The Bushwhacker Museum and Jail
212 West Walnut, Nevada, Missouri 64772
The Mission of the Vernon County Historical Society is to present the history of Nevada and Vernon County from the Native American period through the twentieth century by means of the Old Jail Historic Site, and the Bushwhacker Historical Museum. The Society is committed to vitalizing the history of Nevada and Vernon County for the benefit of all, with special emphasis on local young people and students.
The Museum is not just another “county history museum,” but rather a one-of-a-kind regional historical study center, where local and national history connect…where past, present, and future meet.
The Bushwhacker Jail (National Register of Historic Places)
For 100 years, spanning the Civil War and the postwar outlaw era, the Vernon County Jail consisted of a single stone building. The structure was designed for incarceration and not rehabilitation. A single light bulb lit the cellblock, and the building was heated with one central pot-bellied stove. The sparse conditions earned the jail the title of “cell of medieval malevolence.” Prisoners offered to serve a double sentence if they could be transferred to the state penitentiary. The last prisoners left the building in December 1960. Today, visitors can walk along the cellblock and the attached Sheriff’s home, which served as the residence for the jailer and his family.
The Bushwhacker Museum
The Museum’s building was originally constructed in 1920 as a Ford garage and agency.
Today, the large brick Urner-Moss building is the home of the Nevada Public Library and Bushwhacker Museum. The museum consists of 13,000 sq. feet of exhibits, storage and workspace. The gallery features exhibits on the Osage Indians, the American Civil War, Vernon County military history and community and regional topics that spotlight the history and heritage of Vernon County.
Vernon County Historical Society actively supports researchers at all levels. Their extensive archive (featuring genealogy, local history, early exploration and settlement and the Border War / American Civil War) is accessible to the public through advance appointment. Each year the museum hosts activities at the middle school and high school level to enhance their understanding of local history. Museum staff also works with college students to develop curatorial skills and assist with higher level research. Contact the Bushwhacker Museum to schedule a research visit.
Hours of Operation:
May 5th to October 31st
Tuesday through Saturday
10:00 – 4:00
Closed July 4th