The Riley County Historical Museum hosts several outreach exhibits around the county as well as at the museum throughout the year. All exhibits are free and open to the public normal business hours. Outreach locations include the Riley County Office Building lobby and the Riley County Courthouse.
Service over There, Support over Here: Riley County during World War I
The Riley County Historical Museum opened a new exhibit on November 1st, 2017, commemorating the 100th anniversary of the United States’ entry into World War I. The exhibit features photographs, documents, and artifacts related to Riley Countians who served. This exhibit will run through Veteran’s Day, 2018, which marks the 100th anniversary of the Armistice signed between the Allies of WWI and Germany, ending the Great War.
One of the most prominent objects on display is the large service plaque (also known as the service flag) created in 1918 with the hand-painted names of 1,009 Riley Countians who served during the war.
Many relatives of the individuals listed on the plaque still reside in Riley County today.
Another name found on the service plaque includes Captain Hile B. Rannells. Born in Manhattan in 1890, Rannells served as a captain in the Coast Artillery Corps during the war. Rannells’ uniform, helmet, dog tags, and identification card are on display. Prior to the war, Rannells worked as a rancher, an occupation he resumed after the war ended. Just south of Manhattan, land known as the Rannells Ranch was assigned to the Kansas State University Livestock and Meat Industry Council for research purposes in 1984. The land was named the Hilas Bay Rannells Flint Hills Prairie Preserve, named for Hile’s father.