Wonderful community museum, an example of Romanesque architecture. Two main points of focus are the years of turmoil leading up to the beginning of the Civil War, and Kansas' admittance to statehood; and basketball history, much of which is rooted here in Lawrence.
The University of Kansas Museum of Natural History is located in Dyche Hall, a beautiful neo-Romanesque building shown in my previous tip.
Small children absolutely love this museum. If you go on a school day, particularly in the late spring, you may be swamped by school kids on field trips. My wife and I took our 3 1/2 year granddaughter to see it and she was enthralled. (Some parts of the museum are scientifically beyond the comprehension of youngsters [and me] so we did not push her past the limits of her understanding and attention span.
If you see nothing else here, view the Panorama of North American Plants and Animals. Said to be the largest diorama of its kind in the world (according to the university web site), it features plants and animals from the Arctic to the rain forest. Our granddaughter was also quite interested in the skeleton of the mosasaur hanging in the entry way. The mosasaur was a giant swimming lizard which dominated the seas that once covered Kansas.
Dyche Hall is quite likely the most easily recognizable and most iconic landmark on Jayhawk Boulevard, the central street through the picturesque campus of the University of Kansas. This striking neo-Romanesque structure, built in 1901, houses the university's Museum of Natural History (see separate Things-To-Do tip, following), Comanche (stuffed horse, the only US Army survivor of the Battle of Little Big Horn), and the Biodiversity Research Center.
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Allen Field House was constructed in the mid 1950s, built to accommodate about 16,000 basketball fans - an unusually large arena in those days. It was named in honor of Forest C. (Phog) Allen, considered by many to be the father of basketball coaching. Several of the great names in coaching (Dean Smith, Adolph Rupp, and Ralph Miller, to name just a few) learned their craft while at the University of Kansas.
KU, a perennial national power in men's college basketball, still plays its games at tradition-rich Allen Field House in front of full houses. If you can score tickets to a KU basketball game, it's a great experience to be in the field house, even if you're not a basketball fan.
One of the more interesting aspects of Allen Fieldhouse is the KU Athletics Museum and Hall of Fame - the Booth Family Center. In addition to honoring great Kansas University athletes and coaches of the past such as James Naismith, Wilt Chamberlain, Gale Sayers, Lynette Woodard, Jim Ryun, Billy Mills, etc., there are displays of memorabilia relating to sports traditions.
There are also a number of interactive skill games popular with the little ones.
These are many very good ornamental additions to the old buildings, as well as art around the campus. Look hard and look up. A number of these structures are from the early 1900's, and in that time they put a lot of effort into elegant facades, and ornamentation, and design to remember.
The campus was founded in 1866. They continued to add buildings; mostly of limestone and very ornate and elegant all to 1930's, because that rock was available in the region. Then some more modern architecture came in, but not much. Dyche Hall -Venetian Romanesque-having the Natural History Museum is from 1903 and named after a teacher. Across the street is Spooner Hall from 1894, and was the library-Romanesque revival. BAiley Hall was completed in 1883 and was the chemistry hall. Watson library is named after a librarian and opened in 1924. It has 24,000 volumes. Fraser Hall replaced and old building torn down and was completed in 1967
This is located on Mississippi and close the Memorial stadium. It is a collection of paintings, sculptures, contemporary, Asian, wood carvings, and even Chihuly. Donation is $3 recommended. Open 105 Tues-Sat with Thurs late to 8PM. Sunday 12-5. It is worth more than that for all to see.
This is a very nice art display of a variety of works. Sallie Casey Thayer, an art teacher donated 7500 art pieces in 1917 to get this started. She collected an eclectic art of all types with a lot from Asia and Europe. Helen Forseman Spencer has donated a lot of art and purchases through the years, and money to build this structure. She is a philanthropist that became wealthy, but kept roots in Lawrence, and decided to build the new museum buildings in 1960's, that got completed in 1978
This is open and free to visit. Besides plaster replicas of Roman and Greek statuary, they have some relics of bowls and plate wear from the Egyptian-Greek eras. Prof Wilcox made these to let students appreciate the art in the past, and try to promote the knowledge of the past art.
Open 9-4 Monday-Friday and is free-or donate something. It is not large, but a short 1/2 hour will please you that you stopped by. Located in Lippincott Hall, right in middle of old part of campus on Jayhawk Blvd.
There is a 12 block area just west of immediate downtown that has some of the best preserved homes from late 1800's to 1940's. They are of many varieties, depending on the time built. In my opinion, this is one of the better areas to show what old and well taken care of homes are in all the country. There are some spots that are deteriorating somewhat, but the city works hard to keep it preserved as much as possible.