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Jun 01

Johnson County Museum unveils “Rising to the Challenge” exhibit in response to COVID-19 pandemic

Posted on June 1, 2020 at 2:08 PM by Becky Burnside

As our community joins together in the fight against COVID-19, the Johnson County Museum is seeking to inspire the community through its new temporary exhibit titled “Rising to the Challenge: Suburban Strength in Difficult Times.” The exhibit is filled with stories of our community rallying together in the face of economic hardship, natural disasters, war, and health crises. Time and time again, Johnson Countians have met crises with personal sacrifice, innovation and adaptation, strength and resilience, preparation and awareness, and reflection and remembrance. 

“In the midst of these challenging times, the Johnson County Museum is uniquely positioned to share stories to inspire our community, and to inspire them to rise to the challenge again,” Museum Director Mary McMurray said. “Our collection is filled with stories of personal sacrifice, working together, and overcoming the challenge at hand. The COVID-19 pandemic provides a new opportunity to learn about these stories and to be inspired by them.”

The exhibit is unique for the museum. It was developed over the course of the past few months, with staff working from home, limited hours in the office, and meeting virtually. “Just because the museum was closed to the public does not mean that the staff was idle,” Curator of Interpretation Andrew Gustafson said.  We were crafting an exhibit, and on an accelerated timeline!” 

In addition to highlighting past examples of community resiliency, the exhibit also connects to the museum’s recently-launched collecting initiative, “Collecting COVID-19.” Artifacts already collected are part of the exhibit, as is a call for the public to submit stories and ideas for documents, photographs, and objects at

“Rising to the Challenge: Suburban Strength in Difficult Times” will be on display in the Johnson County Arts & Heritage Center’s Cultural Commons when the Johnson County Museum begins its phased reopening plan on June 1.  There is no charge to view this exhibit. Throughout this phase, guests are asked to pre-register for museum tours. To learn more about the phased reopening plans and to register for a guided museum experience, including a look at the “Rising to the Challenge” exhibit, visit

The Johnson County Museum is a department of the Johnson County Park and Recreation District and is located within the Johnson County Arts & Heritage Center located at 8788 Metcalf Ave., Overland Park, Kan.