#83 – Shawnee Indian Mission Museum
3403 W 53rd St, Fairway, KS 66205
Cost: $5 – Adults, $1 – Kids.
Good for: Learning the history of Kansas City.
Tip: Visit during special events, like the Fall Festival, to see living history demonstrations.
The Shawnee Indian Mission Museum is a local museum that preserves the history of the growth of the United States, its impact on the Native Americans and the area’s own Indian Mission. Kansas City. The 12-acre complex has multiple 19th-century buildings with Native American exhibits, and living history events throughout the year.
The History of the Shawnee Indian Mission
Shawnee Indians, along with many other eastern tribes, were moved to present-day Kansas in the 1820s and 1830s. In 1830, Chief Fish, leader of the Missouri Shawnees, requested a missionary. Reverend Thomas Johnson, a Methodist minister, was appointed as the missionary to the Shawnees. Later, as Kansas became a state, the county was named after Reverend Johnson.
Once the mission was built, Native American children of many tribes were sent to learn academics, manual arts, agriculture, Christianity and the cultural norms of white American. In addition to schooling, the boys worked in the shop or on the farm and the girls helped with the sewing, washing and cooking.
At the height of its activity, the mission had more than 2,000 acres with 16 buildings and an enrollment of nearly 200 Indian boys and girls.
With the passing of the Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854, the Shawnee Indians were forced to Indian Territory in Oklahoma. The manual training portion of the school ceased in 1854, with the entire mission shutting down in 1862. When the mission closed, it became a camp for Union soldiers.
About the Shawnee Indian Mission Museum
The Shawnee Indian Mission Museum is concentrated in one of the original brick buildings of the mission. Throughout the two floors are artifacts from the mission, including tools, furniture, clothing and more. There is plenty of information to read about the mission, the Indian removal and major events of the time period.
Visitors are able to wander the 12-acre complex in the middle of Fairway. There is a garden, covered wagon and two other original, brick buildings. Unfortunately, the other buildings aren’t open to the public.
Like the Johnson County Museum, the Shawnee Indian Mission Museum did not fail to address the negative points of the mission’s history. Reverend Johnson was a slaveholder and accused of becoming rich from Native American money. The mission also stripped the Native Americans of their culture and they were eventually removed from Kansas.
The Shawnee Indian Mission is a unique facet of Kansas City history. With a central location and cheap admission price, it’s a great learning opportunity for all. xx, Libbie.