Historic to Enlightening Attractions 

Chanute offers a wealth of exciting and enlightening diversions.

The Chanute Art Gallery, located in downtown Chanute, is a unique cultural treasure not found in many small towns. The gallery includes 1500-square feet of exhibit area, four art galleries, a classroom and a library. Its permanent core collection includes over 500 works of art, representing 25 mediums. Special exhibits rotate monthly. 

The Martin and Osa Johnson Safari Museum tells the adventurous life stories of two wildlife filmmakers, photographers and authors. From 1917 to 1936, Chanute native Osa Johnson and her husband Martin traveled through the South Seas, Borneo, and Africa. They became famous worldwide for their pioneering documentary movies and books. Today, this record of vanished cultures and wildlife is used by organizations ranging from National Geographic to Disney to the CBS “Survivor” program.

Located in Chanute’s beautifully renovated Santa Fe train depot, the museum presents the Johnson Exhibition and Imperato African Gallery, a spectacular collection of West African masks and objects. The museum also offers the Selsor Art Gallery of changing and traveling exhibits. Over the years, a number of related collections have been added to enhance and continue the Johnson’s goal of sharing the knowledge of natural history and cultural anthropology.

The Osa’s Ark Store sells a range of unique ethnic materials and collectibles along with copies of Johnson films and books, including Osa Johnson’s autobiography (the best-selling non-fiction book of 1940) – I Married Adventure.

Chanute’s Mexican Fiesta (held in Santa Fe Park) is a two-day historic celebration of Mexican heritage. Held annually in September, it’s the oldest Mexican Fiesta celebration in Kansas, and features Mexican cuisine and entertainment while celebrating the cultural significance of Chanute’s Mexican population. 

For more than three decades, local and area residents have enjoyed The Chanute Artist Alley Festival, which is held on the last Saturday of September. The festival includes live entertainment, a parade, train rides and more than 120 booths – featuring arts and craft vendors from all over the Midwest. In addition to the festival, Chanute Community Theatre also presents a three-day run of their annual musical production. Since 1979, CCT has provided quality entertainment to the public – including Hello Dolly, Oklahoma, The Wizard of Oz, Music Man, My Fair Lady, Into the Woods, Honk and many more outstanding theatrical offerings. Memorial Auditorium is home to the Chanute Community Theatre’s three annual productions, as well as the Chanute Concert Series, and hosts nationally known performers.

Constructed in 1872 and first located one mile east of Chanute on the Neosho River, the Austin Bridge is a 160-foot bowstring arch design bridge that is one of the beautiful and historic pieces of Chanute’s past. The bridge was vital to Chanute’s economic welfare, allowing farmers to get their crops and livestock to the Chanute railroads. The bridge was closed to vehicle traffic in 1972, and was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1977. In 1999, a federal grant and funding from Neosho County and the City of Chanute moved the bridge to Santa Fe Park, where it is now the southern terminus of a 3.11-mile hiking/bike path.

 

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