A.E. Sheldon and the Nebraska State Historical Society

NSHS Superintendent Addison E. Sheldon and an Omaha tribal leader, probably in the 1930s. NSHS RG1289.PH16-7

NSHS Superintendent Addison E. Sheldon and an Omaha tribal leader, probably in the 1930s. NSHS RG1289.PH16-7

Addison E. Sheldon, who led the Nebraska State Historical Society from 1917 to 1943, was a pivotal figure in the organization’s history. When he became superintendent (as Society directors were called then), the Society had no easily accessible museum, published no magazine, and did little public outreach. By the time Sheldon died in 1943 at age eighty-two, a publicly-oriented Society museum had been open in the state capitol for a decade, a bill to raise funds for the Society’s own building had been passed by the legislature, and Nebraska History magazine was completing its twenty-fifth year under his editorship. In many ways Sheldon was the bridge from the small, somewhat elitist and antiquarian State Historical Society of the late nineteenth century to the “modern” Society that emerged with the directorship of James C. Olson (1946-56) and the opening of the R street building in 1953.

Although he was somewhat younger than the Society’s founders, men such as Robert W. Furnas and J. Sterling Morton, Sheldon resembled them in having lived through much of Nebraska’s “pioneer” period. He grew up on a Seward County homestead, filed his own homestead claim in Cherry County in the 1880s, and edited a Chadron newspaper in the 1890s. He covered the 1890 Wounded Knee massacre and was elected to the 1897 legislature on the Populist ticket.

Sheldon was forty-one when he received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Nebraska in 1902. Although he worked for the Society between 1901 and 1911, he left in the latter year and did not return until he was appointed superintendent in1917. Two years later he earned a doctorate from Columbia University. His dissertation was published as Land Systems and Land Policies in Nebraska, volume twenty-two in the Society’s Publications series. It remains a significant work on the subject.

Perhaps Sheldon’s greatest legacy was his success in broadening the Society’s reach and promoting the importance of history to the public. He founded Nebraska History magazine in 1918, authored numerous books and articles (many aimed at school children), and gave hundreds of talks. He arranged for a Society exhibit car to tour Nebraska via the Burlington Railroad in 1928, which attracted some 180,000 visitors. He promoted marking historic sites and organizing county historical societies. During his tenure Nebraska history went on the radio, the Society became a leader in Great Plains archeology, and notable collections were acquired, such as the Eli S. Ricker interviews about Indian wars in the West. During the Depression Sheldon oversaw a dramatic expansion of Society functions with workers provided under federal New Deal programs.

Sheldon was not without his idiosyncrasies. He is the only superintendent/director known to have written poetry and then to have the nerve to publish it frequently in the magazine he edited. Concluding this glimpse at one of the Nebraska State Historical Society’s most memorable figures are a few stanzas from his poem about the Lewis and Clark centennial observed in 1904:

A hundred years ago a rude sail tent was set

By the Missouri’s flood – far frontier, wild and rough;

Beneath its shade the white and red men met,

Struck hands, smoked pipe – and named it Council Bluff.

The curious catbird’s querulous question-note

Challenged the invaders of his solitude;

The warning from the wildwood warbler’s throat

Hushed the harsh clamor of her startled brood.

Beneath the bluff the river beat its breast,

Mad that its mystery should so soon be told;

Beyond – the boundless prairie stretching west

Mimicked the August sun with disks of gold.

Those who would like to read the remaining six stanzas can find the poem on p. 192 of Nebraska History 18 (1937).

— James E. Potter, Senior Research Historian



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Our Collections Database Has a New Look!

If you haven’t recently searched our online database for photograph and museum collections, give it a try to see what’s new. The database has a new look and new search features. Our online database continues to grow by leaps and bounds, and more than 17,000 photographs and more than 20,000 objects available for you to search and view.

boat model

Here’s one of our new Museum acquisitions. This model was made by a German prisoner of war at Fort Robinson during World War II

Searches are now quicker and easier to refine. Use the Keyword Search to find materials in both the photograph and museum collections.


