In 1939, after years of effort and community organizing working to establish a Historical Museum, the Museum opened in The Forum, a building preceding Century II convention hall. Prior to that time, the Museum had been installed in several temporary settings, including train stations and the Sedgwick County Court House. Through the years the Museum has established itself as an indispensable component of the area’s educational and cultural offerings. The Museum is open to the public six days a week and serves to educate through the preservation and interpretation of our local history. The Wichita-Sedgwick County Historical Museum is accredited by the American Alliance of Museums, placing it in the upper 5% of the Nation’s museums. Today the Museum occupies the entire original 1890 Wichita City Hall Building.
Exhibits within the Museum are designed to be self-directed, encyclopedic in scope, focusing on our local history beginning with the post-civil war settlement of the area. The Museum’s staff provides tours at no charge to school children and other groups. In addition to tours many programs and other resources are provided to the community at large. The Museum provides out-reach through a range of media available through the world-wide-web and through outreach programs administered by the Museum's professional staff and volunteers.
The Museum is operated as a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization, utilizing a paid professional staff of three full-time and a few part-time employees. Approximately one-hundred active volunteers are also engaged in activities ranging from trusteeship to docent work to event and shop volunteers. The Museum is governed by twenty-five volunteer Trustees who meet monthly with the Museum’s Director. The museum is supported in part privately through the paid membership and fundraising activities, and publicly through funding by the City of Wichita and Sedgwick County Kansas.