Top 10 Western Museums of 2011

5. John Brown Museum State Historic Site (Osawatomie, Kansas)

The cabin of Rev. Samuel Adair and his wife, which John Brown used as his headquarters during the “Bleeding Kansas” era, is small, but we admire curator Grady Atwater’s big plans. Last year, Atwater brought in the usual suspects for the Freedom Festival (Bob Green as John W. Reid; Kerry Altenbernd as John Brown), which re-creates the 1856 battle between Brown’s abolitionists and Reid’s Missouri bushwhackers. But Atwater also invited President Theodore Roosevelt himself (uh, we mean impersonator Joe Wiegand). Why Teddy? Roosevelt dedicated the John Brown Memorial in 1910. “We’re trying to preserve the battlefield,” Atwater says, “and educate people about the battle, about the history. We value our history very much.”

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