News Releases

5/28/2019 - New Displays at the Smoky Hill Museum

What do a nightgown, Cigar Store Indian, dental x-ray machine, and a soapbox derby car all have in common? They are just a few of the diverse items on display now at the Smoky Hill Museum. Three areas in the main exhibit gallery have recently been changed out with different artifacts. These areas include the Building a Community platform, A Thriving Crossroads retail area, and The Good Life area. Wall murals featuring historic photographs are also highlights in all three areas.

The reason for changing out artifacts is three-fold. One, it allows the Museum to display more of the 30,000 plus artifacts they have in collections. Two, it gives visitors more of a reason to come back to the Museum and see what is new. Finally, since light can be damaging to the items, it allows artifacts to go back to storage for proper preservation.

Changing out the main gallery exhibits is an ongoing process with a case or area changing about every other month or so. "In about an 18-month period, museum staff will have changed out all the main gallery cases and platforms," says Museum Director Susan Hawksworth. "These artifacts help the Museum tell the ever expanding story of Salina."

All artifacts are from Salina's recent to distant history. Highlights include learning about a penny-farthing, a songbook from Panjo's Pizza on Ohio in the 1960's, a 1928 advertisement for Lee Union Alls, an eight-track player and tapes from the 1970's, a Fox-Watson Theatre poster, a Macintosh Classic Apple computer and even Spongebob Squarepants.

While the Museum has a large collection to draw from for these change outs, there are still many gaps. If you have something that you think the Museum may want to consider for preservation and inclusion to the permanent collection, contact Jennifer Toelle at (785) 823-8027 or

The Smoky Hill Museum is a nationally accredited history museum located at 211 W. Iron in downtown Salina, Kansas. This FREE museum is open Tuesday-Friday 12-6 and Saturday 10-5. Also, be sure to stop by the Museum Store for a wide variety of regional and Kansas products, local artwork and gifts for all ages.