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Center for Great Plains Studies

Situated in the Tallgrass country near trails that opened the West and where the cowboys and cattle culture started, ESU has always considered the study of the grasslands as a primary responsibility to Kansas and the region. The responsibility became an exclusive one of ESU when the Kansas Board of Regents approved the Center for Great Plains Studies in 1977. ESU is the only university in the United States intended to inform, to interest, and to promote appreciation of the sprawling and colorful North American midcontinent grasslands.


Coughlen Natural AreaCoughlen Natural Area

Consists of 44 acres of tallgrass prairie located nine miles southwest of Emporia along the Kansas Turnpike. Undisturbed prairie, old fields in various stages of succession, a spring, a stream, and a small impoundment makes this a useful area for class field trips and for student research.


F.B. Ross and Rena G. Ross Natural History Reservation

This is a 200 acre outdoor classroom-laboratory located approximately 14 miles northwest of the university campus. This area was deeded to the university in 1961 by Mr. and Mrs. Felix B. Ross of Emporia. The primary functions of this reservation are to provide an area for education and research in the sciences and to preserve, in a natural state, a segment of the tall grass prairie community. In addition to the 200 acres deeded to the state, the Ross's have made available on a lease basis, adjoining tracts totaling 840 acres. The reservation contains a variety of habitat types among which are virgin tallgrass prairie, woods, old fields in various stages of succession, a prairie stream, a small lake, and a large pond. Physical facilities include two large classroom-laboratory buildings, a shelterhouse, small experimental ponds, a weather station, many animRoss Natural History Reservational enclosures, a 40-foot observation tower, wildlife feed patches, and two mobile units for short term overnight stays. In addition to the classes regularly scheduled at the reservation, numerous undergraduate and graduate researchKansas School Naturalist is produced from this area.


Johnson Geology MuseumJohnson Geology Museum

The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences maintains a teaching, research, and public display of geological specimens, predominantly of Kansas, in rooms 106 and 107 of Cram Science Hall (Johnson Geology Museum). The collection and program responsibilities reside in the Department of Physical Sciences.

The museum, which was dedicated in October of 1998, contains the Hamilton Quarry Fossil Assemblage, the Tri-State Mining Display, the Hawkins and Calkins Indian Artifact Collections, and a western Kansas fossil mosasaur, among other items.

 NTHF Museum

Jones Institute for Educational Excellence

The Jones Institute for Educational Excellence, housed within The Teachers College, contributes to the broad goals and mission of the college by providing school districts, state agencies, national organizations, and other groups with services such as the following:

  • Reading Recovery ® personnel training
  • Support and guidance for national teacher certification candidates
  • Analysis of present and future policy trends impacting education
  • Assistance with the development, editing, and printing of policy studies, education-related books, text materials, handbooks, articles, and brochures
  • Staff development through conferences, seminars, workshops, and in-service activities
  • Development of school improvement plans and curriculum plans
  • Development of demographic, financial, and facilities projections for school districts
  • Customized services and programs
  • Training and development programs
 Kansas Business Hall of Fame

Kansas Business Hall of Fame

The Kansas Business Hall of Fame recognizes Kansans who have distinguished themselves in business, leadership roles, philanthropy, and contribution to society. New inductees are announced each year at the annual meeting of the Kansas Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) meeting in Topeka. The Hall of Fame web site is

 Norman Eppink Art Gallery

Norman R. Eppink Art Gallery

A variety of exhibitions from museums, galleries, and artists, as well as works by the faculty and students of ESU are displayed in the Norman R. Eppink Art Gallery, located on the first floor of King Hall. These exhibitions provide students and faculty an opportunity to view historically important works of art and works by selected contemporary artists. Each year the gallery schedules an annual art faculty exhibition and an annual art student exhibition. Also, each year the art gallery organizes and hosts the National Invitational Drawing Exhibition which features selected works in drawing media by prominent American artists. Often exhibiting artists participate as visiting artists and speak at the weekly Wednesday Art Forums.


Peterson Planetarium

This is an instructional and service facility within the broad domain of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. It is located in the basement of Cram Science Hall. Administrative and program responsibilities reside within the Division of Physical Sciences. The planetarium was remodeled in 1995-96 and contains a state-of-the-art projector.

The planetarium, a unique visual aid, enables a graphic presentation of many astronomical concepts or principles: daily and annual motion of celestial objects, astronomical coordinate systems, and stellar and constellation identification. The planetarium may also be used as a setting for consideration of many cultural concepts related to humankind's heritage.

A number of public lectures of general interest are planned for each academic year. There is a nominal charge for admission to these programs


Reading WoodsReading Woods

Acquired by the University in 1971, Reading Woods is the western most penetration of a segment of the eastern deciduous forest brome in Kansas; it is located about 15 miles northeast of Emporia (1/2 mile west and 1 1/2 miles north of Reading). Because of its unique plant and animal life , ecology and geology, it is kept as a preserve in a relatively undisturbed state. University use of this land is limited to class research studies by faculty members and students through approval by the Division of Biological Sciences.


Schmidt Natural History MuseumSchmidt Natural History Museum

The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences maintains for teaching, research, and public display, comprehensive collections of extant vertebrates collected throughout the state of Kansas (Schmidt Natural History Museum). These are housed in the basement of Breukelman Science Hall. A research collection of bird and mammal skins from various parts of the world is maintained in the bird-mammal range and is used primarily by advanced students, visiting scientists, and faculty.


University Archives

Emporia State University Archives was established by charter in 1987, and serves as the repository of record for the University and the administrative center for numerous heritage collections relevant to the University’s history or in support of the academic disciplines explored by faculty, students and others throughout the scholarly community. Significant holdings include the personal papers of William Allen White, a multiple-Pulitzer winning journalist, political advisor of nine US Presidents, and friend of hundreds of literary, art, science and political figures of the early 20th Century; and the memorial collection of art and manuscripts documenting the career and influence of May Massee, who, in the early 20th Century, established two of the first three children’s book divisions in American publishing houses, and whose stable of authors and illustrators won a higher percentage of major awards for their works than any publishing house has achieved since. Other collections include the Walter M. Andersen Collection, an extensive photography collection tracing the history of the railroad in Kansas; and such unquestionably unique items as a scrapbook of observations made of Woodrow Wilson when he was President of Princeton by a student in his jurisprudence class (later a History professor at ESU); and a scrapbook of photos and correspondence concerning the 19th Century British and American friends and associates of a large American landowner’s family, including Queen Victoria and her consort, Prince Albert, several of their children, British authors Alfred Lord Tennyson and Sir Walter Scott, US President John Quincy Adams and many, many others.

The Archives Catalog is available for research.

Although the May Massee gallery is temporarily closed, the May Massee Collection is available for research via appointments from 8-5 M-F.  To schedule an appointment, please contact Michelle Franklin, Reading Room Supervisor, at 620-341-5676 or  Pending current facilities renovation, all other collections are available through research service by e-mailing or calling 620-341-6431.  For additional information about any of the collections held by the Special Collections and Archives, please contact Ashley Todd-Diaz, Curator, at 620-341-5034 or at