New York has the Guggenheim and the MoMA. San Diego’s Balboa Park hosts the nation’s largest urban cultural park, home to 15 museums. Chicago lauds its exhibits: The Field Museum, Museum of Science and Industry, Hull House. History and art enthusiasts revel at the delightful treasures displayed within these halls.
Nebraskans don’t have to travel across the Midwest or even to the coasts to visit top exhibitions. In our own back yards, historical societies, art foundations and educational groups have assembled some of the best collections around.
If you have never traveled Nebraska’s byways and stopped at some of our state’s quaint menageries, you have the opportunity to this weekend. The Smithsonian and Smithsonian Magazine welcome visitors for their 6th annual National Museum Day.
And the good news: you don’t have to visit Washington D.C. to partake. Nine museums across the Cornhusker state are offering free admission with the required ticket, which can be retrieved at www.smithsonianmag.com/museumday.
What sites can you visit in Nebraska?
The Lincoln County Historical Society maintains a museum in North Platte. Inside, exhibits show what life is like in cattle country. The museum features railroad history, too. Several preserved outbuildings depict 1880s living.
At Kearney’s Buffalo County Historical Society and Trails and Rails Museum, visitors discover the history of the Overland and Mormon trails and the Union Pacific railroad along the Great Platte River Road. Check out a locomotive and the depot, along with the Boyd Ranch House, the Freighters Hotel, a school house, 1898 church, and a log cabin.
Enjoy living history presentations? Visit the Stuhr Museum of the Prairie Pioneer in Grand Island. In addition to the main building, saunter through Henry Fonda’s birthplace, a livery stable, blacksmith shop or the Silver Dollar Café. The museum also offers educational classes for parents and children. Its H.A.T.S. (Heritage Activities for Today’s Students) program, with grade level-appropriate activities, introduces learners to pioneer life.
Headed to this week’s Husker game? Since there’s a six o’clock kickoff, go early and visit three of Lincoln’s top treasures: the International Quilt Study Center and Museum, Nebraska History Museum and University of Nebraska State Museum. Discover the history of quilting, a 14-foot mammoth, or the amazing stories of our state’s ancestors.
The Cass County Historical Society Museum in Plattsmouth conveys the history of the county, which was settled in 1854. Steamboating on the Missouri, pioneer life, and agriculture production are highlighted.
In Omaha’s Union Station, The Durham Museum examines regional history. Celebrate the Trans-Mississippi Exposition, model trains, or the soda fountain.
Ever visited the oldest county museum in Nebraska? The Washington County Historical Museum in Ft. Calhoun contains prehistoric relics and Native American pieces. Objects from Fort Atkinson are also displayed.
Since I’m a history enthusiast, I’ve visited five of the nine museums participating in this weekend’s event. I’m amazed at the information and artifacts that explore the lives of those who lived here before us.
High quality exhibits exist here at home. Which museum will you visit and enrich your Nebraska knowledge?
Share your favorite Nebraska Museums at http://luannschindler.com.