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.
Our sponsors help make exciting exhibits ...
Learn how Salina's unique place in the heartland ...
Learn how Salina's unique place in the heartland of America has helped it become a crossroad of business, transportation and social exchange.
Journey through the Crossroads of the Heartland and experience the people ...
Crossing the Crossroads
Journey through the Crossroads of the Heartland and experience the people, places and events that have left an indelible mark on the Smoky Hills region.
Visitors explore one of many interactives ...
Visitors explore one of many interactives found in the museum. Here children examine various parts of a buffalo.
“Go West” with early settlers ...
Settling the Crossroads
“Go West” with early settlers whose held the notion that God intended them to spread religion, politics, and business across the continent – like the immigrants with anti-slavery beliefs who established the town of Salina in 1858, three years before Kansas became a free state in 1861.
Once known as the Great American desert ...
Breaking the Sod
Once known as the Great American desert, learn how the Heartland was transformed into the rich agricultural region it is today.
A favorable location at the crossroads ...
Growing a Community
A favorable location at the crossroads was important in creating the town of Salina. As the railroad brought new settlers westward, towns in Saline County experienced booming growth. Situated at the crossroads, Salina experienced this growth and more.
While city government developed an infrastructure ...
We Built This City
While city government developed an infrastructure, new businesses arrived in the areas of transportation, personal and professional services, the medical community, manufacturing, and retail. As the town continued to grow, it experienced the challenges, solutions, and growing pains of many other mid-sized cities throughout the Midwest.
From its early beginnings ...
A Thriving Crossroads
From its early beginnings, Salina’s central geographic position attracted both buyers and sellers to town with enticing new merchandise.
Salina was settled by progressive thinkers ...
The Good Life
Salina was settled by progressive thinkers who planned to enjoy some of the finer things in life from the very beginning.
Religion was never far from the minds ...
Beliefs Across the Heartland
Religion was never far from the minds of Salina’s founders as was evident in the town’s first motto: “Religion first, Education second, Business third.”
At the crossroads, outstanding educators ...
Learning at the Crossroads
At the crossroads, outstanding educators have prepared generations of students whose achievements are known locally, regionally, nationally, and internationally.
Wars have left a permanent mark on ...
A Military Presence
Wars have left a permanent mark on the physical and social fabric of the crossroads. Salina was founded in part to help establish Kansas as a free state before the Civil War. Later, the city’s central location made it attractive as a site for several military bases.
You’ll see history come to life ...
Fun for the Whole Family
You’ll see history come to life with plenty of hands-on experiences of how things were and still are.