Ruth W. Towne Museum

Did you know you can visit the Ruth W. Towne Museum right here in your own back yard?  The Ruth Towne Museum is located at the corner of Normal and Franklin Street, 100 E. Normal and shares the building with the Admissions office of Truman State University.  It is open Monday through Friday 8 am to 5 pm and several Saturdays.  Visiting the museum is a great way to learn and appreciate Missouri history, Kirksville history and the history of Truman State University.

Dr. Ruth Warner Towne was a long time and dedicated member of the Truman State University faculty.  She was born in Kirksville in 1917 and attended Kirksville public schools where she graduated as valedictorian from Kirksville High School.   A 1939 graduate of Truman, Dr. Towne taught school, obtained her PHD in 1953 at University of Missouri in Columbia and began teaching at  what was then called  the Kirksville State Teacher’s College in 1951.  She served as a member of the history faculty for over 40 years, and was Dean of Graduate Studies from 1983-1988. She was an advisor to the Delta Zeta sorority for many years and was also an active member of the First United Methodist Church in Kirksville.

Dr. Towne loved the University and dedicated her life to teaching and guiding its students. In 1992 she presented the campus with a gift of four bronze bells and a carillon for the Pickler Memorial Library clock tower in memory of her parents. With her generous gift for this museum, Dr. Towne asked for a focus on American history and in particular the history of northeast Missouri.

My favorite exhibit is  the parlor chair and marble topped table belonging to Dr. Towne’s grand parents.   The other exhibit that I like is the antique school desks. Each one contains a round hole for the ink well.  The desks exemplify the history of the University as a training place for teachers, which was the main focus of this University for over a century.

Next time your here the chimes ringing from the clock tower of Pickler Library on campus think of the generous teacher and philanthropist, Dr. Ruth Warner Towne, right here in our own back yard.