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Museums offer glimpse of history

Sternberg Museum of Natural History

In addition to permanent exhibits at Fort Hays State University's Sternberg Museum of Natural History on Sternberg Drive in Hays, there also are several traveling exhibits on display each year.

On display is "Rattlerssss: From Fear to Fascination" that features a collection of 22 species of rattlesnakes in the United States.

The newest is "Mammal Invasion: After the Dinosaurs," an animatronic exhibit that "brings ancient beasts to life." The exhibit ends Sept. 8.

Permanent exhibits at the museum include the world-famous "Fish Within A Fish" and a three-dimensional fossil preparation of a plesiosaur, a marine reptile.

Animatronic growling dinosaurs are featured along the late Cretaceous period walk. There are plenty of fossils and other natural history items to view.

Ongoing exhibits include "John Cody: Audubon of Moths," which shows Cody's fascination with giant silk moths through painting. Cody premieres new watercolors he creates in the ever-changing exhibit.

There is also the Discovery Room at Sternberg, a place for children of all ages to experience live animals and take part in hands-on projects, and an education floor with classrooms for learning activities.

Hours for the museum, as well as for the Discovery Room and a gift store on the main level, are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and 1 to 6 p.m. Sundays. For details, call (785) 628-4286 or visit sternberg.fhsu.edu.

Admission prices are $8 for adults 13 through 59, $6 for seniors 60 and older, and $5 for youth 4 through 12. FHSU students with university identification cards are admitted for $4.

Memberships -- single, family and other groups -- are available, as well as group tour reservations at (785) 628-5298.

More information about the museum can be obtained by calling (785) 628-4286 or toll free at (877) 332-1165. The museum's website is sternberg.fhsu.edu.

Ellis County Historical Society

History from the Wild West through World War II can be viewed at Ellis County Historical Society Museum, 100 W. Seventh in Hays.

The saloon is a great place to learn to play cowboy card games. The learning center for children has a photo gallery, try-on clothes, old-time toys, farm animals, diorama and more. The Stone Chapel, built in 1879, is the site of several temporary exhibits. The Harness Shop, an original store from the early 1900s located on the grounds, displays saddles and other related items, telling the story of Ellis County ranchers.

The replica Volga-German Haus, also located on the museum grounds, tells the story of Ellis County's largest immigrant group, the Volga-Germans, who settled in Ellis County after temporarily relocating to Russia for more than 100 years.

Admission is $6 for adults, $2 for children ages 6 to 12. Historical society members and children younger than 5 are free. There is a discount for Ellis County residents.

Hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and 1 to 6 p.m. Sunday. For details, call (785) 628-2624 or go to www.elliscountyhistoricalmuseum.org.

The director is Donald Westfall.

Chrysler Boyhood Home and Museum

Walter P. Chrysler Boyhood Home and Museum, 102 W. 10th in Ellis, was placed on the National Registry of Historical Buildings in 1952.

A 1924 Chrysler owned by Chrysler's grandson Frank Rhodes is on exhibit, along with the shotgun he used for duck hunting, jewelry, books, photographs and a video of Chrysler's life.

From Labor Day weekend until Memorial Day weekend, hours are 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, and 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday. Summer hours are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday.

More information is available by calling (785) 726-3636 or by going to www.chryslerboyhoodhome.com. The director is Dena Patee.

Ellis Railroad Museum and Doll Display

At the Ellis Railroad Museum, 911 Washington in Ellis, train lovers will enjoy the BKE miniature train ride on a one-third scale General Motors Aero Streamliner around a 2.5-mile track outside the building. Train runs, weather permitting.

Visitors can view railroad artifacts and more than 5,000 square feet of working model train layout.

There is an Ellis history room, Union Pacific caboose, model train display, depot room and depot building.

A doll museum is in the upper level, featuring more than 1,600 baby, clown, bride, Barbie and international dolls.

Museum hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. Admission is $2 for anyone 12 and older and $1 for 5 to 12 years old.

For more information, call (785) 726-4493 or email ellisrrm@triohomecenter.com. The website is www.ellis.ks.us/rrmuseum.html.

Bukovina Society of the Americas

Bukovina Society, 718 Washington in Ellis, is located in the former First Congregational Church with a library and a collection of artifacts from Bukovina immigrants. The collection includes coins, tools, stamps and hand-painted or beaded eggs.

In 1886, Bukovina-German families began to settle in Ellis. Their descendants continue to make up a large percentage of the town's population. Through the decades, younger generations have somewhat lost their understanding of their homeland and ancestors' experience.

The Bukovina Society of the Americas was formed in 1988 to promote the recognition of the immigrants from Bukovina and encourage historical research of their heritage.

Tour information is available from Martha McClelland, who can be reached at info@bukovinasociety.org.

The website is www.bukovinasociety.org.