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September 2017 Events at the Eisenhower Presidential
Library & Museum

Chisholm Trail 150th anniversary logo.

Celebrating the Chisholm Trail and Ike's Love of the West


To combat low cattle prices in Texas, Joseph McCoy chose Abilene, Kansas as a cattle shipping railhead at the end of the Chisholm Trail. On September 5, 1867, the first longhorns were loaded in Abilene and shipped east by rail.  Abilene became an active cowtown, and both Abilene and the Chisholm Trail became famous through dime novels, campfire stories, cowboy songs and, eventually, movies and television.  This weekend, September 2-3, Trails, Rails and Tales celebrates Abilene’s heritage as an Old West cattle town and the 150th anniversary of the Chisholm Trail. The Eisenhower Foundation and the Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum have partnered with Trails, Rails and Tales to provide several free western themed activities at the Eisenhower campus, highlighted below.  Other ticketed events will take place just across the street from the Eisenhower campus at Old Abilene Town. 

Fort Riley, Kansas, Commanding General's Mounted Color Guard

Ft. Riley Mounted Color Guard and
U.S. Cavalry Civil War Encampment 

Saturday, September 2 | 12:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. |
Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum Campus


On Saturday, September 2, as part of Abilene, Kansas' celebration of the 150th anniversary of the Chisholm Trail, the Fort Riley Commanding General's Mounted Color Guard demonstration team will perform at 1:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. on the Eisenhower Presidential campus grounds. They will also set up a United States Cavalry Civil War Encampment. Established in 1992, the Commanding General's Mounted Color Guard provides a link to Fort Riley's historic past. Troopers and horses of this unit are outfitted in the uniforms, accoutrements and equipment of the Civil War period. From privates to officers, these men and women recreate the colorful spectacle of the American Horse Soldier.  Visit with these soldiers about their passion to bring history to life, and thank them for their service. 

"Abilene Town" movie poster from 1946 starring Randolph Scott

Chisholm Trail 150th: Mooovie Marathon

Saturday, September 2 | 1:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. 
Sunday, September 3 | 12:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Visitors Center Auditorium 


In observance of the 150th anniversary of the Chisholm Trail and Abilene's western heritage as the first Kansas railhead at the end of that famous cattle trail, the Visitors Center auditorium will host a free "Mooovie Marathon"
on Saturday, September 2 and Sunday, September 3.


Saturday, September 2:

1:00 p.m. - American Lawmen: Tom Smith ( 1hr., 17 min.)
2:30 p.m. - Abilene Town (1 hr., 29 min.) Randolph Scott, Ann Dvorak
4:00 p.m. - The Old Chisholm Trail (1hr.) Johnny Mack Brown, Mady Correll, Tex Ritter


Sunday, September 3:

12:00 p.m. - South of the Chisholm Trail (1 hr., 37 min.) Charles Starrett, Nancy Saunders
  2:00 p.m. - Showdown at Abilene (1 hr., 20 min.) Jack Mahoney, Martha Hyer


Why We Fight documentary film poster, with photo of President Eisenhower giving his televised Farewell Address.

Why We Fight Documentary

Monday, September 11 | 7:00 p.m. | Visitors Center Auditorium


In 1961, as Dwight D. Eisenhower gave his final address as President of the United States, he warned America to guard against the  "military-industrial complex."  In this 2006 documentary, as the United States found itself waging a war in Iraq, filmmaker Eugene Jarecki offers an in-depth look at how the United States readied itself for battle, and why and how the nation goes to war. Named for Frank Capra's famed series of Defense Department films, which explained the motives behind America's entry into World War II, "Why We Fight" features interviews with foot soldiers, Pentagon personnel, decorated veterans, members of Congress, national security advisors, top military strategists, and many more as they talk about the core philosophies of American military strategy and how they have changed since the end of World War II.

New Traveling Exhibit Opens

Cowboy equipment in the traveling exhibit The Chisholm Trail: Driving the American West

The Chisholm Trail: Driving the American West

August 24 - October 12 | Library Lobby


This traveling exhibit, a collaboration between Symphony in the Flint Hills and Flint Hills Design in partnership with Lost Trail Soda, invites visitors of all ages to explore the Chisholm Trail from its inception in the 1860s to today. The Chisholm Trail revitalized the cattle industry following the Civil War, and gave rise to the iconic American cowboy. Exhibit highlights include an interactive musical exploration of the scores of verses to the cowboy song, “The Old Chisholm Trail,” video and audio clips of movies and songs that reference the Chisholm Trail. Younger visitors can create their own brands with the "Brand Your Beeves" interactive station.

Explore These Continuing Temporary Exhibits 

Eisenhower with a horse

Chisholm Trail and the Cowtown that Raised a President

Exhibit in the Museum Temporary Gallery until May 2018


Celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Chisholm Trail, which brought nearly two million cattle from Texas to the railhead in Abilene, Kansas, between 1867 and 1871. See rare artifacts and historic photographs. Learn about the square meal, the real McCoy, origins of the cowboy boot, and “the wickedest town in the West.” Discover stories behind the legends of T.C. McInerney, Bear River Smith, and Wild Bill Hickok among others. Find out why Dwight Eisenhower developed a love for all things western in the Cowtown that raised a President!

World War I poster and uniform

Eisenhower and the Great War

Exhibit in the Upstairs Library Gallery until May 2018


War erupted in Europe in 1914 and soon involved nations around the globe. The Great War, as it became known shocked the world with its massive scope and the industrial-like slaughter created by advances in military technology. The United States reluctantly joined the conflict in 1917 and began to build a large professional army from the ground up. One of the young officers who helped in this endeavor was a lieutenant by the name of Dwight Eisenhower. Eisenhower showed remarkable talent for organization and leadership during the years of American involvement in the war. Tasked with training thousands of inexperienced troops in the new and untested art of armored warfare, Eisenhower quickly built a strong and motivated group of soldiers while overcoming severe obstacles and setbacks. This exhibit tells the story of the Great War and its influence on Eisenhower’s leadership abilities. World War I, as it would become known later in the century, proved critical to the making of this American Icon.

Unless noted, all programs are free and open to the public, thanks to your generous support.

The mission of the Eisenhower Foundation is to honor and champion the relevance today of the life and leadership of Dwight D. Eisenhower through compelling programs and events that celebrate his legacy.

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