A gift shop featuring creations from local artisans has opened in Osawatomie’s John Brown Museum, and site administrator Grady Atwater welcomes more local work.
“Tourists just eat this stuff up with a spoon,” Atwater said. “We’ve sold locally made things to people from all over the world.”
Dreamed up by the Osawatomie Historical Society, the shop is open during normal cabin hours, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and Sunday 1 to 5 p.m.
Framed needlepoint art of the Adair Cabin by Angie Hoskins makes a quaint keepsake, as does her “lady’s pinkeep,” a calico and historically correct place for needles and safety pins.
Hoskins also needlepoints small seed bags that Atwater said would have been used to keep seeds from one planting to the next.
Atwater’s wife, Cinda, and her mother, Barbara Zuel, offer knitted dish cloths, a nylon-laced kitchen scrubber and insulated hot and cold pads. There is an array of colorful, rag-quilted handbags hanging ready to entice museum shoppers, and cloth catch-alls catch the imagination for small-item storage options.
Cinda Atwater crafts handmade greeting cards that are embossed, or stamped, and cover a range of needs, from birthdays, to weddings, to welcoming a baby.
Local woodcrafter Charles Bartlett shows his skills with wooden toy tops and thimbles with John Brown Museum lettering and, like all of the gift-shop items, priced for just a few dollars.
Local authors also find a place on the museum gift shop’s shelves.
Young readers by Todd Mildfelt are available at the gift shop. Mildfelt’s books take children on an Underground Railroad trip to meet some of the most famous Kansas personalities, such as John Brown, James Montgomery and Rev. John E. Stewart, or tell them of a raid initiated by Jim Daniels that led to the liberation of 11 fugitive slaves.
Mildfelt’s “The Secret Danites, Kansas’ First Jayhawkers,” tells of this anti-slavery group’s mid-1850s fight for a free state.
Author Kevin Gray is also featured at the museum. His works include “Waking Up in the Studebaker,” and “On the Strand.”
Atwater said period books from scholars of the Bleeding Kansas era are also a staple of the gift shop.
“Proceeds go to fund the museum and its annual Osawatomie High School scholarship for a student interested in majoring in history,” Atwater said.
Once visitors have toured the museum and shopped at the gift shop, Atwater said their next question tends to be, “Where can we eat?”
He said he keeps a listing of local restaurants and their culinary creations to ensure those tourist dollars stay local.
“It’s a very fair list,” he said, “listing every restaurant in town, describing their food and what they offer.”
Artists interesting in consigning artwork to the museum gift shop can contact Atwater by phone at (913) 755-4384 or email email@example.com.