Kunkel Building

Kunkel BuliingThe Kunkel building was built by a local contractor from plans drawn with the help of the State Historical Society.  Limestone from an old house in the country was used to match the house and the library.  It was completed in 1971 and opened with special ceremonies on June 6 of that year. 

There are 21 wall cases covering the north, east, and half of the south walls.  These cases tell the history of the area, beginning with the geology strata and an exhibit of typical limestone fossils:  Then through the various phases of Native American cultures, to the coming of Lewis and Clark, the advent of the first settlers, the coming of the railroad, pioneer life and culture, and some of the Cass County greats, like Bess Streeter Aldrich, Sophus Wither, Governor Sheldon and others.  The remaining two cases take one back to the very beginning of limestone quarrying and agriculture.  The history is told by means of maps, photos and artifacts.  Many of the artifacts are compiled over the years by DR. L. N. Kunkel, noted archaeologist.

The remaining walls and in the body of the museum are a number of displays which may display casesbe changed from year to year.   There is a collection of medical instruments of the 18th and 19th century and a display of Native American artifacts from the southwest. One of the cases recognizes Dr. Kunkel who was not only a knowledgeable archaeologist, but a medical doctor and a fine violin maker as well.  A noted display involves documents from the 'Last Man Club', a group of World War One veterans who met once each year until the last man had died.  Other cases include uniforms of various eras of our military, tools and home goods.

Indian Head medallionThe Indianhead medallion on the front of the building was made for the museum in honor of Dr. Kunkel and wife Dorothy by Josephine Mead, a Chicago artist and friend of the family.   It is a valuable original. 

Throughout the whole building, great care has been taken that the objects displayed tell a story.  In the fall of 1971, the museum was rated No. 1 for small town museums in the state.  It was also used as the basis of a seminar for small museums by the State Historical Society. 

To View other images from the Kunkel Building check out the gallery.