The National Trails Museum, at 318 W. Pacific Ave. in Independence, opened 30 years ago in what remained of the former Waggoner-Gates Mill following a 1967 explosion and fire.
The museum tells the stories of the trails of westward exploration and expansion: the Santa Fe, Oregon and California trails as well as the Mormon Trail and the Lewis and Clark journey. It also boasts a research library with more than 3,000 volumes, including original diaries and letters.
The museum has several events coming up to mark its anniversary. All celebration events except the banquet and painting parties are free, and all events except the banquet and merchant crawls will be at the museum.
• Trail movie nights: 6 p.m. March 6 and 27. Watch the 1951 movie “Westward the Women,” starring Robert Taylor and Denise Darcel. The movie tells the story of a group of women determined to cross the country to California after they had been recruited to join a new settlement.
• Cabin sneak peeks: 2 p.m., March 8 and 29. Aaron Hagood of Hagood Construction, which dismantled and reconstructed the Pioneer Spring Cabin for its new location next to the Trails Museum, will host a pair of cabin viewings. Museum staff still must fit out the cabin for visitor display, but Eric Urfer, director of the Parks, Recreation and Tourism, said the project has cost less than $125,000.
• Painting parties: 10 a.m. March 7 and 6 p.m. March 19, hosted by Friends board member and local artist Sarah Tucker Poff. Cost is $20, and reservations are required. Call the museum at 816-325-7575.
• 1842 Merchant Crawl: 10 a.m., March 14 and 28, Mike Calvert will lead a stroll around Square, highlighting merchants of 1842 Independence, right as migration through the city along the westward trails started to build. Participants will meet at the southeast corner of Main Street and Maple Avenue.
• 30th Anniversary Celebration Banquet: 6 p.m. March 21, Hilton Garden Inn, 19677 E. Jackson Drive. The keynote speaker will be William Patrick O'Brien, author of “Merchants of Independence: International Trade on the Santa Fe Trail 1827-1860.” The cost is $40 per person, and RSVP is requested by March 14. Call the museum at 816-325-7575 for more information.
• “Pioneer Song,” an original musical: 2-4 p.m. March 22. The musical, performed by Idaho-based Great Bear Folk Theatre, is about a trek along the Oregon Trail in 1849.