TOPEKA, Kan. — Kansas will be 161 years old on Saturday, January 29, 2022.

“Pretty much everything in our gallery represents the people of Kansas. Who we are, where we have been and where we want to go. Just going into that gallery makes you proud to be a Kansans.” Trae Johnson, Kansas Museum of History Educator.

 On January 29, 1861, Kansas was admitted to the Union as a free state. It was the 34th state to join the Union.

The Kansas Museum of History contains several artifacts that depict the history of Kansas, including Native American culture, the bison that roamed the prairie, the covered wagons that crossed Kansas on their way to the west coast, the log cabins that the first settlers built, the first plow that opened up the vast prairies, General Custer’s leather boots, the birthplace of the civil war, William Allen White’s printing press and of course the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad.

The Kansas Historical Society is celebrating Kansas Day with several events, including online activities and videos about Kansas History. Click here to learn more about the Kansas Museum of History.

By the 1850s immigration, the pressure was increasing and organization into a Territory was desired. The Territory of Kansas was an incorporated territory of the United States that existed from May 30, 1854, until January 29, 1861, when it was admitted to the United States.

The land that would become Kansas Territory was considered to be infertile by 19th-century American pioneers. It was called the Great American Desert, for it lacked trees and was dryer than land in the east. Technically, it was part of the vast grasslands that make up the North American Great Plains and supported giant herds of American bison.