One underutilized asset at Old Cowtown Museum is our research library. The library is open to researchers, volunteers, and the general public. There are many different types of resources the library has collected over the past 70 years. These include books, magazines, research papers, movies, lectures, city directories, research files, building files, and newspaper articles.
As curator, I use the research library regularly to help do my job. When researching for exhibits, the library helps me come up with ideas as well as affirms facts necessary to complete them. Also, when outside questions arise relating to our "old west" timeframe, the library helps me answer questions and give specific examples of sources to confer.
My current project is to create a new temporary exhibit, and our research library is vital to its success. While also using information saved to our computer shared drive here at Cowtown, the research library helps answer things it cannot. One specific source I used is our collection of original Wichita city directories. I need to find businesses associated with West Wichita, or today known as Delano. These city directories give the names of the businesses for that year and their locations; many businesses also have advertisements. The books helped me locate and identify numerous businesses that I can now talk about in the next temporary exhibit.
The research library is also a great resource for our volunteer staff. They can come in and research a certain person, business, year, or a topic of interest. This then helps them interact with our guests and provide them accurate information.
To make an appointment for the research library, just contact me at the information above.