Custer's nephew's scalp, held by Lon Smith.

Scalp of Custer's Nephew

Field review by the editors.

Wichita, Kansas

Boosters of the youthful Museum of World Treasures call it "the Smithsonian of the Midwest," at least according Lon Smith (who also happens to be a museum employee and our guide). We don't know if we'd go that far, but the museum does have a lot crammed into what was an old warehouse, including a couple of shriveled Egyptian mummies, a shrunken head, some big dinosaur skeletons, a please-touch-me slab of the Berlin Wall, and lots of things signed by famous people. The place radiates a certain cheeriness, making its selective survey of Civilization seem just about right.

The most interesting exhibit, at least to us, is the scalp of Harry Armstrong Reed, Custer's "adventurous" 18-year-old nephew. He was killed along with his uncle at the battle of Little Big Horn. We didn't even know that Custer had a nephew, let alone one who left a body part to posterity, now tastefully displayed inside a glass case. Harry's job was to hold the 7th Calvary flagpole, which he reportedly did until the end. His scalp was found six weeks later, attached to the pole, in the camp of Chief Crazy Horse, and then through a series of private collectors eventually ended up here.

Slab of the Berlin Wall.

Scalp of Custer's Nephew

Museum of World Treasures

Address:
835 E. First St., Wichita, KS
Directions:
Museum of World Treasures. Downtown. I-135 exit 6C. Drive west on 2nd St. for a half-mile, go through the traffic light at Washington St., then make the next left onto Mosley St. The Museum is one block south, on the right, at the corner of Mosley and First.
Hours:
M-Sa 10 am - 5 pm, Su noon-5 pm. (Call to verify)
Phone:
316-263-1311
RA Rates:
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April 24, 2014

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