The Bounceback: Historic sites reopen in Clay County

Jesse James Farm and Museum is among the Clay County historic sites that have reopened after closing earlier this year due to concerns around coronavirus.

After closing in mid-March because of coronavirus concerns, many of Clay County’s historic sites have reopened to the public in recent weeks with some changes to hours and various safety measures added.


Jesse James Farm and Museum reopened June 1 with limited daily tours that are reserved on a first-come, first-serve basis. The museum is open seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. with a sign-up sheet located on the front porch of the museum at 21216 Jesse James Farm Road in Kearney.

Visitors may sign up for a specific tour time with a small number of slots per tour. The tour consists of a 20-minute film, three galleries of artifacts and a self-guided tour of the grounds.

Kearney Historic Museum, located across the street from City Hall at the intersection of Washington and Jefferson streets in downtown Kearney, will reopen to the public Friday, July 10.

The museum is open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays.

“There are several new displays; a 1950 to 1960 swimsuit display, plus a bathing suit display from 1920 to 1930. In addition, there is also a delightful antique and vintage aluminum exhibit,” said Alderman Gerri Spencer, who oversees the museum. “We are your window to Kearney’s past, so please stop by.”


Jesse James Bank Museum on the historic, downtown Liberty Square at 103 N. Water St., also reopened June 1 with its traditional hours of 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday. The museum is closed from noon to 1 p.m. for lunch.

Only eight people will be admitted at one time inside of the museum to maintain social distancing safety measures.

Clay County Historic Museum, 14 N. Main St., will reopen July 1 under normal hours of 1 to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays.

Chery Carr Holtman, museum board member, said the museum updated its website to allow more virtual access to its services, including an online gift shop and donations through PayPal.

The website also has videos that highlight specific artifacts from its collection and webinars discussing historical topics connected to the museum. The webinars require registration and space is limited.

For more information, visit

Watkins Mill

Watkins Woolen Mill State Park, located at 26600 Park Road North in Lawson, reopened its visitor center, museum and office to the public on June 10 with recommended safety precautions and social distancing measures in place.

Museum hours are 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sundays. The historic site grounds are open 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Sunday.

For more information, visit

Sports Writer Mac Moore can be reached at 389-6643 or

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.