The stately Kaw Mission, located among a grove of trees along the Neosho River
, was built in 1850 as a mission school for children of the Kansa Tribe - the Native American
for whom Kansas is named. Thousands of freight wagons once poured down the Santa Fe Trail near the Methodist mission where Kaw children from the reservation lived and studied. Efforts to influence the Native Americans were largely ineffective, so the missionaries turned their attention to educating white students. A visit to the site begins with an audio-visual orientation about the history and significance of the site. Artifacts from the Kansa or Kaw people are displayed along with antiques and documents from old Council Grove
. Modernized in 1926 by the tenth child of the first missionary couple, the building has rare rosewood woodwork and crystal chandeliers. The museum store provides gift items related to the mission and Kansas history.