Croatian Heritage in Southeast Kansas special exhibit at Miners Hall Museum

Family photo is the Stimac children. Their parents emigrated from Crnilug, Croatia in 1899 and settled in West Mineral, Cherokee County to work in the coalfields. Photo provided by Miners Hall Museum.

Miners Hall Museum in Franklin, Kansas is proud to announce the 2023 Fourth Quarterly Exhibit, “Croatian Heritage in SE Kansas”, opening October 2 and continuing through December 23, 2023.

The exhibit will contain documents, family stories, clothing, photos, items typically found in a Croatian home and much more. Many of the items are on display courtesy of Strawberry Hill Museum & Cultural Center and George Barberich.

The exhibit is co-hosted by Phyllis (Liposek) Bitner and JoBeth Nastav, Administrative Director and Adrienne Nastav, President of Strawberry Hill Museum and Cultural Center, Kansas City. 

JoBeth Nastav, Administrative Director, Strawberry Hill Museum and Cultural Center, Kansas City, has lived on Strawberry Hill since she was 5 years old.  Her mother was always passionate about volunteering and she has carried on the tradition.  As a volunteer at the museum, over the years she has been a decorator, event planner, tour guide and general helper.  Last year the board voted to hire her as an on-site full time museum director.

Adrienne Nastav, President, Strawberry Hill Ethnic Cultural Society, LLC.  Adrienne’s involvement with the museum began with its inception in 1988. She was interested in preserving her Polish heritage and her husband’s Croatian heritage.  She took the position of Archive Director.  Throughout the 35 years, she has been rewarded with the knowledge and friendship of other ethnic volunteers with the same passion of keeping alive the heritage of their nationality.

Phyllis (Liposek) Bitner, Trustee, Miners Hall Museum Foundation. Phyllis is a Croatian descendant from the Stimac family.  The Stimacs emigrated to the US from Crnilug, Croatia in 1899 and settled in West Mineral, Cherokee County to work in the coalfields.

Strawberry Hill Museum and Cultural Center

In 1887, the Victorian home was built for John and Margaret Scroggs. It was one of the most outstanding examples of the Queen Anne Style to have erected in Kansas City, Kansas. The family lived there for 32 years.

In 1919, the St. John’s Orphanage was blessed and opened. The Victorian home was sold to the Sisters of St. Francis of Christ the King. The orphanage was in existence for 69 years.

In 1988, The Strawberry Hill Museum opened. The property was acquired by the Strawberry Hill Ethnic Cultural Society to promote and preserve the ethnic heritage prevalent in Kansas City, Kansas.

We invite you to stop in and learn more about Strawberry Hill and we encourage you to visit them on your next trip to Kansas City.

Special monthly programs scheduled for this exhibit include the following: 

  • October 22– “Croatian Music Yesterday and Today: A brief musical tour”.   Presented by Joe Baric. Joe will present a variety of music from Croatia and its diaspora. He will cover both old and new music from that area, along with a discussion of its history and context along with a Q&A session.  
  • November 12 – “Croatian Heritage” Presented by George Barberich.   George will cover several topics such as Croatian immigrants, employment, Croatian music & instruments, and many other subjects. He will also perform a few songs on the Taburitza and you can expect many other interesting topics. It will be followed by a Q and A session.
  • December 3 –  “Croatian Customs & Cuisine”  Further details about this program will be announced soon.

Miners Hall Museum is located at 701 S. Broadway, Franklin Kansas on Business 69 Highway.  Open Monday through Saturday 10am-4pm.  Admission to the museum and all programs associated with this exhibit are free to the public. We recommend calling if you plan to attend so we can arrange for adequate seating.  

Miners Hall Museum is dedicated to preserving and sharing Southeast Kansas coal mining history and its diverse immigrant culture.