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There are tools and then there are research tools. 

JoCoHistory Research Tools

Welcome to another fabulous Throwback Thursday! You know that JoCoHistory is the place to time travel through local history with its Blog and collection of photos and historical documents. But did you know, about the JoCoHistory Research Tools? Here you'll find a portal to local history projects, local history on the web, a comprehensive list of Johnson County museums and historical sites and other regional museums. 

JoCoHistory Projects

On the Web

  • Kansas Memory - Johnson County
    A project of the Kansas Historical Society, this site contains digital images of letters, diaries, photographs, government records, maps, museum artifacts and much more.
  • Missouri Valley Special Collections Digital Gallery
    Over 11,000 images of archival material such as letters, photographs, postcards, advertising cards and maps from Missouri Valley Special Collections at Kansas City Public Library.
  • Territorial Kansas Online
    A virtual repository of archival documents dating from Kansas' territorial period, 1854-1861.
  • Missouri Digital Heritage
    Digitized collections from libraries, archives, historical societies and museums all across Missouri (formerly Virtually Missouri).
  • Map of historic sites
    Map of local historic places, museums and historical societies.

Local History Museums and Sites

In Johnson County:

  • Gardner Historical Museum
    The museum occupies the 1893 Folk Victorian house built by Herman B. Foster. Exhibits feature topics important to Gardner history: the Grange, the Overland Trails, schools, a turn-of-the century kitchen, as well as historical memorabilia and photos of Gardner's past.
  • Johnson County Museum
    Includes the Johnson County Museum of History, the Lanesfield School, and the 1950s All Electric House. The museum also features a research room with access to documents, maps, photographs and manuscripts related to the history of Johnson County, Kansas from 1820s to present.
  • Legler Barn Museum
    The Legler barn was built by Adam Legler in 1864, razed in 1972 and restored in 1983 as a community Museum. It features permanent and temporary exhibits about Lenexa and the surrounding area.
  • Mahaffie Stagecoach Stop and Farm
    Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Mahaffie Stagecoach Stop & Farm Historic Site is the last remaining stagecoach stop on the historic Santa Fe Trail still open to the public. Three original buildings are preserved: The Mahaffie Family Home/Stagecoach Stop, two-story Ice House, and Wood Peg Barn.
  • Oxford Schoolhouse
    Built in 1877, this one-room schoolhouse operated until 1955. In 2003 it was moved from 135th and Mission to its current location at Ironwoods Park. The school is now restored and interpreted as a circa 1910 schoolhouse.
  • Shawnee Indian Mission
    The manual training school attended by Shawnee, Delaware, and other Indian children from 1839-1862. The Shawnee Mission also served as an early territorial capitol, a supply point on the Santa Fe and Oregon Trails, and as a camp for Union soldiers during the Civil War. The Mission was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1968. The Mission also has a research library that is open to the public by appointment.
  • Shawnee Town Museum
    Shawnee Town is a living history museum that opens a window to life in a small farm community in the years leading up to the Great Depression. Visitors can stroll through the 3-acre park and visit historic buildings that include a school house, farmstead, chapel, fire station, local businesses and gardens.

Other Regional Museums

  • Kansas Museum of History
    Museum operated by the Kansas Historical Society in Topeka.
  • Kansas City Museum
    Located within the Corinthian Hall mansion, the Kansas City Museum offers exhibits on regional history and natural history, as well as a planetarium and authentic 1910 soda fountain.

Initial Design Unveiled for New Library in Merriam

Johnson County Library, in partnership with the City of Merriam, is excited to share initial renderings of our new Library with the community. The 15,000 sq. ft., single-story building will replace the existing Antioch Library, which has served the community since 1956. The square footage is similar in size to the branch portion of the Antioch building, so the size of the collection will not change. The new Library, located on the Merriam Community Center campus off Slater St., will include several 21st century amenities that can adapt to community needs for another 60-plus years.
This design, by Dake Wells Architecture, is the result of collaboration between the Library, the City, and you! Our goal is to complement the existing architecture and landscape on the Community Center campus, creating a jewel for the city and a destination for residents and visitors from across the metro to play, work, relax, and discover.
We’ll share more details about this project this summer once the design and materials have been finalized. Until then, here are a few ways we are incorporating your feedback from last year’s public input sessions into plans for the new library:

  • An eco-friendly green roof creates a visual extension of the current landscape;
  • The expansive “front porch” offers a welcoming outdoor space for campus visitors;
  • Sculpture-like light monitors on the roof provide natural light and a connection to nature;
  • Cozy window nooks along the east and west sides of the building preserve a beloved feature of the existing Antioch building;
  • A drive-thru window adds convenience for on-the-go materials returns and holds pickups.

Other anticipated improvements include new shelving that offers greater accessibility and sight lines throughout the branch, a variety of comfortable seating options, study spaces and a meeting room, new computer technology, and an interactive kids’ space.
We know that libraries are more than just a building—they are a collection of people of different ages, interests, abilities and needs. No matter who you are, how you want to use the library, there will be a space for you at our new Library in Merriam!
Construction is anticipated to begin early 2023, with the new Library open to the public in 2024. More information to come via and; until then check out a 3D model of the new building at Antioch Library May 9-31, and in the Merriam Community Center lobby beginning June 1. 


Career and Finance Help is a Click Away

You are probably aware of all of the great Career and Finance resources available to you on the Johnson County Library website. But, have you visited our YouTube channel? There you'll find our Career and Finance Video Series. We've procured field experts to produce an impressive 32 videos with topics as varied as:

... just to name a few!


Get Road Trip-Ready

“Traveling – it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.”

~ Ibn Battuta

Your Library Card can lead to an epic odyssey! 

