio-orienteering’ course that used sound compasses to guide the explorers.”

There isn’t much Forbes hasn’t done to support the Mission. He’s been its heart, mind and memory for over 30 years. And just for the record, when asked, he still guides Boy Scout troops through the site.

For the full list of our fall programs and special events, visit: https://fairway.recdesk.com/RecDeskPortal/Portals/101/...
09/15/2020

For the full list of our fall programs and special events, visit:
https://fairway.recdesk.com/RecDeskPortal/Portals/101/2020%20FALL%20DIGITAL%20NEWSLETTER%20reduced.pdf

So much beauty around the site this time of year! #johnsoncountymastergardner #springfedcreek #nationalhistoriclandmark
08/15/2020

So much beauty around the site this time of year! #johnsoncountymastergardner #springfedcreek #nationalhistoriclandmark

In the past two weeks, the 10 windows on the west side (first floor) of the East building were restored and repainted!
08/07/2020

In the past two weeks, the 10 windows on the west side (first floor) of the East building were restored and repainted!

Due to COVID-19 concerns and in the sake of public health, we have made the difficult decision to cancel the 2020 Fall F...
07/31/2020

Due to COVID-19 concerns and in the sake of public health, we have made the difficult decision to cancel the 2020 Fall Festival. The Shawnee Indian Mission Foundation is committed to continuing the incredible tradition of the Fall Festival. We are already planning for 2021 and hope you will join us to make the next Fall Festival the best in 35 years!! For more information, visit www.shawneeindianmission.org

It’s BACK on the lawn! Due to repairs, Covid-19 shutdown, then county safety mandates, our wagon got a later start than ...
07/25/2020

It’s BACK on the lawn! Due to repairs, Covid-19 shutdown, then county safety mandates, our wagon got a later start than usual but the perfect isolated photo op is back on site.

City of Fairway, KS
07/24/2020

City of Fairway, KS

#fairwayphoto Contest - Week 2 (July 24-30) @ Fairway, Kansas

07/23/2020
Shawnee Indian Mission - Grounds

Enjoy a social distancing tour around the grounds at the Shawnee Indian Mission! A new video will be posted each week in July to explore the buildings and grounds of the Shawnee Indian Mission.

The spectacular grounds at the Mission provide a perfect opportunity for social distancing and safe practices while stil...
07/22/2020

The spectacular grounds at the Mission provide a perfect opportunity for social distancing and safe practices while still getting fresh air. Even our amazing Master Gardeners wear masks and distance from each other while working! Families can enjoy the grounds, bring a picnic, and run around while seeing gardens, a creek, multiple bridges, some fun wildlife (butterfly’s, birds, rabbits, chipmunks and sometimes even a fox!) and 12 acres of open space. #staysafe

07/16/2020
Shawnee Indian Mission - North Building

Enjoy a social distancing tour around the North Building! A new video will be posted each week in July to explore the buildings and grounds of the Shawnee Indian Mission.

The wagon has had some work done, got some new paint, and is getting ready to head slightly west from the garage to the ...
07/16/2020

The wagon has had some work done, got some new paint, and is getting ready to head slightly west from the garage to the lawn next week.

07/15/2020

Due to a meeting of the Shawnee Indian Mission Historic Society and Brown Bag being held (socially distanced in the chapel), the site will not be available for tours or museum visitors from 11:30am-2pm. Sorry for any inconvenience but tour reservations can still be made for other times by calling the Mission, or emailing the Site Director at [email protected]

07/09/2020

The site will be open for tours on Friday (7/10) from 10am-4pm. Please call 913-262-0350 ext 5300 to book a tour. The site will be closed on Saturday (7/11).

07/09/2020
Shawnee Indian Mission - West Building

Enjoy a social distancing tour around the West building! A new video will be posted each week in July to explore the buildings and grounds of the Shawnee Indian Mission.

07/02/2020
Shawnee Indian Mission - East Building

Enjoy a social distancing tour around the East building! A new video will be posted each week in July to explore the buildings and grounds of the Shawnee Indian Mission.

If you live in Kansas City, I highly recommended taking a look at KC Race Project, an amazing project established by the...
06/12/2020
Dividing Lines: A History of Segregation in Kansas City

If you live in Kansas City, I highly recommended taking a look at KC Race Project, an amazing project established by the Johnson County Library, working with local public schools. They have created a fantastic driving tour, giving the community a history lesson for those who are interested in learning more.

https://voicemap.me/tour/kansas-city/dividing-lines-a-history-of-segregation-in-kansas-city

"The Project consists of a series of opportunities for students to learn Kansas City and Johnson County’s story of structural racism and how it continues to impact us today; to undergo unique experiences related to that story; to encounter experts on the topics; to learn vocabulary for talking about racism; to build relationships with peers they might not otherwise meet; and to share their own stories as they relate to the issues. This occurs through monthly events for student groups throughout the school year and an annual event with author Tanner Colby (and others) each spring."

