Archive for Thursday, January 18, 2007

Exhibit highlights JoCo products

January 18, 2007

Locally made products and inventions are the subject of the Johnson County Museum's latest exhibit "Made in Johnson County." The exhibit, which runs at the Museum of History from Jan. 27 through Aug. 12, presents the major enterprises in Johnson County from the 1850s to the modern day.

Early businesses were small operations servicing the local market, and largely connected to the county's agricultural economy. By 1875, nearly 75 percent of residents earned a living via agriculture. Early commerce depended on local natural resources, like rivers and creeks. The introduction of the railroad in the 1870s opened Johnson County to broader regional and national markets, and the economy began to diversify.

Large-scale industrialization came to Johnson County with the advent of World War II and the location of Sunflower Army Ammunitions Plant, the first, and largest, producer of rocket powder in the United States, located south of De Soto.

At its height in 1945, 12,067 men and women worked at the plant -- at a time when the county's total population numbered only 33,327. The operation forever changed the economic landscape of Johnson County.

Guided tours of the "Made in Johnson County" exhibit are available for school groups for a nominal fee and include additional activities.

The Museum of History is located at 6305 Lackman Road in Shawnee. The museum is open from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays and from 1 to 4:30 p.m. Sundays. Admission is free.

For more, visit the Web site at www.jocomuseum.org or call (913) 715-2550.

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