Once a Muleskinner, always a Muleskinner.
That’s the message that the former St John’s Military School Historical Museum wants to convey through their new museum, honoring more than 131 years of history.
St John’s Military School opened in 1887. For 131 years, thousands of cadets marched on the campus at 110 W Otis. Teachers and faculty poured their lives into not only making the lives of each student better, but also enriching the community of Salina.
However, the school closed in 2019. It was a difficult ending for all who devoted themselves to a wonderful school. The last graduating walked in 2019.
After the last dorm was cleaned, the last administrative desk cleared, and the last chalkboard erased, the question soon became what to do with 131 years of school history.
The Old Boys – a group of school alumni, faculty, administrators, and board members – quickly decided that these priceless artifacts should be displayed.
Linger Hall was chosen as the Museum location, which sits on the West side of the campus.
After 2 years of documenting each item, restoring Linger Hall (installing museum lighting, etc…), and construction through a pandemic, the Museum was finally open to members of the Salina Area Chamber of Commerce last week.
Museum visitors were greeted with emotional smiles by curators.
Class photographs line the walls. Furniture used by administrators sits in the middle of each room.
Cadet uniforms with patches sewn on. Some name badges are still present.
Trophies from the school’s numerous sporting victories.
School flags. Pictures of the original building that burnt to the ground.
If you remember the Quartermaster helping you with school supplies until a care package from home could be sent, you might be a Muleskinner.
The door handle each cadet grasped upon high school graduation sits proudly within the Museum foyer.
Perhaps the most memorable museum items, are those of the time capsule. Evidence that cadets from decades ago wanted people to remember.
Indeed, that’s just what St John’s Military School Historical Museum is. A testimony to the positive impact this school and its members had on our community, our country, and in some cases, the world.
This museum is a time capsule. Items that need not be seen to be remembered, each having their own unique story. A 6 year journey in the life of a single Muleskinner, spread over 131 years of school history.
While a time capsule is usually reserved access for those of whom are connected to the holder, we the public have a fantastic opportunity to view what made this school great.
More information on St John’s Military School Historical Museum can be found on their Facebook Page.
The grand opening of the museum is in 2 weeks, to coincide with what would have been the school’s 2020-2021 graduation ceremony.