Martin and Osa Johnson Safari Museum
Chanute, KS 66720
Phone: (620) 431-2730
Fax: (620) 431-2730
The Martin and Osa Johnson Safari Museum is located in Osa's hometown of Chanute, Kansas. The museum was founded in 1961 to preserve the Johnsons' achievements and to encourage further research into their fields of study. The Johnsons were the first to send back photos and film of areas of Africa and the South Seas in the 1920s and 1930s.
The Safari Museum (as it was originally named) has grown and flourished through the years. The museum started with a core collection of the Johnsons' films, photographs, manuscripts, articles, books and personal belongings donated by Osa's mother.
Over the years a number of related collections have developed to broaden the museum's ability to achieve its mission to "collect, preserve, and make available the life work of Martin and Osa Johnson, while continuing their work of sharing the knowledge of natural history and cultural anthropology with the global community."
In 1974, an African ethnographic collection was established by Johnson scholar Dr. Pascal J. Imperato. It includes masks, headdresses, furnishings, personal accessories, tools, armaments, textiles and musical instruments representing different ethnic groups in west and central Africa.
In 1980, the museum's library was formed. It now includes more than 10,000 volumes covering a variety of natural history and cultural subjects and is named the Explorers Library in honor of the late Kenhelm W. Stott, Jr., a friend of Osa Johnson and General Curator Emeritus of the San Diego Zoo.
Founded in 1981, the Selsor Art Gallery encompasses a wide range of artistic forms featuring natural subjects.
The museum is the main center for the collection and distribution of information concerning the lives and accomplishments of Martin and Osa Johnson. Access to Johnson materials and the various collections as well as the museum's Henshall Archives can be granted to researchers and others. As an example, photos from the museum's collection are on display at the Wilderness Lodge at Walt Disney World in Florida.
In 1993, the museum relocated to Chanute's beautifully renovated Santa Fe Depot as part of a $2 million project. Visitors will find carefully planned exhibits, a range of educational programs for children and adults and a helpful staff of professional employees and volunteers.
The museum also houses a gift store showcasing items from Africa. In addition, the Johnsons were the inspiration for the Martin + Osa clothing line formerly carried by American Eagle Outfitters.
The museum is open from 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. It is currently closed on Sunday and Monday.