Fort Riley, Kansas




By Suet Lee-Growney | 1ST INF. DIV. POST | January 29, 2018

     Museums do not always have to be hoity-toity. Fort Riley is in an area where there are many sorts of museums to appease various interests from cars and history to arts and entertainment.

     For art aficionados and those interested in learning about the history of Kansas through art, Marianna Kistler Beach Museum of Art at Kansas State University in Manhattan has nearly 7,000 exhibits on display. The museum, accredited by the American Alliance of Museums in April 2003, focuses on art of the region and offers public educational programs for audiences of all ages.

     This art museum has the most space dedicated to the widest variety of Kansas art in the state and can be great for those wanting to learn about Kansas history through the eyes of local artists. Through April 1, they are showing the “Fronteras/Frontiers” exhibit by artists Artemio Rodríguez and Fidencio Fifield-Perez. This collection explores topics of migration, labor and the politicization of borders.

     Found at the corner of 14th Street and Anderson Avenue, admission and parking are free. It is open on Tuesday and Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Thursday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. The museum is closed Sundays, Mondays and holidays. For more information, visit or call 785-532-7718.

     For history buffs, the Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library, Museum and Boyhood Home in Abilene should be on the bucket list of must-see places of historical importance. This was where Eisenhower spent most of his childhood and is his final resting place. Considered one of the 8 Wonders of Kansas by, there are five galleries at the museum to tell the tale of the five-star general who became the 34th president of the United States.

    This museum at 200 S.E. Fourth St. contains one of the 13 presidential libraries under the patronage of National Archives and Records Administration, a government agency tasked to preserve and document historical records and create awareness of these documents.

     Admission is free for active-duty military and kids under 5 years old; $3 for children ages 6 to 15; $12 for adults; and $9 for visitors above the age of 62, retired or disabled veterans and students.

     Museum hours are 9 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. every day from August to May and 8 a.m. to 5:45 p.m. from Memorial Day to mid-August. They are closed Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day. For more information, visit or call 785-263-6700.

     For the entertainment enthusiasts, the Oz Museum in Wamego will be a crowd pleaser. This museum houses more than 2,000 Wizard of Oz artifacts spanning from first edition L. Frank Baum books and a swatch from Judy Garland’s original Dorothy costume, to rare Oz artifacts such as original 1939 movie production notes to the memorabilia from Oz spin-offs in recent years.

     The emerald-colored museum is at 511 Lincoln Ave. Entry to the museum is $9 for ages 13 and up and $7 for children ages 3 to 12. Military discount is $7 for ages 13 and up and $5 for children ages 3 to 12. Students with current college ID enter for $7. Winter hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. Summer hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday to Saturday and noon to 6 p.m. Sunday. The museum is closed Easter Sunday, Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day. For more information, visit or call 1-866-458-TOTO (8686).

      For NASCAR fans, the Kansas Auto Racing Museum in Chapman is a great place to learn about the rich history of the sport. This museum is the home of the first ever NASCAR trophy, a prized memorabilia won in 1949 by Jim Roper from Halstead, Kansas, at the Charlotte Motor Speedway in North Carolina. Also on display are rare photos and auto racing footage, as well as other NASCAR and NHRA trophies.

      Apart from the rare footage and collection of trophies this museum houses, there is also a collection of auto vehicles and stock cars that have been retired at the garage. Found at 1205 Manor Drive, the museum is open Monday to Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday by appointment. For more information, visit or call 785- 922-6642.

     For thrill-seekers, the Evel Knievel Museum in Topeka will be a hit. This two-story, 13,000-square-foot building is filled with Evel Knievel memorabilia. On display is a large collection of physics defying bikes, all the battered helmets that saved the American icon’s life many times and the iconic 1947 Mack truck and trailer “Big Red.” There is also a 4D virtual reality jump where visitors can sit on a motorcycle bike in front of a screen and soar over 16 cars like the daredevil himself.

      It costs $15 for adults; $12 for seniors, veterans and active-duty military and $7 for students ages 8 to 16. Add-on experiences can be purchased for $5 per person for The Jump and $5 per person for a guided tour with a minimum of four people. Group rates, classroom tours, special events, meetings and parties can be arranged. The museum is open Tuesday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. They are closed Sunday and Monday. For more information, visit or call 785-215-6205.


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