A search for doll, for example, will show you records for dolls, doll clothing, doll furniture, and photos of dolls.

To search only the Photograph collections, click on Photos at the top of the screen, and type your keyword(s) in the search box. Click on Objects to search only the Museum’s object collections.

To search for a specific phrase or name, use quotation marks. A keyword search for “White Horse Ranch” in objects, for example, will show you costumes and other objects from the White Horse Ranch. Without the quotation marks, search results will include all records with the terms white or horse or ranch.  If you are not certain of an exact phrase, use and between search terms.

white horse ranch

Costumes from the White Horse Ranch

Use the Advanced Search tab to search specific fields in the database.advancedsearch

Searching 1938 in the Date field and Omaha in the Place field will show you photos taken in Omaha in 1938. Among the results are photos of Armour & Company. Click on the text or photo within your search results to get more detailed description of each photo.


Photograph from the Nathaniel L. Dewell collection showing women making sausage at Armour & Company in Omaha.

You can also click on the image to enlarge the photo.

armour factory

If you find something you would like to share with a friend, click one of the social media buttons for Facebook, Pinterest, or Twitter. You can also use the Email to a Friend button to send a link to the record via email.

pinit basketball team

1918 Elgin High School basketball team.

Please check back often as we frequently add additional materials. To access the database, visit our website at www.nebraskahistory.org and click on Search Collections and Photograph and Artifact Collections Search. You can also directly bookmark the database at http://nebraskahistory.pastperfectonline.com/  Please note there has been a recent update to the URL.




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1,733 Miles from Where? Kearney, Nebraska’s 1733 Identity

Kearney has long promoted itself as the “Midway City” located halfway between the coasts, exactly 1,733 miles from both Boston and San Francisco. That mileage, however, long appeared to match no known historical route—until now. An article in the Summer 2015 issue of Nebraska History unravels the mystery, and shows how Kearney promoted itself starting the nineteenth century.

The number 1733 has long been a big deal in Kearney. There was the 1733 Ranch with what was said to be the world’s largest barn, signs, maps, even a recent shoe store ad offering 17.33 percent off. Back in the days of the Lincoln Highway (present day U.S. 30), a road sign boasted that Kearney was “1733 miles to Frisco, 1733 miles to Boston.” The Midway City.

1733 Ranch road sign

Photo from the early 1920s showing the Lincoln Highway directional sign near the 1733 Ranch.

University of Nebraska-Kearney history professor John T. Bauer has long been fascinated by the number. It didn’t seem to add up. A quick look at any U.S. map shows that Kearney doesn’t look equidistant between San Francisco and Boston. The great circle distances are 1,263 miles between San Francisco and Kearney, and 1,486 between Kearney and Boston.

As for the Lincoln Highway, a 1915 guidebook measured 1,752 miles from San Francisco and 1,632 miles from New York City, where the highway ended. It didn’t even go to Boston.

Some of us at the NSHS assumed that 1733 was probably just some made-up number or wild guess by Kearney boosters. This is the town, after all, that once campaigned to replace Washington, D.C. as the U.S. capital. What wouldn’t Kearney say to puff itself up?

Turns out they were telling the truth. Bauer was curious as to when this idea originated and how it fit with the city’s self-promotion as the “Midway City.” It turns out that the mileage is real, but is far older than the Lincoln Highway. It matches an old railroad route, and has been promoted by the city since at least 1890.

More details and illustrations appear in Bauer’s article, which provides a fascinating look at town boosterism in the latter nineteenth century and into the dawning automobile age of the twentieth.

David L. Bristow, Associate Director / Publications

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Preservation Success Story: Meridian Highway Bridge

The Advisory Council on Historic Preservation has released the latest in its series of “Success Stories” on the Meridian Highway Bridge at Yankton, SD.  The series includes prominent examples that illustrate the role of the Advisory Council in preserving historic resources and communities as we commemorate the 50th anniversary of the National Historic Preservation Act next year.  The Nebraska State Historical Society’s State Historic Preservation Office, federal agencies, and interested parties routinely consult on federal projects that involve historic properties in the state, as this case study shows.

