KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Whether you’re headed to or from the Lakeside Nature Center, FOX4 has a couple of places you can detour to. The first is the 1859 Jail, Marshal’s Home and Museum in Independence. The second is The National Museum of Toys and Miniatures in Kansas City.
The 1859 Jail, Marshal’s Home and Museum is a step back in time.
“Right here, we have all of our jailers and the years they were here,” Danielle Hall with the Jackson County Historical Society said.
Take a stroll through the “Big House” and unlock the history of the criminals who stayed in the cells. The most infamous inmate, Frank James, brother of outlaw Jesse James, was held in a cell for six months.
“His jail cell was open, so he could come and go at certain points as he pleased. He was a prisoner, but he wasn’t an ordinary prisoner,” Hall said.
James’ cell had furniture, and he was allowed to host poker games.
“Although it is cramped, he would’ve been the only one in here compared to the other jail cells where there could have been 20 people in there at one time,” Hall said.
For others inmates, the cells were cramped quarters that lacked privacy.
The museum is open Thursday through Saturday, call ahead if you have a small group.
Only 14 minutes away, the National Museum of Toys and Miniatures is open for business.
“Our renovation was in 2015 and it took us 19 months, so it was a pretty major experience. Every single object had to come out of the building while we renovated and then we began to bring everything back in,” curator Laura Taylor said.
The museum is home to the world’s largest collection of fine-scale miniatures, and one of the world’s largest collections of historic toys.
“There is of course a sense of nostalgia to see the things that you played with when you were a kid to learn. Also to learn about the social and historical and economic impact of the toys. Everything that’s happened in the world can be found reflected in toys,” Taylor said.
Popular exhibits include interactives, including one called “Bridging the Gender Divide: Toys that Build STEM Skills.” The museum’s vast collection is possible thanks to thousands of donors.
“The toys come from everywhere, actually! We get so many phone calls about donations, so we have to be very careful about what we select. Make sure that we’re able to take care of it for the long-haul,” Taylor said.
The museum is still following COVID protocols, so bring your mask when you visit.
“And we are slowly over the summer adding Sunday and Monday, too, so our hours are going to expand. You can actually book ahead of time on our website,” Taylor said.