Fick Fossil Museum in Oakley

(Frank) Yes. I think we’re coming back. [pause] They let us come back. (Deb) They keep asking for it. I don’t know. [laughs]. (Frank) This is Around Kansas by the way in case you’ve just tuned in so I’m Frank, that’s Deb and so here we are. (Deb) So (Frank) I’m the old fossil. Speaking of– (Deb) [laughs] It’s like we were sitting around at a conference a couple of weeks ago with some old friends and one of my friends said something about giving away how old he was by music and different things that you’re interested in. I said, No, it was the carbon dating that gave away how old you were. So yes, I’m pretty merciless. But speaking of fossils, great said by Frank. That was awesome. We’ve got, in Kansas we are so fortunate to have so many museums with really, really cool fossil exhibits and in my new hometown of Oakley there’s one of the best, the Fick Fossil Museum. Have you ever stopped there? (Frank) No. (Deb) Well, you and Michael are going to have to just get on the road one day and just take a trip and hit all the places that we’ve shared on here. But it’s wonderful. It’s adjacent to the library in downtown Oakley. So the library is one wing and then the Fick Fossil Museum’s on the other. And so the museum, and we’ll talk about it in the segment, has fossils. But they’ve also got a lot of other really cool things and traveling exhibits. And Jodie, who runs the museum, is just amazing. She does a wonderful job, and she’ll make you feel so welcome and if she doesn’t know the answers, well, she’s got the library right across her hall, and she would go over there and find out for you. So it’s just a great place and great folks and the kids love it. Love it, love it, love it. (Frank) And Oakley is where its way out there. (Deb) Four hours from Topeka. It is I think at mile marker 76 on I70. But if you get out there, if you’re from this part of the state or another part of the state, spend the night. Take some time. It’s right there on the Western Vistas Historic Byway. And there’s a lot to see and do on that byway. So take advantage. You know, the new byway program that the state’s doing, that’s pretty cool, and they were so designated because they’ve got some cool stuff along the way. (Frank) Let’s go visit some of my ancestors. [laughter] (Karla) People don’t generally associate Kansas with the ocean, but Kansas was a very different place 80 million years ago when an inland sea stretched from
the Arctic Ocean to the Gulf of Mexico, and Kansas was under water. By 1964, this vast ocean was long gone, of course. It was then that Oakley-area residents, Ernest and Vi Fick, started to seriously collect the fossils left by the ancient creatures that inhabited this prehistoric sea. By 1971, they had collected thousands of shark teeth and complete fossils. Soon, their collection had outgrown their home. The Fick Fossil and History Museum was established to showcase the Fick family’s findings and artwork. It allows you to walk through the history of Logan County from the Prehistoric era, amid sharks teeth and fossils, to the replicas of Oakley’s board sidewalks during the Dust storms of the 1930’s. Most of the fossils in the museum were found within the vicinity of the Fick’s homestead near Oakley. Vi combined fossils and shells with oil painting to create one-of-a-kind artwork. These folk-art paintings are prominently featured in the museum. The museum houses replicas of Oakley’s first Depot, a sod house, Prather’s Creamery, and Oakley’s General Store. The museum also houses a large, impressive collection of rocks and minerals from the area as well as around the world, including the remains of ancient tombs! Among its more than 11,000 sharks teeth and many fossils there is the world’s oldest known mosasaur fossil, prepared by well-known fossil-hunter George Sternberg. Displays by local artists and collectors are on exhibit monthly, and traveling exhibits often visit the museum. The Fick Fossil Museum is adjacent to the Oakley Public Library.