Put on your party hats, because it’s a time of celebration in Wichita! Our city celebrates its birthday on July 21 of 2016, and a celebration at the Sedgwick County Historical Museum will commemorate the event!
How Old is Wichita?
Wichita was founded in 1870, making it 146 years old. Though Wichita's founding may seem like it was a long time ago, Eric Cale, museum director at the Wichita Sedgwick County Historical Museum says that it’s not quite as old as we think.
“You can on one hand think of this as a long time ago, six generations for example – the Great, Great, Great, Great Grandparents. It was also a span of time that saw tremendous change especially in this part of the world where the ancient world gave way to the modern world. On the other hand it was a short time ago; when we opened our exhibit examining the 1865 treaty of the Little Arkansas, decedents of the participants came to see it. At the Museum we frequently talk to people whose families helped shape the community in the early years,” Cale said.
Members of the Wichita community remember its history fondly, and the attendance of the family members of those who shaped the beginnings of our city at events like this keep generations worth of Wichita memories alive.
Wichita Birthday Party
This year’s Wichita Birthday Party will be held on July 23. The fifth birthday party that the museum has thrown for the city, Cale says he expects the same great turn out as the event has received in years past, drawing nearly 400 people to the museum.
“It’s a great time to reflect and think about where you’ve been and where you’re going – and who doesn’t like a celebration! It’s great to do it as a community since we’re all in it together,” Cale said of the celebration.
The Sedgwick County Historical Museum is an ideal location for the event, Cale says, not only because it preserves so many elements of Wichita’s history in its exhibits, but also because it is a piece of Wichita history itself. Built between 1890 and 1892, this building served as Wichita’s City Hall for 84 years!
The building features four floors filled with exhibits highlighting Wichita’s past, with a range of topics from an exhibit on the artist who designed the Wichita Flag to the 1916 Jones Six automobile built here. The museum is also home to a Victorian cottage, 1920’s drug store, and a new exhibit featuring objects recently added to the Museum’s collection!
“We hope visitors leave knowing a little more about themselves and their community – and hope they will come back from time to time to see what’s new,” Cale said.
The event runs from 1 p.m. until 4 p.m. on Saturday, July 23. In true birthday fashion, guests are encouraged to bring birthday cards! Those presenting a birthday card will receive free admission to the museum. Regular museum admission is $5 for adults and $2 for children.