Fort Wallace Museum

 US Highway 40
Wallace, Kansas 67761
(785) 891-3564

$5 donation suggested
Open seven days a week

Fort Wallace Museum Map

Fort Wallace Museum - Wallace, Kansas
Fort Wallace Museum complex
Fort Wallace Museum - Wallace, Kansas

The Fort Wallace Museum in Wallace, Kansas is pretty impressive for the size and quality of the museum in a town of only 56 people. There are four historic buildings and a fairly modern museum building that continues to grow.

But don't expect to find a fort. The Fort Wallace which the museum is named for was located 2 mile to the northeast and there are no visible remains at that site. The fort was active from 1865 - 1882.

The museum has many of the items which are typical in a community historical museum with clothing, artifacts and displays from the history of the community. A large portion of the exhibit space in the main building is occupied by the Floris and Viola Weiser Collection which is devoted to the 7th, 5th and 10th Cavalries.

Most western Kansas museums have at least a few fossils from the days when Kansas was the home to dinosaurs and other animals, but while touring this museum, I discovered a much larger display of local fossils than usual. I asked the volunteers a couple of questions about them and was delighted to learn that one of the volunteers present was Pete Bussen, a paleontologist & retired rancher who collected many of the fossils on display. He started telling me the stories behind them. I was particularly fascinated with the casting of an Ichthyornis dispar, a toothed seabird from the Late Cretaceous period. The skeleton had been collected by Mr. Bussen and he said that it was the most compete specimen of the species that has ever been found.

The museum gift shop even offers fossils for sale. There were come Cretaceous fish skeletons which were fairly large and reasonably priced. I was tempted to get one, but they weren't that handsome and I don't know what I would do with them. I did purchase a single vertebrae from a Platycarpus (a mosasaur or marine lizard) for just $4 (2011 pricing). 

Call to confirm open days and hours before traveling to the Fort Wallace Museum. Don't forget that this portion of far western Kansas is on Mountain Time.

Fort Wallace Museum


 

7th, 5th and 10th Cavalry exhibition at the Fort Wallace Museum
The Floris and Viola Weiser Collection 

Pete Bussen
The late Pete Bussen with some of the fossils which he had collected.


Cast of an Ichthyornis dispar which was collected by Pete Bussen

antique truck and fire truck
The Sunderland-Poe building houses some of the largest of the museum exhibits.

Weskan Depot and Pond Creek Stage Station
Other buildings: Sunderland-Poe building at left, Weskan Depot, Pond Creek Stage Station

The Fort Wallace Museum continues to grow. When we revisited the museum in the fall of 2016, we found a large addition where new exhibits are being set up. The most impressive of those is "Thof's Dragon." The new exhibit displays a cast replica of a 40' plesiosaur which was excavated in 1867 by a detail from Fort Wallace, led by a young surgeon named Dr. Theophilus h. Turner. A documentary about Thof's Dragon is in production.


Thof's Dragon - a Elasmosaurus platyurus, famous in part because for many years scientists believed the neck was the tail.

Fort Wallace Museum storefronts
Replica stores and shops under construction in 2016

Fort Wallace Museum Map - Wallace, Kansas
Fort Wallace Museum Map

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