The museum creates a sense of exciting evolution from the 1800's when Independence was called Hay Town to the present, now a busy Southeast Kansas city of more than 10,000 people.The museum's permanent exhibits in 22 rooms tell stories of the early settler' lifestyle; the history of the oil industry; some of the Indian Culture collection and various historical artifacts.Sculptures, antique china, crystal and other rare collections are on display in the foyer and throughout the museum.Also, on display...1850's Barber Shop, large Military display, Fishing Tackle collection, 1869 furnished Log Cabin, 1884 School Classroom, Old General Store, Doctor's Office, Bedroom, Dining Room, Parlor, Kitchen, Toy Room, Blacksmith Shop, Antique Tools, Toy Collection, Shoe Store, Fire Department and more.Various activities are sponsored and held each year at the museum such as quilt fairs, arts and craft fairs, Verdigris Valley Art Exhibit and numerous museum social events.A collection of playwright, William Inge, memorabilia, activities and awards enhance the annual Inge Festival sponsored by the Independence Community College.The Independence Historical Museum was owned and operated by the Ladies Library Association organized in 1882.Upon completion of the Carnegie Library in 1907, the Association turned the 3,500 volumes it had acquired over to the city. Its first objective completed; the group devoted its effort to securing an art collection for its people. A new charter was created in 1926 with the name Ladies Library and Art Association.In 1963, the Association purchased the Old Post Office/Federal Building at 8th and Myrtle Streets as a cultural center for the community, a repository for the art collection and as a museum to preserve the history of the area. The museum building was placed on the State and National Register for Historic Sites in 1988.In January 2000, the Independence Museum joined the Montgomery County Historical Society. The two collections were then integrated . The name was changed to The Independence Historical Museum, founded by the Ladies Library and Art Association and the home of Montgomery County Historical Society.
The Mission of The Independence Historical Museum is to preserve the history and enrich the culture of the community, to promote the arts, develop activities that will enhance education and provide enjoyment to the community and its visitors.