JoCo Museum begins phased reopening, features temporary exhibit on community strength

The new exhibit "Rising to the Challenge: Suburban Strength in Difficult Times" is available at the Johnson County Arts and Heritage Center's Cultural Commons beginning June 1. Photo courtesy of Johnson County Museum.

The Johnson County Museum begins its phased reopening plan Monday, June 1, with opportunities for guided museum tours, including tours of its newest exhibit “Rising to the Challenge: Suburban Strength in Difficult Times.”

“Rising to the Challenge” is a temporary exhibit aimed at inspiring the community as it battles the coronavirus pandemic, according to a press release. It showcases stories about how Johnson County residents have rallied together over the years.

Museum Director Mary McMurray said in the release the museum “is uniquely positioned to” share inspiring stories to encourage the community “to rise to the challenge again.”

“Our collection is filled with stories of personal sacrifice, working together and overcoming the challenge at hand,” McMurray said. “The COVID-19 pandemic provides a new opportunity to learn about these stories and to be inspired by them.”

The exhibit highlights the community’s past strength during economic hardship, war, natural disasters and health crises. The exhibit is connected to the museum’s recent initiative “Collecting COVID-19” in which stories and ideas for documents, photos and objects are being requested by the museum.

Stories and ideas can be submitted by the public at Artifacts already collected from this initiative are included in the exhibit, according to the release.

As part of the museum’s reopening plan, patrons must pre-register for guided museum tours, including for tours of “Rising to the Challenge.” There are other experiences available at KidScape and Lanesfield Historic Site and pre-registration required for both. Patrons can expect small group sizes, time limited visits and social distancing implementations.

Additional information about the museum’s reopening plan — which will change as the state moves through the Ad Astra Reopening Plan — can be found here. “Rising to the Challenge” will be on display at the Johnson County Arts and Heritage Center’s Cultural Commons on June 1, and pre-registry can be found here.

Pre-registry for KidScape can be found here, and reservations for Lanesfield can be made via phone at (913) 715-2570 or via email at