When completed in 1924, the new bridge replaced a seasonal ferry and pontoon bridge.  Here the last ferry passes under the bridge’s vertical lift span.

When completed in 1924, the new bridge replaced a seasonal ferry and pontoon bridge. Here the last ferry passes under the bridge’s vertical lift span.

Here’s the backstory of the bridge, as explained in the report:

“At the beginning of the 20th century, transportation across the Missouri River between Yankton, South Dakota, and Cedar County, Nebraska, relied on ferry service or a seasonally operated pontoon bridge. In 1915, Yankton business interests organized a private bridge company to build a permanent bridge across the Missouri River connecting Yankton with rural Cedar County. Named the Meridian Highway Bridge, it was an important link in the international highway running from Canada to Mexico, traversing the Great Plains in a north-south direction along the Sixth Principal Meridian.

Construction of the bridge languished during World War I, and in 1920 the Meridian Highway Bridge Company retained Kansas City engineers Harrington, Howard and Ash to design a combined railroad and highway bridge, with a span that could rise 27 feet to allow unobstructed river navigation. This unusual moveable span and the six fixed spans were designed alike so the moveable span could replace another span if the river changed course. Completion of the bridge was an undisputed boon for the Yankton region (even though the railroad never arrived), but it proved less profitable for the company’s shareholders, and in 1946, the company sold the bridge to the City of Yankton. Recognized for its engineering and as the only vertical lift span in Nebraska and South Dakota, the Meridian Highway Bridge was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1993.”

Recent view of the bridge.

Recent view of the bridge.

To read on about the success of the Meridian Highway bridge’s successful conversion to a pedestrian bridge, visit: http://www.achp.gov/docs/Section106SuccessStory_Yankton.pdf

About the Advisory Council:

The mission of the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP) is to promote the preservation, enhancement, and productive use of the nation’s historic resources and advise the President and Congress on national historic preservation policy.  The ACHP, an independent federal agency, also provides a forum for influencing federal activities, programs, and policies that affect historic properties.  It’s work includes mediating and assisting federal agencies and State Historic Preservation Officers in matters of federal projects under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act. For more information on the ACHP go to: www.achp.gov

Or for information on Nebraska’s role in federal project review, go to the Nebraska State Historic Preservation Office website at: http://www.nebraskahistory.org/histpres/fpr.htm

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Two Nebraskans receive Medals of Honor in 1865

Vifquian wearing his Medal of Honor

Vifquian wearing his Medal of Honor

The first two men with Nebraska connections to earn the Congressional Medal of Honor received their medals

150 years ago, near the end of the Civil War. Belgian-born Victor Vifquain, the first recipient, got his Medal of Honor for leading the Ninety-seventh Illinois Volunteer Infantry in an April 9 attack on Confederate Fort Blakely near Mobile, Alabama. Vifquain was cited for capturing a rebel flag from the breastworks. So how does an immigrant soldier leading an Illinois regiment in an Alabama battle qualify as a Nebraskan? After coming to the United States, Vifquain was one of the first settlers in Saline County’s Blue River Valley in 1857. When the Civil War began, he did not wait to enlist in Nebraska but went east to do so. After the war Vifquain returned to his Saline County farm and remained a Nebraska resident until his 1904 death in Lincoln.

In 1891 Gov. James E. Boyd appointed Vifquain adjutant general of Nebraska, a post he held until 1892. During the 1898-99 War with Spain, Vifquain became commander of the Third Nebraska Volunteer Infantry composed of Nebraska national guardsmen, which served in Georgia and in Cuba. A Medal of Honor marker stands near Vifquain’s grave in Lincoln’s Calvary Cemetery and his Civil War Medal of Honor has been donated by his family to the Nebraska State Historical Society.

