Ellis County Historical Society Museum
 100 W 7th Street
Hays, Kansas 67601
(785) 628-2624

Tuesday - Saturday:  9AM-6PM
Sunday:  1-6PM
(Winter Hours Tuesday - Saturday:  11AM-5PM)

13 & older: $6   6-12: $2
 

Ellis County Museum Map

Ellis County Historical Society Museum - Hays, Kansas
Ellis County Historical Society Museum
Ellis County Historical Society Museum and Stone Church - Hays, Kansas

The Ellis County Historical Society Museum in Hays, Kansas is very nicely done. The displays are attractive and professional looking, with descriptions which tell about the items on exhibit, their context and how they relate to other items.

I was blown away by the work of Ellis County's renaissance man, Justis Bissing Jr., who was a Volga German immigrant who came to Hays in the latter half of the 19th Century. He was primarily an architect and entrepreneur, but he was also an fabulous cabinet maker. The piece which impressed me the most was a 6' tall "Apostle" clock with incredible detail. Using only a foot powered jigsaw, he spent years working on the clock which is constructed from seven woods and has four tubular chimes, two brass clock works, and eleven electric lamps that light up when the clock chimed. I wish it was running! 

Several historic buildings have been moved to the museum grounds. They include the Stone Church, the Younker Harness Shop. a replica Volga German Haus, and the Hays Fire Department Museum (which was not open during our visit). The historical society also provides walking tour brochures which allow visitors to explore the streets of historic downtown Hays on their own.

Ellis County Historical Society Museum exhibits
Main gallery of the Ellis County Historical Society Museum

Justis Bissing Jr. wooden clock and desk
Justis Bissing Jr. hand carved clock and secretary desk

WHo killed the buffalo?
Exhibit on the elimination of the American Bison

Handmade wooden coffins
Handmade coffins built as a side trade by a Great Plains farmer

Ellis County Stone Church
Stone Church was the home of First Presbyterian Church in Hays and is the oldest existing church building in Ellis County.
The congregation grew over the yeas and from 1911-13 the tower and an east wing were added using stone from an
Episcopal Church which was torn down in nearby Victoria. In 1926, a much larger formal classical red brick building was
added to the east end of the old church. Both buildings were used until 1975 when an entirely different church was built.
The 1879 and 1926 churches are now the home of the Ellis County Historical Society Museum

Stone Church - Hays, Kansas
 Interior of the Stone Church

Stone Volga German Haus - Hays, Kansas
Replica Volga German Haus

Ellis County Historical Society Museum gift shop
Museum gift shop

Ellis County Historical Society Museum Map - Hays, Kansas
Ellis County Historical Society Museum Map

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