Courier April/May Courier - Page 39

Truman Library and Museum Leila’s Hair Museum Pioneers, presidents and … hair art? Part of the Kansas City metropolitan area, Independence is, well, an independent city in Missouri with captivating history and unique places to visit. “You can’t talk about the city of Independence without what put it on the map in the first place. It was the jumping off point to the West,” says Frank Buhro, historic site and volunteer manager for Independence Parks/Recreation/Tourism. “It was the last of civilization for the pioneers seeking a better life. They left Independence on the long journeys on the California, Santa Fe and Oregon trails. The story of each of these is told at the National Frontier Trails Museum and the Pioneer Trails Adventure, where they offer covered wagon rides.” Independence was home to Harry S. Truman and has many sites that tell of the former president’s life, including the Truman Depot, the Truman Memorial Building and the Truman Walking Trail. “The sites show his connections growing up in the area and the impact it had on his later decisions. Visitors can explore Clinton’s Soda Fountain, where he had his first job. And for the fuller experience, there are tours of the Truman home, the Truman Courthouse and the Truman Library and Museum,” Buhro says. One of the city’s most unique finds is Leila’s Hair Museum. With more than 600 wreaths and 2,000 pieces of jewelry made from human hair on display, the museum offers a tour that teaches the braiding techniques used to make Victorian hair art. “This art was started as a way of remembering loved ones and paying tribute to them before there were photos. Leila has quite the collection,” Buhro says. “There truly is nothing like it.” For more information, contact Buhro at fbuhro@indepmo. org or go to visitindependence.com. Hop on the covered wagon “To experience western Nebraska is to experience the Old West,” says Micheal Collins, group travel manager with the Nebraska Tourism Commission. “This is a land filled with his- tory and culture, from the Native American tribes who first settled this wild region to fur traders and trappers looking for fortune to early pioneers and ranchers searching for a better way of life out West.” For travelers seeking out the area’s Old West history, the com- mission offers a four-day itinerary titled Western Nebraska’s Buffalo Bill, Oregon Trail, Pioneer Experience. The tour covers sites like the Golden Spike Tower & Visitor Center, which boasts the world’s largest railroad classification yard; Scotts Bluff National Monument; and the Buffalo Bill State Historical Park, once home to Col. William F. “Buffalo Bill” Cody. Visitors will take wagon rides to the Lincoln County Historical Museum, learn the story of the North Platte Canteen and dodge robbers while exploring a re-created Old West town. They’ll see Native American artifacts and art at the Petrified Wood Gallery and visit the most recognized land- mark on the Oregon Trail, Chimney Rock National Historic Site. They’ll also discover wagon ruts that are still visible at the base of the summit near the North Platte River, hand feed Scotts Bluff National Monument Pioneer re-enactor program bison at Monkey Ranch and experience some notable dining at places like Beehaven Farm Roadside Market. For more information and the full itinerary, contact Collins at micheal.collins@nebraska.gov or go to visitnebraska.com/ group_travel. NTAonline.com 35