The other Nebraskan to receive the Medal of Honor in 1865 was Francis H. Lohnes, a lowly private in the First Nebraska Veteran Volunteer Cavalry. Lohnes, from Richardson County, enlisted in the First Nebraska regiment in 1861, re-enlisting in 1864. His medal resulted from his stubborn fight against Indians near Smith’s Ranche in Nebraska’s Platte Valley on May 12, 1865. Lohnes was leading a wood-cutting party when he and his men stumbled into a skirmish between Indians and other Nebraska soldiers. According to the citation, despite receiving an arrow wound and having his horse shot from under him, Lohnes held off the Indians until his men could reach safety. Upon the recommendation of Gen. Patrick Connor, commanding the District of the Plains, the Medal of Honor was presented to Lohnes at Fort Kearny on August 15, 1865. Attending the ceremony were two generals and Alvin Saunders, governor of Nebraska Territory.

Vifquain's Medal of Honor

Vifquain’s Medal of Honor

The postwar story of Francis Lohnes is tragic. He returned to his Richardson County farm and died on September 18, 1889, in a steam tractor accident. While moving the heavy engine over a stream, the wooden bridge collapsed and Lohnes was trapped in the wreckage and scalded to death by steam escaping from the boiler. He left behind his widow and two children. Visitors to the Maple Grove Cemetery near Verdon, Nebraska, will see that Francis Lohnes’s grave has also been marked with a government Medal of Honor monument. He remains the only Nebraskan to receive the Medal while serving in Nebraska and in a military unit named for the state.

Congress created the Medal of Honor in 1862. In the early years it was sometimes awarded for acts that would not meet today’s standard requiring conspicuous gallantry above and beyond the call of duty that puts one’s life at risk. In 1969 the Nebraska Legislature authorized induction into the Nebraska Hall of Fame for Medal of Honor recipients who were born in Nebraska, who received the Medal for service in Nebraska, or who lived in Nebraska for a minimum of two years. A plaque at the State Capitol records the names of those who have been so recognized.

Further reading: James E. Potter, “A Congressional Medal of Honor for a Nebraska Soldier: The Case of Pvt. Francis W. Lohnes,” Nebraska History 65 (Summer 1984); Potter, “The Pageant Revisited: Indian Wars Medals of Honor in Nebraska, 1865-1879” in R. Eli Paul, ed., The Nebraska Indian Wars Reader, 1865-1877 (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1998); and Jeffrey H. Smith, A Frenchman Fights for the Union: Victor Vifquain and the 97th Illinois (Varna, Ill., Patrick Publishing, 1992)

– James E. Potter, Senior Research Historian


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Summer 2015 at NSHS Sites Has Arrived!


It’s Memorial Day weekend and the official start of the summer season at the Nebraska State Historical Society’s numerous state historic sites. So, pack up the car and hit the trail!

There’s so much to gain from a trip to the past. Not only will you experience dramatic stories and the powerful places they took place, you’ll see intriguing historic buildings, vivid period settings, and engaging videos and exhibitions. Duck into a tipi, load a wagon for the trip west, or relax by the old mill stream.

A new exhibit at Fort Robinson focuses on the earliest movie made in Nebraska, In the Days of ’75 and ’76. Several of the sequences of this silent film – which featured Wild Bill Hickok and Calamity Jane as its central characters – were actually filmed right on site at Fort Robinson. Don’t miss this exciting exhibit about the early days of “moving pictures!”

We’re also excited to announce that the George W. Norris Site in McCook has been selected for participation in the Nebraska Tourism Commission’s Nebraska Passport program. So a visit to the Senator’s  home gets you closer to becoming eligible for a variety of prizes! See www.nebraskapassport.com for more information.

All NSHS state historic sites are open to the public, but don’t forget that admission is free for NSHS members and their immediate families! If free admission sounds good to you, you can purchase an NSHS membership on-site or online.

Finally, we are, as always, dedicated to serving the service members who serve us, so all NSHS sites continue to participate in the national Blue Star Museum program that offers free admission to all military personnel and their families.

Here’s a list of our sites and hours through Labor Day (also available here):

Chimney Rock National Historic Site, Chimney Rock Road, 1.5 mile South of Highway 92 near Bayard, Daily 9-5

Fort Robinson History Center, Fort Robinson State Park, 3 miles west of Crawford on US Highway 20, Daily 8:30-5.

