Boot Hill Museum begins its summer program Memorial Day weekend, but on Thursday, Miss Kittys, can-can dancers and gunfighters were scattered about the grounds.

Visitors got a chance to enjoy them all — along with a hamburger dinner — as the museum hosted a party to start their 70th anniversary.

"We got a good crowd," said museum director Lara Brehm. "I think the threat of severe weather kept some people away, but we were pleased with the number of people who came out to help us celebrate our 70th year.

"This was as much a customer appreciation event as it was anything else."

Brehm said the audiences got a chance to meet many of the Variety Show entertainers and gunfighters.

"We had two of our three Miss Kittys here as well as five can-can dancers," Brehm said. "Plus, we got a gunfight in before any weather got in, so we were glad everyone could make it."

The guests of honor were four original members of the can-can dancers from the 1969 inaugural Variety Show.

"There’s a lot of changes from the original show to now," Brehm said. "Back then, many of the store fronts still sold retail.

"These ladies haven’t been back to Dodge City that often. It was wonderful to have them back.

The museum also got a chance to show off some of the newest exhibits.

"We’re about three-quarters done with our renovations," the director said. "We got to unveil some of the new gun exhibits and the hand restraint exhibit donated to us by the Kansas Sheriff’s Association.

"We’ve got a few more exhibits to finish up, including the Bat Masterson watch, and I’m guessing it’ll take most of the summer to finish the renovations."

More special events are planned throughout the anniversary year.

"We’ll have something special when the watch goes on display," Brehm said. "Plus, we will celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Variety Show and it being the theme of Dodge City Days.

"It’s going to be a big year for us at Boot Hill Museum."

 

Contact the writer by email at rbluhm@dodgeglobe.com.