FRANKLIN — During this election year, The Miners Hall Museum looks back on politics in Crawford County for the new quarterly exhibit which opened July 1.

“It’s Political: Politics in southeast Kansas” is hosted by Joan Brown and Bette Lessen and features an array of political artifacts for visitors to read, look at and explore. MHM has items on display from local politics — including many items about “Papa” Joe Saia — up to the national level.

The exhibit includes newspaper articles, old scrap books, shirts, hats and many campaign buttons.

“The exhibits are typically small when they start,” Operations Director Jason Russell said. “We had a lot of items come in early for this one, so it’s pretty big for being so new.”

Russell said the museum utilized its hosts, Lessen and Brown, to get the word out and gather items.

“Their both really integrated into local politics,” Russell said. “We also put the word out to the community to bring items to us.”

It’s Political will run through September 24. Russell said it had been planned for a while, but this election year was the perfect time for it.

“I don’t think anyone anticipated such a hot political year, so it worked out,” Russell said. “But we have a great selection from both sides. We want to keep everything as nonpartisan as possible.”

He said the exhibit is to educate visitors about the history of politics in southeast Kansas and allow them to make their own conclusions.

Video recordings are also being taken of area people with personal memories or experiences. The videos will be used to make a compilation video. Russell said three people have already come in to be record. The museum will also be hosting three special programs — one each month — while the exhibit is on display. They include “Populism to Partisanship” on July 24, a political roundtable August 21 and a political open house on September 18. During the open house visitors can meet and talk to southeast Kansas politicians.

The exhibit and special programs are free to the public. The exhibit is open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. More information can be found through the Miners Hall Museum Facebook page.

— Chance Hoener is a staff writer for the Morning Sun. He can be emailed at or follow him on Twitter @ReporterChance.