Contents: President's Message | From the Director | Awards | Administration | Volunteers | Library/Archives | Museum/Historic Sites | Museum of Nebraska History | Chimney Rock | Fort Robinson | Thomas P. Kennard House | Neligh Mill | Senator George W. Norris | Willa Cather | John G. Neihardt | Research & Publication | State Historic Preservation Office | Archeology | Conservation | NSHS Foundation | Financial Report
Stephen Spender once wrote, "History is the ship carrying living memories to the future." If indeed that is the case, then perhaps the initials for the Nebraska State Historical Society may also be considered to stand for Nebraska State Historical Ship. That being the case, as this year's Captain of the Ship, I am pleased to report that our vessel is indeed "ship-shape." We have relatively few "barnacles on our hull," our "decks are cleared," and our engines are running at "full steam ahead." In fact, I am pleased to report that the past year has been one of mostly "smooth sailing." We encountered a little rough water when in 1997 we lost some of our state funding. Fortunately, however, with the support of the governor and the legislature, those funds have mostly been restored and should do much to assist us in our travels during the next fiscal year. This year, therefore, has been devoted mostly to finding new "ports of call." Through the able leadership of our past president, Charles Trimble, we have not only settled our differences with the Pawnee Tribe but have now established close and warm relations with the various tribes throughout the area. Additionally, what appeared early on to be a storm at the Ford Conservation Center has now blown away, and the center is operating quite efficiently. There is no question that by the time we sail into the twenty-first century, the Ford Conservation Center will be one of the premier facilities of its type in the nation.
No ship can operate, however, without a dedicated, efficient crew. In that regard, I would like to extend my sincere thanks to, not only the Board of Trustees who devote so much time and effort to the Society, but to the very able and competent professional staff under the direction of Larry Sommer. Additionally, as a "tugboat" to help the Nebraska History Ship through difficult waters, is the Nebraska State Historical Society Foundation, which continues to provide able support for the Society, and to each foundation officer and trustee and their director, Jac Spahn, I extend my sincere thanks.
To those of you who are members of the Society, I thank you for your support, and for those of you who have not yet become members, I urge you to consider doing so. Likewise, I remind you that should you wish to give a gift of lasting effect, please consider the Nebraska State Historical Society Foundation.
As we sail into the twenty-first century, I am confident that the History Ship is prepared to meet any adventure it may confront and will easily sail through to a welcome port of call.
From the Director
Annual reports offer a forum for discussing and reflecting upon an organization's periodic progress toward fulfilling its mission. As you read this annual report I am sure you will agree that the Nebraska State Historical Society completed another year of significant accomplishment and strong leadership in helping to safeguard and interpret Nebraska's past. This report highlights the activities and accomplishments of the past year. As you read it please feel free to call or write if you have questions or need any additional information about the Society.
During the 199798 fiscal year the Society spent considerable time and effort preparing plans and program statements for renovation of Society facilities, both in Lincoln and across the state. This work is part of the preparation necessary for submission of a major capital request to the 1999 Nebraska State Legislature. In excess of $10 million worth of renovation and upgrading are needed at the fifty-year-old NSHS headquarters building and the thirty-year-old Museum of Nebraska History. Both buildings have obsolete mechanical and electrical systems, and neither meets modern fire, health, safety, and disability access codes. Getting this work funded and completed is a top Society priority.
The Society's Ford Conservation Center in Omaha completed its first full year of operation with a growing backlog of work and an expanding client base, along with a growing national reputation and significant record of accomplishment in providing conservation treatment, training, and technical assistance to museums, libraries, and related historical institutions throughout Nebraska and the Midwest. Late in the fiscal year the Ford Center received funding for the installation and start-up of an advanced imaging laboratory that will be in full operation by the fall of 1998.
A new website went on line in March 1998, thereby creating another way for people anywhere to learn about and access the resources at the Society. Visit the NSHS website at www.nebraskahistory.org. The Society continues to move rapidly into the technology age with the purchase and installation of advanced computer network systems, imaging technology, and digital information transmission. Every year the Society conducts more and more of its business via fax, e-mail, and other electronic means.
Throughout the year the Society experienced good attendance at its museums and sites. During the winter an innovative Sunday afternoon program series at Chimney Rock drew standing-room-only crowds. A record number of students from across Nebraska participated in the National History Day program this past spring.
The Nebraska State Historical Society Board of Trustees, staff, and volunteers all devote considerable time and effort making sure the Society fulfills its mission and accomplishes its goals. I sincerely appreciate their efforts on behalf of the Society and thank them for being such vital members of the NSHS team. A special note of appreciation is due to Governor Ben Nelson and the members of the Nebraska Legislature for their continued support.
