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Jesse James Birthplace Museum
Ranked #1 of 3 things to do in Kearney
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: 1-2 hours
Owner description: Jesse James, son of a Baptist minister, was born at the family home in Kearney, Missouri, in 1847. Barely 16, he followed his older brother, Frank, into the Civil War. While Frank was a member of Quantrill’s guerillas, Jesse rode with Bloody Bill Anderson. When the war ended, Jesse returned home and joined other former Confederate guerillas in a life of outlawry. Jesse’s boldness and flamboyance as a bank and train robber, combined with sensational publicity from newspapers and dime novels, soon made his a household name. A tour through the restored home will take visitors back to where the legend began. Before walking the trail to the farmhouse, a twenty minute movie recaps the history of Frank and Jesse James and exploits of the outlaws. The museum displays the world’s largest collection of James family artifacts. Jesse’s boots and Frank’s surrender letter tend to captivate visitors. Guests then follow the paved winding trail to the farmhouse and walk along the creek where, as young boys, Frank and Jesse spent much of their time playing. In the yard of the family home is Jesse’s original burial site, the place where his mother once sold souvenir rocks from his grave for twenty five cents. Upon completion of the tour guests will want to browse the museum's gift shop. A wide variety of books relating to the period are available as well as t-shirts, mugs, and many other souvenir keepsakes. The Jesse James Farm and Museum is owned and operated by the Department of Clay County Parks, Recreation, Historic Sites and Tourism.
Useful Information: Wheelchair access, Bathroom facilities
Prairie Village, KS
Level 6 Contributor
94 reviews
11 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 132 helpful votes
Reviewed June 19, 2013

Missouri is rich with Civil War history and the Jesse James Farm is yet another site with great stories from that era. The tour is very interesting. We've toured numerous other historic sites around town, all of which are intriguing in their own way, but there are a lot of crazy things that actually happened in this house and on this farm. Worth checking out.

Visited June 2013
Thank Gruntlumber
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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115 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Southwest Virginia
Level 6 Contributor
231 reviews
107 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 411 helpful votes
“Really Enjoyable and Interesting”
Reviewed June 3, 2013

I visited the Jesse James James Farm and Museum while in the Area for the 2013 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament. Located in Kearney, the Jesse James Farm is only about a 45-minute drive from Downtown Kansas City. Visiting in March, I was the only guest. I started my tour with the movie about Jesse and his family that was very interesting and helped me understand some of the important event that took place not only on the property but in the surrounding area. After the movie, I was greeted by my tour guide who escorted me on the short walk from the Visitors Center to the farm House. Again, I was the only guest which made me feel like I was getting a personal tour. The tour was more of a conversation than a scripted tour you often get. My guide was a young lady who was very knowledgeable and more than willing to answer and discuss any question that I had. Because I was the only guest my formal tour of the house last about 45-minutes. No photo are permitted inside the house, but you can take as many as you want outside. Once the formal tour is over visitors are free to stay and walk the grounds for as long as they want. Locate in the back yard of the farm house is the original grave of Jesse James, after his mother’s death Jesse was re-buried next to her in Mount Olivet Cemetery in Kearney. As you walk up the path to the farm house visitors will see a horse shoe buried in the front walk way. This horse shoe was place there by Frank James when he lived on the property and gave tours to visitors. It is said to be from his favorite horse, Old Dan. After completing my tour of the property I made my way back to the Visitors Center and toured the small museum which has a very large number of personal artifacts from the James Family including what is left of the original tombstone and handles from the Original coffin. All in all I spent about 2-hour at the farm before making my way back to Kearney and a quick stop at the Mount Olivet Cemetery where Jesse is buried next to his Mother and wife, both named Zarelda, his Step-father, Dr. Reuben Samuels and his half-brother Archie Samuels. Very interesting place and I would recommend it to anyone who is in the area.

Visited March 2013
5 Thank SneakinDeacon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Liberty, Missouri
Level 3 Contributor
19 reviews
9 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
“accurate History”
Reviewed May 17, 2013

We loved visiting. Very interesting seeing the family artifacts . The video at the beginning was helpful. The tour guide was wonderful and gave us a lot of information. We enjoyed walking the property afterwards. If you like history or are an "outlaw fan" you will love this.

Visited April 2013
Thank sungoddess34
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Independence, Missouri
Level 6 Contributor
128 reviews
34 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 64 helpful votes
“The whole family enjoyed”
Reviewed May 6, 2013

The tour and artifacts at the Farm/Museum are very interesting. There is some walking to do on the property so make sure you are ready for that. We have taken visitors here and everyone has always enjoyed the visit to the JJ Farm/Museum. The guides are excellent and can answer most questions quickly and accurately.

Thank royalmay
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Temple Hills, Maryland
Level 6 Contributor
226 reviews
72 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 110 helpful votes
“James Farm”
Reviewed April 17, 2013

Very cool when you step into the first room of the house. A must for outlaw/crime history fans. Staff was very welcoming and informative. Lots of James family items in the musuem and house.

Visited April 2013
1 Thank jedivader
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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