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                                       Our Staff


                                                                    Austin Anders

                                                                     (785) 263.2681


     Austin Anders grew up in rural Dickinson County and his parents owned a historic farmstead built in the 1880’s. From a young age history was a part of  his everyday life.  

     Austin Attended Chapman High School,  graduating in 2006. After high school he attended McPherson College and received a degree in Automotive Restoration and Business Management. He worked for a few years in a restoration shop.  In 2016, he returned to this area and began volunteering for the Dickinson County Historical Society. 

     Austin was later hired in June 2021, as the Director of the Dickinson County Historical Society.

     In Austin's spare time, he can be found tinkering on antique cars or tractors and enjoys attending local heritage festivals and presentations. 


                                                           Andrew Pankratz

                                                           (785 263.2681


     Andrew Pankratz, son of Trudy Pankratz and the late Herb Pankratz, was born and raised in Abilene.  He graduated from Abilene High School in May 2007.  Andrew attended Tabor College in Hillsboro, Kansas for four years (2007-2011) and earned his Bachelor of Arts degree, with a major in history and a minor in English. 

     After graduating there in May 2011, he attended Emporia State University, where he received his Master of Arts in history in May 2015.  His master’s thesis, “‘We Are All Americans:’ Kansas Mennonites and Patriotism During World War I,” explored the experiences of Marion and Harvey County, Kansas Mennonites during the involvement of the United States in World War I (1917-1918) on the home front.

     During the spring of 2015, he worked at the Jeffcoat Museum and then transferred to the Heritage Center in June 2015.  He is in charge of the processing and accessioning of incoming artifacts, producing an inventory of their collections, designing and installing new exhibits, and various other duties.  

                                                           Office Manager                              

                                                                Dana Eye
















 Dana Eye is a true Kansan…born, raised and still here!  She grew up in Satanta, Kansas, and currently lives in Abilene.  She served as Solomon City councilmember for 6 years, then retired as City Clerk with 20 years of service.  She also spent 17 years as the Environmental Administrator of Sunbelt-Solomon. 

     Currently, Dana works as the Office Manager for the Dickinson County Historical Society in Abilene.  Dana’s love of history and office management skills are a welcome addition to the Historical Society.

     Dana enjoys adventures with her husband Dan, working on home improvement and landscaping projects, listening to music, reading and playing with her dogs. She has a 3 grown daughters and a son, as well as 10 grandchildren.

                                                           Facility Manager                              

                                                            Wade Needham


   Wade Needham serves as the Facility Manager at the Heritage Center.  He was born and raised in Abilene Kansas, graduated from Abilene High School in 1977 and attended the Vo-Tech at Beloit for one year.  Following that, he worked for a construction framing crew and then went to work for Memorial Health System Ambulance service for five years, starting in November 1978.  In 1983 he moved into the maintenance department and took over as the Maintenance Manager in 1996, retiring in 2015.  He served on the Dickinson County Historical Society board of directors from 2010 to 2016 and began working as a volunteer here, until he became a member of the paid staff in 2017.

   Wade has served as a volunteer firefighter for Abilene, since 1989 and still continues in that capacity and also serves as  a Safety Officer.

Wade and his wife, Lola, currently reside in Abilene.  Wade has two step children, Chad and Pam, and he has four grandkids and four great-grandkids.  In his spare time, he enjoys woodworking and camping.


                  Board of Trustees 2024


                Larry Sorenson       



                     Ken Wood


                Thelma Lexow


                    Erin Dester



                     Dale Anders

                    Nicole Beck

                     Bob Frasier

                     Steve Gieber

                     G.D. Hite

                    James Holland

                     Gary Kay

                   Pattie Mayhew

                    Rod Riffel

                    Barry West








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