Culture & History
Explore local and regional history, enjoy art through the ages, and stay current with economic and political developments. A few local venues include the Spencer Museum of Art, Watkins Museum of History, the Natural History Museum, and the Freedom’s Frontier National Heritage Area.
Take Pride in the Past, Live for the Future
Lawrence has a legacy of taking pride in its past and living for the future, starting with its founders in 1854. Twice the new city was nearly destroyed in its first decade by pro-slavery forces, yet the survivors persevered for future generations. Today their stories and more are recounted at the Watkins Museum of History, the Freedom’s Frontier National Heritage Area headquarters offices and the Haskell Indian Nations University Cultural Center and Museum.
Housed in the 1888 Watkins Land Mortgage and National Bank Building, the Watkins Museum of History explores Douglas County’s heritage and its legacy for today’s residents. The Freedom’s Frontier National Heritage Area exhibits in the 1904 Carnegie Building and enriches our understanding of the area’s role in the Civil War and the struggles for freedom along the Kansas Missouri border. The Haskell Cultural Center and Museum celebrates the resilience of Native American cultures and an institution, which survived a past dedicated to eradicating tribal culture. KU’s Natural History Museum takes visitors way back in time with really old fossils and events to explore biodiversity.
KU’s Robert J. Dole Institute of Politics offers a range of public programs honoring public service and promoting civil discourse. At 2003 dedication of the institute, Sen. Dole spoke of a national sense of past and future. His advice to young people applies to all ages: “In America we take pride in the past, but we live for the future. To the young people who will come here for inspiration as well as information, may you never stop reaching for the stars – whatever the difficulties.”