Frequently Asked Questions
What does your historic site consist of?
Our site contains two historic buildings on what remains of the original John and Mary Jane Ritchie homestead. The brick and stone building was built by John Ritchie c.1856 and was the family home during the Kansas Territorial era and through the Civil War. The Hale Ritchie home was built by son Hale for himself and his wife Anna c.1887. The John Ritchie home is maintained as close to its original appearance as possible outside with the interior meant to appear as it did when the Ritchies first occupied the home. The Hale Ritchie home has been restored to the appearance of the original outside and houses our Education Center.
Where are your programs conducted?
Our Education Center is the usual starting point for our programs, allowing us to use our multi media facility. We consider our site to be a “working” site in that a portion of our programs, i.e., the “Underground Railroad Experience” utilizes the grounds and the John Ritchie home as active parts of the program.
How large a group can you accommodate?
We can have comfortably up to 50 people on site. However, larger groups sometimes can be accomodated.
Do you have programs for adult groups?
We do! We have programs centering on “Bleeding Kansas” and the Kansas Territorial era, and the Underground Railroad activities of John and Mary Jane Ritchie.
How much time should we allow for your program?
For students, we ask teachers to plan for 1 hour 15 minutes on site for a complete program. A shorter time on site forces us to delete elements of a program which we feel depreciates the experience for the students, and lessens the value of the program for the teacher.
For adult groups, we ask that they plan at least 1 hour on site, depending on the particular program that they’re interested in.
Do you charge for tours or groups?
Currently, we hope that you will give us $.50 for each student and $2 for an adult. However, our site is maintained by the Shawnee County Historical Society which is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization. All functions of the SCHS, maintenance of the site, and expenses of programs are supported by donations from members, financial partners, and visitors. Any donation from a tour group or school group is gratefully received and is devoted to continuing our education programming.
Is your site handicapped accessible?
Yes, both buildings are accessible by ramp.
Have questions not answered here? Want to make arrangements for your school or group? Click here to contact us! We’re happy to help!