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Kaw Mission State Historic Site, Council GroveKaw Mission State Historic Site, Council GroveKaw Mission State Historic Site, Council Grove

Kaw Mission - Exhibits

Kaw Mission was built in the winter of 1850-1851 with Cottonwood limestone cut from a hill west of the site and native black walnut from the woods nearby. The wood fireplaceelements have since been replaced with maple, birch, and gum and stained to resemble rosewood. The rectangular structure has four rooms on each of the two floors, with a fireplace in every room. The gable roof has chimneys at both ends. The colonial style porches are not original to the design but were added at a later date.

Exhibits feature Kaw items as well as mid-19th century frontier items and furnishings. Visitors can see:

  • Kaw ceremonial dress regalia and war headdress with eagle feathers
  • Kaw metal tipped arrows and wooden bow
  • Kaw peace pipe with catlinite pipestone bowl and stem extension
  • Beaded top for small cushion
  • Beaded buckskin bag with fringe
  • Beaded buckskin leggings with decorative brass buttons
  • 1860s swivel top table with spool legs
  • Split hickory seat rocker brought to mission in 1851
  • Springfield Model 1835 musket
  • Oak tavern table from Hays House
  • Hand-tooled walnut newel post made for Kaw Mission in 1850
  • Leather traveling case with rounded lid, circa 1845                                  


In 1861 the federal government built 138 stone huts on the Kaw reservation south of Council Grove; one of the huts has been relocated to the mission grounds. Also on display is a mill stone from Saunder’s Flour Mill and a tire shrinker for wagon wheels from Christopher Strieby’s blacksmith shop.