One of the biggest attractions in this Midwest US Hub city is called The Museum of World Treasures. Does it live up to that name? Locals think so but I was less convinced. I will admit that my reaction to this place changed dramatically and moved toward general acceptance as I looked around.
Dr. Jon Kardatzke is the man responsible for this museum. He and his traveling wife Lorna began as serious collectors of Roman coins. We talked to their daughter as we exited the Museum of World Treasures, and she tried to get Ruth and me to accept a balloon because it was a visitor appreciation day. There are lots of those. A 1998 basement flood got the Kardatzkes to consider a museum to house their growing collection, and this location in downtown Wichita opened in 2003. According to Wikipedia this Museum of World Treasures is not accredited by the American Alliance of Museums, but The Smithsonian is listed as a partner. This museum is dedicated to bringing history alive for kids, and they were there in great numbers that day. I could not tell if they were benefiting from the displays or not. It is clearly a diverse collection of stuff, and 30 private collectors have contributed to what you see. There are fun facts scattered through certain areas that do entertain if you take the time to stop and read them.
So, what are the real treasures in this museum? There are some real dinosaur bones. The star of this museum is a mostly intact Tyrannosaurus Rex named Ivan. You can see female Egyptian mummies, the signatures of all US Presidents, a section of the Berlin Wall, a real shrunken head, a number of Civil War uniforms, etc. One sign promised that a Joe Biden signature was coming. Ivan was found in 2007 and stands near the entrance with some other reassembled animals. I saw marine fossils, documents from the Middle Ages, weapons from all of the American wars, some first editions. The people looking around at these so-called treasures except for the man who disdained the Old West Exhibit on the 3rd floor not too far from Ivan’s Playhouse were often clearly enraptured and loving the experience of being here.
This facility has apparently charmed travel services such as Tripadvisor. The many Greek vessels on display seemed genuine, but I was the only visitor looking at them. Going in, I asked the young female ticket taker what her favorite area was. She thought it over and decided that the Viet Nam War section was the most winning. I looked at it first and saw induction papers and recruitment posters, and I read many draft facts. In other words, it was routine and somewhat predictable for someone my age. I enjoyed seeing a Pontius Pilate coin and the Greek and Roman artifacts, but the only person that I spoke to who was similarly engaged was an older female volunteer who was bent on me enjoying my experience here. I was, kind of, but found most of what I saw pedestrian at best compared to other history museums.