The Kansas Historical Society's headquarters are located at the site of the Potawatomi Mission. Built in 1847, the mission was operated as a boarding school for children of the Potawatomi and other native people who had been forced west by the federal government in the 1830s.
The mission is located along the north section of the Kansas Historical Society's 2.5 mile nature trail. Completed in the spring of 1850, the mission housed approximately 90 American Indian children. The children were taught reading, writing, and basic skills such as needlework and blacksmithing. The students' farm labor was intended to make this boarding school self-sufficient. Eleven years later the mission was closed due to funding failures and the Civil War.
After the mission closed, it was used as a barn for the Prairie Dell Farm, which raised horses. The state of Kansas acquired the property in the 1980s and the Historical Society relocated its offices from downtown Topeka to the site. The Kansas Museum of History moved to the location in 1984 and the remaining offices moved in 1995.
For several years the mission building was used for classrooms and meeting space. The mission building is now closed to the public. Nearby are picnic tables and a playground.