What is the Pay it Forward Challenge?

The struggles and accomplishments of our forefathers have led to a better understanding of our county and our region which has in turn contributed to the betterment of subsequent generations.

It is the responsibility of the Rush County Historical Society and Kansas Barbed Wire Collectors Association to maintain and preserve a record of these struggles and accomplishments so that future generations will have an accurate knowledge of their past and consequently a better understanding of how to shape their future.

50 years ago, citizens interested in preserving our history banded together and formed the Rush County Historical Society, Inc. and a few years later the Kansas Barbed Wire Collectors' Association, Inc. The mission of each entity was to gather a record of their forefathers' lifestyles and experiences and preserve them for future generations. In other words, to pay forward the contributions of those who came before them. Now it is our turn to pay it forward for future generations to continue the tradition.

Therefore, we are challenging residents, former residents and friends of Rush County to Pay it Forward. Whether you have ties or simply have special memories about Rush County, we invite you to participate. Contributions in any amount are welcome.

Proceeds from the Pay it Forward Challenge will be placed in special funds for the long-term preservation of the history of Rush County through the museums of La Crosse: The Kansas Barbed Wire Museum, The Nekoma Bank Museum, the Post Rock Museum, the Rush County Historical Museum, and the forthcoming Pleasant Point School Museum.

How Will Funds Be Used?

One third of contributions will be used to restore and furnish the Pleasant Point one-room school on the campus of the La Crosse museum complex. The school, originally located south of Nekoma is the newest project of the Rush County Historical Society. When completed, the facility will provide local youth an opportunity to experience early 20th-century rural education though tours and “day-experiences.”

One third of contributions will be placed in a special fund to be used for the continued maintenance and upkeep of the four museums in the Society's care: Post Rock Museum, Nekoma Bank Museum, Historical Museum, and One-Room School Museum. Each tells its unique story about the development of Rush County and western Kansas.

One third of contributions will be placed in a fund to be used for the continuance of the missions of the Kansas Barbed Wire Museum and the historical collections of the Antique Barbed Wire Society Greer Research Center. The Barbed Wire Museum has achieved international recognition as a premier resource for the education and preservation of this unique part of the history of the settlement of the Midwest.

Can I Contribute to Other Rush County Museums?

Rush County also has a number of excellent community-owned museums:

Bison Community Museum located in the historic Community Building on Main Street houses a variety of artifacts from the community' early history.

Lone Star School is an 1878 one-room school constructed of native fencepost limestone. It is located one mile west of Bison and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

McCracken Historical Museum, located in the restored city jail, features a variety of historic collections including items from the motion picture, Paper Moon.

Rush Center Historical Museum, located in the Walnut Valley Senior Center, houses photos and items from Rush Center and Walnut City along with histories of Rush County schools.

If you wish a portion of your contribution to support any of the above museums, enclose a note with your contribution and the funds will be forwarded accordingly.