Happy travelers know the secret to adventure-awesomeness: planning. 

Step 1. Have a strategy! 


  • Go old school. Get a Road Atlas. Have you ever relied on your phone for navigation only to encounter a "no-service area" for 3 hours? Never again.
  • Snag a Travel Guide. Rick Steves, Lonely Planet, Fodors, Eyewitness and more guarantee a trip  tailored to your tastes.     


  • Music. Every road trip needs a soundtrack. Years later you'll hear song from it that takes you back to the sights and smells of your roadie. Will you have phone reception? If so, our streaming music services are the way to go. No service? No worries! Good old-fashioned CDs are still available for checkout. ;)
  • An audiobook. Remember how Listening to Will Wheaton voicing Ready Player One got you from here to Dallas and back a couple years ago? Get them in pretty much any format you want, even an eAudiobook.
  • Snackage. You're going to get hungry and the stops are sometimes few and far between. Our advice? Snack-up
  • Have a contingency plan for that abomination your hotel is calling "cable." An eMagazine and eNewspapers will give you solid alternatives.
  • Make sure you've viewed this travel tutorial at least once before hitting the open road. :D

Step 2. Pick up your holds from your favorite location.

Step 3. Roll.



JoCoLibrary Web Calendar Gets a Makeover

If you've browsed our Web Calendar lately, you'll notice the new look and feel. It's easy to search by keyword, filter by event type or age group, and much more! Browse what's happening »


This Week at the Library

This week at the Library, you can join us at:

Library OnDemand Available anytime you like.

Your doorway into live and archived programs. Arts & Culture, Career & Finance, Community Matters, Writers and more!

Online Bilingual Storytime / Hora de cuentos bilingües en línea – Monday, April 25, 10 – 10:30 a.m.

The whole family will enjoy this flexible Storytime. Hearing stories is a great way to spend time with your kids and help them foster a love of reading. Stories, songs, fingerplays and movement activities foster pre-reading skills. Fun for the whole family.

Toda la familia disfrutará de esta especial hora de cuentos bilingües. Escucha historias con tus hijos y ayúdales a cultivar el amor por la lectura. Al contar cuentos, interpretar canciones, hacer juegos con los dedos y realizar actividades de movimiento fomentamos las habilidades previas a la lectura. ¡Diversión para toda la familia!

One-on-One Genealogy Help via ZoomTuesday, April 26, 9 a.m. – noon

Basic Genealogy and DNA one-on-one help are now being held online via Zoom specific to your questions and research. Visit the Johnson County Genealogical Society at to schedule an appointment. A volunteer will email a personal Zoom meeting link to you prior to the scheduled date.

Online Storytime  Friday, April 29, 10 – 10:30  a.m.

The whole family will enjoy these flexible Storytimes. Hearing stories is a great way to spend time with your kids and help them foster a love of reading. Stories, songs, fingerplays and movement activities foster pre-reading skills. Fun for the whole family!

Writing Contest Friday, April 29, All day

For our current writing contest, we want you to write about water. In connection with our summer theme, Oceans of Possibilities, share how you felt the first time you traveled to the shore and stepped into the ocean, how water inspires or limits you, or how it shapes your work or family life. Don’t be afraid to include Johnson County’s own lakes, rivers and aquifers – while they are certainly not oceans, the water cycle connects it all. Submit at Winners receive $200, and an invitation to read at a Library event.

And much more happening this week »


Friends Book Sale Today

The Friends of Johnson County Library have recently completed renovations at their Pine Ridge Headquarters to allow them to host book sales at that location. And there's a book sale happening there today! Stop by to shop for new books to add to your collection and support the Library at the same time.

Friends Pop-Up Book Sale
Saturday, April 23
12:30 - 5 p.m.
8279 Melrose Dr., Lenexa, KS 66214

Can't make it today? More sales are coming soon! Head over to the Friends' website and scroll to the bottom to sign up for their newsletter. You'll hear all the latest Friends news, including upcoming book sales. Happy shopping!


JDC Receives New Books

In March, Librarians Jayma Zook and Melody Kinnamon delivered 10 boxes of new books to Johnson County’s Juvenile Detention Center. This addition of new titles updates and expands an existing collection available to JDC residents.

“[Teen Services Coordinating Librarian] Kate McNair worked so hard some years ago to secure grants to build this collection at the Juvenile Detention Center,” Kinnamon said. “But grants aren’t always available, so we needed a more sustainable plan for keeping this collection current.”

Starting this year, the Library has set aside a portion of the Incarcerated Services Committee’s budget to obtain new titles and refresh old copies of popular books. This will allow the Library to maintain this collection just like it would at any other branch.

“This is one of the best examples of JCL Values in practice. The Library recognizes that this underserved, at-risk population needs equitable access to books to support and enrich their lives and they’ve made it a priority,” Kinnamon said.

Youth Services Librarian Jayma Zook took on the task of selecting books for this collection. The items purchased were chosen for broad appeal but also to fulfill the specific needs of the teens at the JDC.

“Jayma used her skills as a YS Librarian to make sure the collection was diverse and inclusive, and also had different formats and reading levels. She made sure there were some graphic novels and some easy-to-read titles,” Kinnamon said. “She did a great job.”


Johnson County Museum’s First-Ever National Accreditation

An Accomplishment 55 Years in the Making: Celebrating the Johnson County Museum’s First-Ever National Accreditation

Congratulations to our friends at Johnson County Museum! The museum recently celebrated a special honor: its first-ever national accreditation from the American Alliance of Museums. This is the highest recognition museums can earn, with only 3% of museums nationwide earning accreditation.

Read more on the JoCoHistory Blog!