History of the Museum
The $2.325 million facility, formerly the Kirksville Fire Station, was financed through a combination of gifts through the Truman State University Foundation and University funds. The naming gift was received through a $1 million bequest from Dr. Ruth Waner Towne in December 1999. A portion of Dr. Towne’s bequest was earmarked for construction, with the majority designated as endowment to provide a lasting resource for museum operations and improvements.
At the time, Dr. Towne’s bequest was the largest gift ever received by Truman State University. She retired from Truman in 1988 as professor emeritus of history and dean emeritus of graduate studies following a 36-year teaching career at the University.