Collection Overview

The Museum has been collecting since 1939, holding over 80,000 artifacts in its permanent collection. The collection focuses on artifacts relative to the history of Wichita and Sedgwick County, Kansas. The collection is held in public trust and professionally managed in accordance with the standards set forth by the American Alliance of Museums.

Collecting Scope

The Museum’s collection focuses on the material culture of our community, including clothing, decorative arts, fine art, household artifacts, commercial and industrial artifacts, documents, and media including print, photographs, film and audio. Generally precluded from the collection are genealogical records, artifacts dating prior to settlement and items with no relationship to local history. The Museum maintains selective standards set forth through board approved policy which seeks to preserve that which is essential to the interpretation of our cultural heritage. Artifacts in the Museum’s collection are elevated through the Museum’s exhibits and programs and provide the public with immeasurable return.

Wichita Photo Archives

This collaborative effort began in the fall of 2000. Twelve representatives from the Wichita Public Library, the Wichita-Sedgwick County Historical Museum and the Wichita State University Libraries’ Department of Special Collections met to discuss the creation of a single Web-based source where researchers could view and study images of Wichita. The Wichita Photo Archives has enhanced the active cooperation between the three participating repositories, provides access to images unique to Wichita that have value in documenting the area’s history, and is intended to increase the general public’s awareness of local history resources.

Wichita Photo Archives


The Wichita-Sedgwick County Historical Museum is unable to provide appraisals of the monetary value of objects offered as gifts, brought in for identification, or submitted for any other purpose.  The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) regards museums as interested parties, and appraisals they prepare for gifts that they receive are subject to question. The IRS would challenge any museum-prepared appraisal as it would not be considered an “arm’s length transaction,” which the IRS requires.

Donors who desire an appraisal must themselves contract with and pay a professional appraiser, although the cost of an appraisal may be tax-deductible if the gift is given to a qualifying non-profit institution. An appraiser does indeed earn his/her fee because he/she must be prepared to defend the appraisal in court. This requires expert knowledge of prices, which come from observing the market closely and continually. Curators and other museum staff members are not in the business of buying and selling and are not necessarily conversant with prices on the current market.  The Museum will make your donation available for review and inspection by the appraiser of your choice.

To find a licensed appraiser in your area, contact the American Society of Appraisers, the International Society of Appraisers, or the Appraisers Association of America for a referral.

Collections Inquiry

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