Neligh Mill State Historic Site, N Street and Wylie Drive, Neligh, Tuesday – Saturday 10-5, Sunday 1-5

Senator George W. Norris State Historic Site, 706 Norris Avenue, McCook, Wednesday – Friday 1:00-4:30, Saturday, 1:00-3:30

Please note: The John G. Neihardt State Historic Site in Bancroft and the Willa Cather State Historic Site in Red Cloud, are administered under contract by the Neihardt and Cather Foundations, respectively. Please contact them at (Neihardt) 888-777-4667 or www.neihardt.org or (Cather) 866-731-7304 or www.willacather.org for updated information on schedules and admissions.


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Preservation: Fun & Informative

Friday, May 1, 2015 brought not only a beautiful spring day, but also the Nebraska State Historical Society’s Preservation: Plain and Simple Conference, held in Lincoln at the Holiday Inn Downtown. After an opening welcome featuring speeches by our Director, Michael J. Smith, and Lt. Governor Mike Foley, the attendees were introduced to the

Lt. Governor Mike Foley addresses the crowd

Lt. Governor Mike Foley addresses the crowd

morning session speakers, Paul Nelson and Dave Ulferts, who delighted us with tales of the trials and triumphs of rehabilitating Travers Row, a set of eleven rowhouses in Omaha. The men emphasized that preservation was an integral part to making the project financially viable, and stressed that projects such as these should be approached with some creativity and flexibility as every project will likely have different obstacles to overcome.

The luncheon Keynote Speaker was Dr. Randall Cantrell, a professor of rural sociology at

Dr. Randy Cantrell delivers the keynote

Dr. Randy Cantrell delivers the keynote

the University of Nebraska at Lincoln. He and his colleagues have been studying rural Nebraska for decades, and have gathered a wealth of information about our rural communities. The purpose of the talk was to identify demographic trends shaping our communities, and to identify ways that communities could use the built environment to compete for attention, business and residents. Some of the challenges to preservation in these communities is a relatively small number of leaders to draw upon within these smaller towns, and a sense of powerlessness that they could create a meaningful change.

The breakout sessions lent themselves to two different tracks. On the one hand, experts in the hands-on, nitty gritty work of preservation were available to discuss their various areas of expertise. They included Brooks Gentleman of Re-View Historic Windows to discuss repairing versus replacing historic windows, Matt Henderson of PROSOCO, which creates products to gently clean masonry, and Gary Keshner of Cathedral Stone Products, who shared how to sensitively patch masonry.

Gary Keshner of Cathedral Stone Products leads a session on patching stone masonry

Gary Keshner of Cathedral Stone Products leads a session on patching stone masonry

The other track included a variety of specialized subjects, including two sessions on brick streets; one a history of the paving material by Robin Williams of SCAD, and a local case study of Tecumseh’s brick streets by Shayne Huxoll and Doug Goracke. There was a session about a form based zoning program that is being established in Omaha, given by Jed Moulton and Trina Westman of Omaha City Planning. Angela Shearer, a tax credit reviewer with the National Park Service, shared her knowledge of mid-century architecture, and attorney David Levy spoke about Nebraska’s new Historic Tax Credit Program.

– Jill Dolberg, Nebraska State Historic Preservation Office

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Secretary of State William Jennings Bryan and the sinking of the Lusitania

President Woodrow Wilson and hist cabinet, 1913. Bryan is seated front right. NSHS RG3198.PH49-5

President Woodrow Wilson and hist cabinet, 1913. Bryan is seated front right. NSHS RG3198.PH49-5

May 7 marks the one hundredth anniversary of the sinking of the British passenger liner RMS Lusitania by a German submarine with the loss of nearly 1,200 lives, 128 of them Americans. Differing views by President Woodrow Wilson and his secretary of state, William Jennings Bryan of Nebraska, on how the United States should respond soon led to Bryan’s resignation.