Explore the history of segregation in Kansas City

PAVE A WAY FOR THE MISSION: You can help secure the future of the Mission and create a lasting legacy that expresses you...
06/11/2020

PAVE A WAY FOR THE MISSION: You can help secure the future of the Mission and create a lasting legacy that expresses your support. We invite you to purchase a 4” x 8” brick engraved with a family name, business or a memorial for a loved one. Proceeds from this project will restore and reset the entire entrance to the East Building and help to fund the Master Plan that will give the Shawnee Indian Mission another 180 years!!

This is a unique opportunity to personally connect to our local National Historic Landmark. You will be preserving the past and giving to future generations in a tangible and permanent way that will link yesterday, today and tomorrow. You can purchase a brick online! https://shawneeindianmission.org/pave-a-way/

As apart of the KC Culture Cares initiative, we are dedicated to keeping our volunteers, visitors and staff safe during ...
06/06/2020
Covid-19 – Shawnee Indian Mission Foundation

As apart of the KC Culture Cares initiative, we are dedicated to keeping our volunteers, visitors and staff safe during these historic times. Please visit https://shawneeindianmission.org/covid-19/ for a list of current policies and procedures moving forward. Take care and stay safe. 😷

CURRENT COVID-19 POLICIES Due to Covid-19 recommendations, the Shawnee Indian Mission will be open for reserved tours only, with timed reservations to limit the number of people in the building to practice social distancing. To schedule, please call 913-262-0867 or email Jennifer Laughlin to make a....

Throwback Thursday!  This image is an artist rendering, published in the late-1800s, which shows quite a bit of artistic...
05/28/2020

Throwback Thursday! This image is an artist rendering, published in the late-1800s, which shows quite a bit of artistic interpretation of the site and buildings. The sketch appears in Henry Howe's book, Historical Collections of the Great West.

Social Saturday’s have been a bit ironic during covid19 and so much has changed in a short period of time. One year ago,...
05/23/2020

Social Saturday’s have been a bit ironic during covid19 and so much has changed in a short period of time. One year ago, we were wrapping up our fieldtrip season where almost 1000 students visit the Mission in the spring to learn about local history. This year, our doors haven’t been opened since middle-March. We are working on a reopening plan, which for awhile will limit visitors, require reservations and contain cleaning and safety protocols to keep staff, volunteers and visitors safe. Until then, some pictures from the good old days of 2019.

The Throwback Thursday for this week is from 1968 and features a from exhibit room from the East building.  This room is...
05/21/2020

The Throwback Thursday for this week is from 1968 and features a from exhibit room from the East building. This room is now the main office for the site, and looks very different with plain white walls, hunter green trim and modern office furnishings.

With the area fireworks show canceled, our July 3 event is canceled but we hope to return next year with an old-fashione...
05/20/2020
KMBC 9

With the area fireworks show canceled, our July 3 event is canceled but we hope to return next year with an old-fashioned picnic and family fun!

The city of Roeland Park, city of Fairway and the city of Westwood announced its annual firework display held at Bishop Miege High School, St. Agnes Catholic Church and St. Agnes Catholic School scheduled for July 3 has been canceled.

In early May, the city of Lee's Summit announced it canceled its large annual fireworks show over coronavirus concerns.

We hope to have a reopening plan and date soon, but a visit to the Mission will most likely look very different this sum...
05/18/2020

We hope to have a reopening plan and date soon, but a visit to the Mission will most likely look very different this summer compared to the past. Until this, we will continue our weekly series and it's time for another Mission Monday.

We have talked about Rev. Thomas Johnson as the founder of the Mission, who was a complicated and controversial figure. Did you know his 1865 murder is still unsolved?

Johnson and his wife moved back to the Missouri side in Kansas City, Mo (Hyde Park area) after the Mission closed in 1862. Rev. Johnson had foes on both sides of the slavery issue because prior to statehood, he was a pro-slavery, slave owner and after statehood, he signed allegiance to the Union. (Kansas entered into the Union in 1861 as a free state) He had sons who fought on both sides of the war during the Battle of Westport and the Johnson family, like many, were divided during the Civil War.

On January 2, 1865 Johnson, aged 62, was murdered on his front steps during the middle of the night. The murder was announced on January 7, 1865 in the Wyandotte Commercial Gazette and claimed "bushwhackers" were the murderers, but most now agree that is speculation and no evidence of specific individuals was ever given or solved. Over 50 shots had been fired into the Johnson home and after being killed, his wife Sarah defended their home.

Johnson was buried in the Shawnee Indian Mission cemetery just southeast of Shawnee Mission Parkway and Canterbury. The inscription of his grave reads: Rev Thomas Johnson The Devoted Indian Missionary Born July 11, 1802 Died Jan 2, 1865. He build his own monument which shall stand in peerless beauty long after this marble shall have crumbled into dust. A monument of good works. The voice at midnight came he started up to hear a marked arrow pointed at his frame he fell but felt no fear servant of God well done praise be him in his employ and while eternal ages pass rest in thy saviors joy.

