Kibbe Museum offers Lincoln and local history along with a few agricultural surprises as well.

Kibbe Museum offers Lincoln and local history along with a few agricultural surprises as well.

The Kibbe Hancock Heritage Museum is located in Carthage, Illinois across the street from the historic jail where Joseph Smith, leader of the Mormon settlement at Nauvoo, Illinois was murdered. The Kibbe Museum was created by Dr. Alice Kibbe who was curator of the Carthage College. Dr. Kibbe stayed behind with the museum items she purchased when the college moved to Kenosha Wisconsin. Howard Perry one of the board members said, she felt the museum should stay in Carthage so she bought the collection and put the museum in her house. After she passed away, she deeded both her home and collection to the city of Carthage.”

I went to the museum in mid-April to view Ken Coffman’s wonderful 1/8th scale farm toy collection which is on display through June. Over the years Coffman collected all of the 1/8th scale models made although he says he doesn’t have each model variation. “I am one of the few that has a full set,” Coffman added. “The 1/8th scale didn’t become real popular because of the size, although implement dealers liked them to display in their show rooms.

I interviewed Ken for a Farm World story and Toy Farmer profile and enjoyed the many items the museum had to offer.

Lincoln is present throughout this museum and I learned many interesting facts that I didn’t know before like some of his campaign enthusiasts were part of a young men’s marching group called the Wide Awakes. There is a rare cape from that group on display along with an 18-Star Hand Sewn flag that was made especially for a speech he made in Carthage in October 22, 1858 speech in Carthage. “The flag represented the 18 slave free states,” Perry said.

I also enjoyed the Indian artifacts and the military collection that had an unusual pistol, a Pirate Flintlock pistol from 1590 that belonged to a pirate. Perry told the story of some distant relatives of his that rescued a pirate. The relative ran a trading vessel line from Baltimore to Baltimore to New Orleans. They found the pirate on a wooden raft, nursed him back to health and released him in the East Indies. The pirate gave them a brace of pistols as thanks for not turning him into the authorities. One of these pistols is on display today.
There is always a “find” for everyone when they visit a store, a museum or a special display. For me, one of the neatest items at the Kibbe museum was this amazing John Deere open buggy built in 1900 in St. Louis. Perry shared, “It was built for a fellow in LaPlata, Missouri then was owned by the Morrison family of Bowen, Illinois. It was given to the museum in June of 2009.”

If you are up for a cool museum and a stop that could also include the Joseph Smith history, plan a trip to Carthage and visit the Kibbe Museum. Spring hours for the museum are 1 to 4 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday and the last two Sundays of each month from 1 to 4 p.m. or by appointment. Starting after Memorial Day, the museum is open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday and from noon to 4 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. Call 217-357-9552 to schedule an appointment or log onto for more information. The museum is located at 306 Walnut Street, Carthage Illinois, 1 block south of Highway 136, just south of the Historic Carthage Jail.

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