Current Exhibits

The Museum's galleries and exhibits are a chronicle of who we are and where we've been, challenging newcomers and long-time residents to consider how they will leave their mark.

In the Trenches with Company M

Special Exhibit: November 11, 2017 to August 11, 2018

Long drawn out battles, trenches and ‘no man’s land’ are hallmarks of World War I, also known as The Great War. It was the first military conflict fought on a global scale, a “war to end all wars.” The United States refrained from joining the war, but was eventually joined in 1917. 

Over 80,000 Kansans joined the war effort. Join us as we follow the heroic men of Salina’s Company M as they train and fight in the war. From recruitment to deployment, learn about our local Company M’s involvement and how citizens rallied around and welcomed them home at the war’s end.

In honor of the sacrifice so many made in WWI, the Smoky Hill Museum presents In the Trenches with Company M opening November 11, 2017. Within this exhibit, visitors will not only gain insight about the causes and impacts of WWI, but also the Salina men that comprised the National Guard Company M. As the story unfolds, guests will track the movements of Company M; where did they train, how did they fit the structure of the military and what was their impact on the war? As visitors discover the answer to these queries, other larger questions are found; what was the lasting impact of the War, how did WWI ultimately lead to WWII, and what does the Spanish flu have to do with any of this?

Take time to explore this fascinating topic and, as always, get actively involved in history as you explore the many interactive elements created especially for this exhibit. In the Trenches with Company M will be on exhibit in the center gallery November 11 – August 2018.


Special Thanks to Exhibit Sponsors:

With the emphasis on "curiosity," this inviting and playful space offers a dynamic, sensory environment. Visitors will throw themselves into new surroundings, exploring through sight, feel and imagination. This new interactive children's area features a tot section alongside four primary themed spaces for youth ages three to 14: The World of Radio, Town Building, The Dirty '30s and Kansas Weather.

The Curiosity Shop’s educational activities encourage cognitive, social and emotional development of children and students while serving as a safe, stimulating place of enrichment. Research shows that children who engage in meaningful play outside of the classroom perform better in school and have more success throughout life. 

Crossroads of the Heartland

The Smoky Hills region lies at the crossroads of the heartland where abundant grasslands have long attracted grazing animals and migrating birds. In turn, for more than 12,000 years these animals and fertile lands have attracted humans to the area. In 1858, five men settled in this lush valley near a bend of the Smoky Hill River, as many humans had done before.

This is the Museum's primary exhibit. It will take you through the crossroads of the heartland where you will experience the people, places, and events that have left an indelible mark on the fabric of the Smoky Hills region, creating a crossroads of business, transportation, and social exchange in the heartland of America.

The Dugout is a full scale replica of Salina's first home. In 1858 William Phillips built his dugout along the banks of the Smoky Hill River.

Experience some of what life was like on the 1858 frontier. Imagine life in a one room sod dugout. Visit the Learning Tree to read books, complete the Seasons of the Smoky Hills Activity Pamphlet and test your knowledge of prairie animals.