Social Saturday!  Do you believe in ghosts?  Do you think historic sites are rich in experiences that cross over?  A few...
05/16/2020

Social Saturday! Do you believe in ghosts? Do you think historic sites are rich in experiences that cross over? A few years ago, we started community programs where members of the public could experience a paranormal investigation at an amazing historic site. We have had believers, skeptics and everyone in-between. The investigators bring a variety of equipment and we open up all three buildings, including the closed and empty West building---which tends to have the most "activity." We hope to have another public event this fall to see if paranormal activity interacts with you...... https://martincitytelegraph.com/2018/10/07/is-the-shawnee-indian-mission-haunted-find-out-for-yourself/

Museums are listed under Phase 2 (in the most extensive list) so the Mission will continue to stay closed until Phase 2 ...
05/16/2020

Museums are listed under Phase 2 (in the most extensive list) so the Mission will continue to stay closed until Phase 2 is mandated by the Governor. Thank you for your patience during this time as we work to support community health and continue our weekly series.

On Monday, May 18, Johnson County will join the rest of the state in adhering to Phase 1.5 of the Governor's Plan to Reopen Kansas.

Johnson County will continue to follow the Governor's reopening plan as the phases roll out.

View the attached graphic or go to https://www.jocogov.org/reopening-johnson-county for an updated look at what businesses/activities are allowed to reopen for each phase.

View FAQs about the Governor's plan athttps://covid.ks.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/Reopening-FAQ_5.14.2020.pdf

Throwback Thursday! It's already time for another historic image. This image is from 1942 and shows one of the "new" exh...
05/14/2020

Throwback Thursday! It's already time for another historic image. This image is from 1942 and shows one of the "new" exhibit rooms after the reconstruction of the North building. The "dormitory for Indian Girls" was on the second floor of the North building.

Mission Monday!  The Mission is a wonderful community hub were volunteers and groups all work together to make it an ama...
05/11/2020

Mission Monday! The Mission is a wonderful community hub were volunteers and groups all work together to make it an amazing community asset. One of our fantastic partnerships is with the Johnson County Master Gardeners who work incredibly hard to make our grounds absolutely beautiful. There are 5 gardens on site: vegetable/harvest, butterfly waystation, native plant, herb and a teaching Jr. Master (veg) garden for the students at St. Agnes. We miss our team on site and hope to get back to a "new normal" this summer. https://www.johnson.k-state.edu/lawn-garden/demonstration-gardens/shawnee-indian-mission-garden.html
#jocomastergardeners #kstateextension #volutneers

Social Saturday! Being that tomorrow is Mother's Day, a special event we started in 2018 had many mothers and daughters ...
05/09/2020

Social Saturday! Being that tomorrow is Mother's Day, a special event we started in 2018 had many mothers and daughters join us for a fun little historic tea. This special event is a partnership with #JCYM who help bring amazing energy to the Mission. It's now an annual event each November and we dress up, snack on amazing homemade goodies (made by JCYM members!) and drink yummy tea or hot chocolate.

Address

3403 W 53rd St
Fairway, KS
66205-2654

Opening Hours

Wednesday 10:00 - 17:00
Thursday 10:00 - 17:00
Friday 10:00 - 17:00
Saturday 10:00 - 17:00

Telephone

(913) 262-0867

Alerts

Be the first to know and let us send you an email when Shawnee Indian Mission State Historic Site posts news and promotions. Your email address will not be used for any other purpose, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

Contact The Museum

Send a message to Shawnee Indian Mission State Historic Site:

Videos

Nearby museums

Comments

Is the Fall Festival happening this year?
My Mom and Aunt grew up at the Indian Mission. This is a picture of their first Easter (late 1930’s?) with the rock garden behind. If I remember correctly, it was where the garden is today.
Had a great time with 4th graders on their field trip today thanks to Shawnee Indian Mission State Historic Site
Another photo...
And another original photo...
Sorry to split all these up into separate posts but it’s the only way!
And another photo by yours truly...
Here’s another photo I took and edited from the mission...
KD here, founder and lead investigator of Supernatural Ink Paranormal Research. I just wanted to post some of the photos that that I took during our last public paranormal investigation there at the mission. A big thanks to Jennifer, Brice, and Vicki with the City of Fairway Parks and Rec. department for all your help! Here’s one of many more photos to come...
So beautiful and did I mention the fragrance of these beautiful trees. A great way to start the season. ❤️
https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B3_9UtmFx8iLakY0MUFONGIzUHM/view?usp=drivesdk In case you didint know my story click the link Above. I talk a little in depth here about my music and what ive been drawing inspiration from this last year. This is the last day that you can vote for me to give me and my band "AJ Young & The Outfit" a chance to win a major label recording contract with big machine records for the #next2rock competition put on by 105.1 and @Paul Chandler. #NeXT2rock Here's how it works. Click the link below and Register ▶. Scroll until you see my picture. ▶ Then give a rating, 5 is the highest. 🙏🙏▶ Click this link to vote 🔽🔽🔽 http://bit.ly/2fZarWC 59f341cd42d23