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We are a small exhibition site, located on the Kansas River in Lawrence Kansas. The exhibition is packed with information about the men who lived and fished commercially between 1870-1970. The two earliest men described are Abe Burns and Jake Washington, two African American men living in free state Kansas not long after the Civil War and Quantrill's raid on Lawrence. The story of this way of life continues on into the 20th century and describes a time when fishing commerically meant breaking the law, often times leading to arrest and  conviction.



On the Historic Kaw Riverfront in Beautiful Downtown Lawrence Kansas


The Kansas Riverkings Museum depicts the lives of commerical fishermen who made their living off of the Kansas River 1870-1970. The story begins below the dam in Lawrence with Abe Burns and Jake Washington, two African Americans living independently in newly free state Kansas. We then find ourselves looking at others like Dolly Graeber, better known as Old Man River and then of course there's Maurice Catfish Wustefeld.


The Kansas Riverkings Museum will be open to small group tours on Saturdays. Make sure to call or email for an appointment. Your group can select an on-site lecture and film or a walking tour that takes you outside to sites of historic importance.


The Museum will continue to grow and develop new aspects of the story. While operating with a small grant and a volunteer staff, many dollars are still needed for ongoing research, travel, and the collection of additional stories and artifacts. We appreicate any donation no matter how small. With your donation of $100 or more you earn a cerficate for a short course and walking tour for five people.

Get Involved

The museum operates with the assistance of volunteer interns. We appreciate any time and volunteerism you might be able to provide. For more information contact the acting curator, Barbara Higgins-Dover or email to She will be happy to discuss the possibilty of a college credit option.

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