Shawnee Indian Mission Historic Site

The Shawnee Mission, like many other missions, was established as a manual training school attended by boys and girls from Shawnee, Delaware, and other Indian nations from 1839 to 1862. Reverend Thomas Johnson established the Mission which also served as an early territorial capitol, supply point on the Santa Fe and Oregon Trails, and a camp for Union soldiers during the Civil War.


Visit this 12-acre National Historic Landmark and you will experience the rich tapestry of three historic buildings, period rooms and exhibits, plus special events, workshops, and guided tours set in urban Johnson County.


Here is a 1 minute segment of the introduction video which is available in the East building during your visit. The original video is a great overview of the site, its importance in Kansas history and why it is now a National Historic Landmark. 


For more information on the history surrounding the site, please visit:


Site Historic Overview:
1927: Became a State Site
1966: National Register Nomination
1968: National Historic Landmark

Group Tours

If you would like to schedule a group tour, please call 913-262-0867 or email to make a reservation.  If the group is larger than 10, we ask that you schedule 2 weeks in advance so that we can accommodate the group.  


School Group Tours

If you are a school group, we have multiple lessons and hands-on activities that your students can participate in to learn about the Mission and the Native American peoples that lived and studied here. To make a reservation or to have any questions answered regarding the tour options below, please email Jennifer at 


Native American Homes

Students explore 3 different housing styles of American Indians from Kansas using a guided, interactive lesson. The lesson reinforces the use of natural resources in building a house,  adaptation to the environment, and change over time. Scale models of all 3 home styles can be seen and touched. Students can also help to assemble a large replica Tipi on the west lawn, weather permitting. 



In this interactive art activity, students look at different symbols historically used by American Indians to communicate between tribes. Students then create their own story using pictographs. 


Jumping on the Oregon Trail

Teachers this is an opportunity to provide your students with a unique educational experience!  Through the use of primary source documents students will become familiar with six families who actually experienced life on the Oregon-California Trail. In addition to learning about the hardships and trials of the trail, students will participate in loading and pulling their "wagon" with supplies, playing a pioneer game, and autographing "Independence Rock."

Students will be divided into six groups or "families." Throughout the tour they will read diary entries from these emigrants, which will give students an understanding of the hardships and benefits of the move west. Will the families make it safely to their new homes? Only their decision-making skills will allow them to arrive safely.


Manifest Destiny and its Impact on American Indian Culture

Provide your students with a unique educational experience at the site where history occurred! 

Students will rotate through a variety of sessions that consist of historic interpretations, presentations, and hands-on activities. Concepts that can be covered include: Manifest Destiny: Clash of Cultures; Indian Relocation and Government Policies; Sectionalism and Secession prior to the Civil War and Bleeding Kansas. Students will be working with primary and secondary sources as they learn first-hand about America's struggles during the movement West.


Trails Through The Mission: Spring Availability 

Bring your fourth graders and experience pioneer history at the Shawnee Indian Mission. Each year the Shawnee Indian Mission, Friends of the Mission, and the Johnson County Young Matrons sponsor a day-long hands-on living history and study of the overland trails. Trails Through the Mission, formerly Theme Days, occurs in April.  Reservations need to be made early!