When World War I broke out in August 1914, Bryan was convinced that the United States must avoid being drawn into the war at all costs. He advocated a policy of strict neutrality, which proved difficult to maintain in the face of general American sympathy for Great Britain and France in their war with Germany. What’s more, U.S. manufacturers and farmers saw the export of materials and agricultural products to the belligerents as a solution to an ongoing economic recession. A vast increase in trade between the U.S. and the Western Allies, but not with Germany, inevitably sparked German resentment.

Early in 1915 Germany proclaimed a “war zone” around the British Isles in which U-boats would attack ships carrying goods to England. Neutral nations, such as the United States, were warned to avoid the area. To this Wilson lodged a protest on February 10, noting that Germany would be held accountable for any harm to American ships and American citizens. Nevertheless, through March and April 1915 some American vessels were attacked and some Americans were killed, though the Wilson administration took no immediate action. It was the sinking of the Lusitania with such great loss of life that finally forced President Wilson’s hand. On May 13, he demanded that the Germans abandon activities that endangered American lives. Bryan argued that Americans traveling in the war zone were guilty of “contributory negligence” and that the U.S. claim of neutrality could be sustained only by giving up the right of trade and travel in the zone. Any demand for German reparations should be postponed until the war was over. Wilson did not agree and was willing to risk war to protect American rights. Convinced that the president was leading the nation into war, Bryan resigned as secretary of state on June 8, 1915.

Scholars who have studied Bryan’s time as U.S. Secretary of State have concluded that he was right to argue that the U.S. could not remain neutral while continuing to trade with the Western Allies and allowing its citizens to travel in the war zone. As a statesman, however, Bryan was hampered by his belief that a moral opposition to war could keep the U.S. on the sidelines when the nation had already undercut its claimed neutrality by its exports to Great Britain and France and its condemnation of Germany’s response. Although it would be nearly two years before the United States declared war against Germany on April 6, 1917, the stage had been set by the May 7, 1915, sinking of the Lusitania.

For an analysis of Bryan’s time in the Wilson administration, see Kendrick A. Clements, “Secretary of State William Jennings Bryan,” Nebraska History 77 (Fall/Winter 1996).

– James E. Potter, Senior Research Historian, NSHS

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Last Chance! Preservation: Plain & Simple


Preservation: Plain & Simple Conference | May 1, 2015 from 8AM – 4:30 PM

REGISTER NOW for the Preservation: Plain & Simple Conference, to be held THIS FRIDAY at the Holiday Inn Downtown in Lincoln!

Are you an architect or a planning professional? Earn Continuing Education Learning Units! Four of the sessions will provide you with APA credits, and all of the sessions have been certified to give you AIA credits. Seven of the sessions qualify for the category of health/safety/welfare. For more information about the sessions, visit our website.

In addition to providing a wonderful opportunity to glean knowledge from some top experts in their fields, we will also provide a continental breakfast, a buffet lunch of chicken and linguine with a number of sauces plus dessert, and snacks at the morning and afternoon breaks! It is important to keep hydrated and fuel the brain. We will help keep you going strong for a day filled with learning!

There will also be a reception April 30, 2015, from 5:30 to 8 at the Grand Manse, 129 North 10th Street, Lincoln, NE. The reception will be held in the historic courtroom, now called the Grand Hall.  Come mingle with other attendees while enjoying complimentary wine and beer, and snacks to nosh. Glacial Till has generously donated wine and Blue Blood Brewery is graciously providing us with donated beer for this fun-filled event. We will have some hearty appetizers to offer as well, including stromboli, meatballs, cheese and meat platters, fresh fruit, and chips and spinach and artichoke dip.

When you do attend these events, share your experiences on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram by using the hashtag #PlainandSimple2015.

See you on Friday!

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Summer 2015 Kids’ Classes, On the Move!

