Cowtown’s new Orientation Building to open May 18
A ribbon cutting is scheduled for 10 a.m. on Saturday, May 18 at Old Cowtown Museum to celebrate the opening of its new Orientation Building. Located near the entrance to the Museum by the Presbyterian Church, the Orientation Building will give visitors a comprehensive overview of Cowtown’s history from its founding in 1952 to date. Wichita Mayor Carl Brewer, Historic Wichita Cowtown Inc. President Robert Garrett and Old Cowtown Museum Director David Flask are scheduled to speak. The $30,000 project was paid for by Historic Wichita Cowtown Inc., a private board that works in partnership with the City to enhance and further the Museum and its activities.
“We are proud to unveil this valuable addition to Cowtown that helps preserve Wichita’s history,” Garrett said. “The board, working with City staff, identified the need. We’re so pleased with the outcome.”
The Orientation Building includes interactive videos, photographs, histories about each of the 54 buildings on site and a scale model of the Cowtown grounds. The exhibits were created by Cowtown staff.
“Through high-quality exhibits, the Orientation Building immerses visitors in the story of Cowtown and prepares them for what they will see as they tour the grounds,” Flask said. “It will enhance visitors’ overall experience at Cowtown.” The Orientation Building renovation project took five months to complete. The building was originally constructed in the 1960s to house fire station artifacts – items that were donated to the Kansas Firefighters Museum when it opened in Wichita in 1993. For the past several years, the building has been used primarily for storage and closed to the public.
Old Cowtown Museum is one of the oldest living-history museums in the Midwest. Its unique programming chronicles Wichita’s transformation from a frontier settlement to a cattle town to a burgeoning agricultural and manufacturing area. The Museum has the distinction of being accredited by the American Alliance of Museums. This is the highest national recognition achievable by a museum. Accreditation recognizes high standards in individual museums and ensures they continue to uphold public trust. Only 4 percent of the nation’s estimated 17,500 museums are accredited.