Frequently Asked Questions

How much time should I allow for a tour?

* Most people spend about an hour in the Museum and thirty minutes in the Old Jail, but this is entirely dependent on interest level and can vary widely. You will have the option of a self-directed tour of the Museum or you can opt to be guided by a docent. All jail tours are docent guided.

May I take photos?

*You are free to take photographs in either the Museum or the Jail.

How do I donate money or items to the museum? Are my donations tax deductible?

*Items donated to the museum are tax deductible, provided you have an acceptable appraisal for tax purposes. Your monetary donations are tax deductible, although your membership is not since it includes free admission to the museum.

Can the museum tell me how much my object is worth?

*The museum is not licensed to provide appraisals of any sort, although we can sometimes direct you to a knowledgeable professional.

How is the museum funded?

*The Museum and the Bushwhacker Jail are owned by the Vernon County Historical Society, which is a non-profit 501-(c)3 corporation. Operating funds are derived wholly from membership fees and admissions, bookstore sales, donations and endowments. Therefore, donations are both welcome and necessary for our continued operation.

Is there a café at the museum?

*There are no food facilities of any sort at the Museum, but we will be happy to direct you to local restaurants or even make reservations for you. There are several locations within walking distance of the Museum. Another option for larger groups is to have a lunch catered at the Museum. This requires 4 days advance notice and payment.

Does the museum take volunteers? What kind of help is needed?

*The Museum needs all types of volunteers. From May to October, the most pressing need is for docents. Docents are guides who greet visitors and show them around. Most docents work one day a week for 3 hours, either in the morning or the afternoon.

Those not as comfortable with public contact can find plenty to do behind the scenes. Volunteers are needed to accession new acquisitions, clean, label, and store artifacts, and create displays. During the off-season, volunteers also clean, sweep, paint, perform basic carpentry and electrical work and generally get the museum in shape for the next season. If you think you would like to help, please give us a call at 417-667-9602 or e-mail us at

What is a bushwhacker anyway?

*A bushwhacker was the term used to denote a confederate guerrilla fighter during the Civil War period. Most were everyday citizens fighting in the only way they knew how to protect their homes and families. Some were outlaws, using the war as an excuse for local violence. The term was probably a consolidation of the word “ambush”, which has been defined as “a surprise attack made from a concealed position” and “whack”, meaning to kill someone.