Museum-on-the-MoveThe Nebraska History Museum in Lincoln may be closed for renovation, but there’s a summer full of fun and learning for kids at a variety of locations. Learn about Native American arts, make a civil war haversack, create a pioneer puppet show, drink tea Victorian-style, uncover family history and more. The Nebraska History Museum on the Move classes will (generally) meet at the Nebraska State Historical Society headquarters building at 1500 ‘R’ Street. A few special classes will be at the Great Plains Art Museum, 1155 Q Street or the Thomas P. Kennard House, 1627 H Street.

Classes being offered for young learners this summer include:

  • Native American Arts, Crafts, and Games, Grades K-12. 9:30 a.m.-12:00 p.m., Wednesday, May 27. Learn about Plains tribes, create a “hide” painting, do beadwork, play Native American games. $10/$8
  • Civil War Textiles, Grades K-12. 9:30 a.m.-12:00 p.m., Friday, May 29, Great Plains Art Museum, 1155 ‘Q’ Street. Tour the “Homestead and Battlefield: Quilts & Context in the Civil War” exhibit.
  • Learn about the importance of textiles to everyday life in the Civil War. Make a Civil War flag. $10/$8
  • Make a Housewife/Husswif, Grades K-12. 9:30 a.m.-12:00 p.m., Thursday-Friday, June 4-5, Great Plains Art Museum, 1155 ‘Q’ Street. Make a Civil War era sewing kit like on in the “Homefront and Battlefield: Quilts and Context in the Civil War” exhibit. Tour the exhibit and see other Civil War artifacts. $20/$16
  • Nebraska “Grandscapes,” Grades K-12. 9:30 a.m.-12:00 p.m., Wednesday, June 10. Learn about and create a watercolor painting of one of Nebraska’s beautiful landscapes. $10/$8
  • Make a Haversack, Grades K-12. 1:30-4:00 p.m., Tuesday, June 16, Great Plains Art Museum, 1155 ‘Q’ Street. Learn about and make a bag like those carried by Civil War soldiers. See a haversack used in the Civil War. $10/$8
  • Covered Wagons, Bumpy Trails – Puppet Show, Grades K-3. 9:30 a.m. -12:00 p.m., Thursday and Friday, June 18-19. Learn about how pioneers traveled in covered wagons. Create puppets. Parents and others are invited to a puppet show performance at 11:45 a.m. on Friday, June 19. $20/$16
  • What Did Nebraskans Do in World War II?, Grades 4-12. 1:30-4:00 p.m., Wednesday, July 8. Learn how WWII affected people at home in Nebraska and in military service. $10/$8
  • Nebraska History Heroes and Heroines, Grades 3-12. 9:30 a.m.-12:00 p.m. Thursday and Friday, July 9-10.
  • Choose a famous Nebraskan and learn about him/her. Bring a plain t-shirt to design about your hero/heroine. $20/$16
  • Where Does History Begin? Genealogy for Kids, Grades 5-12. 1:30-4:00 p.m. Tuesday-Wednesday, July 14-15. Learn how to find information about your ancestors. Use resources in the NSHS reference room. $20/$16
  • Etiquette for a Proper Victorian Lady Grades K-3 (a.m.) or Grades 4-12 (p.m.) 9:30 a.m.-12:00 p.m. or 1:30-4:00 p.m. Friday, July 24, Thomas P. Kennard House, 1627 H Street. Learn about the Victorian era etiquette and dress styles. Learn about and make your own calling cards. $10/$8
  • Archeology, Grades 4-12. 9:30 a.m.-12:00 p.m., Thursday, July 30. Learn how we know what we know about the past. Learn about various eras in the past. Examine artifacts. $10/$8
  • A Day in the Life of a Pioneer Child, Grades K-12. 9:30 a.m.-4:00 p.m., Thursday, August 6. Bring a sack lunch. Learn about Nebraska pioneers’ daily life. Make a cornhusk doll. Do schoolwork with quill pens. Play games enjoyed by pioneer kids. $30/$24

Classes are filled on a first-come, first-served basis. Class sizes are limited. Registration fees are listed for the general public or at discounted rate for Nebraska State Historical Society members. To register, just follow THIS LINK. For more information call 402-471-4757 or email judy.keetle@nebraska.gov.

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