I also wish to give special recognition and thanks to NSHS Trustees Maurine Roller of Alliance, James Wengert of Omaha, and Norman Krivosha of Lincoln for their service to the Society. Their second terms as trustees are ending, and they are not eligible for reelection. Their interest, leadership, and good counsel will be missed.
Lawrence J. Sommer
Director and State Historic Preservation Officer
Nebraska State Historical Society Awards
The Society recognizes noteworthy achievements in the preservation and interpretation of Nebraska history with named awards presented during the annual History Conference.
The James L. Sellers Memorial Award for the article judged best in the 1996 volume of Nebraska History was presented to Dr. Julie Greene of the Department of History, University of Colorado at Boulder. Her article, "The Making of Labor's Democracy: William Jennings Bryan, The American Federation of Labor, and Progressive Era Politics," appeared in the fall/winter theme issue on William Jennings Bryan. The Nebraska State Historical Society Foundation provides a $400 prize that accompanies the Sellers Award.
The Nebraska Preservation Award for significant achievement in the preservation of Nebraska's historic places went to Panhandle Landmarks, Inc. The award, accepted by founder and first president Nancy Haney, recognized the organiza-tion's commitment to and success in preserving significant historic and cultural resources in eleven counties in the Nebraska Panhandle.
The Robert W. Furnas Memorial Award recognizes noteworthy contributions to the Nebraska State Historical Society. Lucretia Green of Scottsbluff accepted the award on behalf of the Green Family, longtime donors to Society collections. Donations include manuscripts, photographs, and museum objects relating to A. L. Green's tenure as Oto Indian agent, 1869 to 1873, and to Thomas L. Green's research on western Nebraska history and archeology.
The Addison E. Sheldon Memorial Award for outstanding contributions to the preservation and interpretation of Nebraska history was presented to Ray and Marianne Simmons of Fremont. They were cited for their long-term involvement with the outstanding programs of the Dodge County Historical Society, and for their contributions to the preservation of historic sites in Fremont and Dodge counties.
The Society's Award for Achievement in Nebraska History is announced at the State History Day contest and presented at the History Day celebration at the Capitol. The 1998 award was divided into junior and senior divisions and went to two group media projects. Junior division winners were Shawn Fricke, Amy Fricke, Kristina Lux, and Amelia Lux of District No. 2, Glen Public Schools, rural Sioux County. Senior winners were Laura Myers, Laurie Keogh, and Mackenzie Taylor of Stuart High School.
(image) Society award recipients, as well as incoming and outgoing trustees, were recognized at the 1997 history conference. (Left to right): Charles Trimble, James McKee, Ray and Marianne Simmons (Sheldon Award), Lucretia Green (Furnas Award); Nick Powers and Nancy Haney (Preservation Award), Michael Schuyler, and Julie Greene (Sellers Award).
" The mission of the Nebraska State
Historical Society is to safeguard
and interpret Nebraska's past."
The director, as chief executive officer of the Society, implements board policy, administers the budget, and represents the institution to the public and to a variety of funding sources. The director and administrative staff work to provide the personnel and financial resources the Society needs to fulfill its mission. In addition to administration, the Nebraska State Historical Society operates with six major divisions: Museum/Historic Sites, Historic Preservation, Library/Archives, Research and Publications, Archeology, and Conservation. Each division is managed by an associate director, who reports to the Society director.
- Implemented a new database for Society membership records.
- Supported publication of a catalog of books and merchandise for the Society's museum stores.
- Upgraded and expanded the Society's Local Area Network for E-mail and data storage.
(image) Director Lawrence Sommer (left) and State Senator Pam Brown of Omaha present a History Day: Nebraska award to Molly Reagan (right), a tenth grader at Omaha's Duchesne Academy.
Historical Society Volunteers
- Contributed a total of 10,933 hours to the Society.
- Greeted 23,297 visitors at Heritage Village, Nebraska State Fair, and provided 440 hours of volunteer service.
- Provided tours to 11,016 of the 14,075 school children visiting the Museum of Nebraska History.
- Generated more than $160,870 in gross sales at museum stores across the state.
- Assisted with excavations at the Aldrich archeological site near Auburn.
- Assisted school groups and the public in the History Adventure Center, featuring four stations exploring travel in Nebraska's history.
- Assisted with summer workshops for kids at the Museum of Nebraska History.
- Enjoyed a volunteer appreciation ceremony at the newly renovated Nebraska Governor's Residence, as well as a bus trip to Oklahoma.
(image) Volunteers Kay Williams (standing) Leah Rae Schneider, and Pat McLaughlin (right) processing collection material in the archeology laboratory.
" The mission of the Library/Archives
Division is to safeguard the documentary
heritage of Nebraska for the use of all."
The Library/Archives Division is charged with the collection, management, and preservation of a wide spectrum of published and unpublished documentary materials, and provides access to them for the researching public.
The Society's library contains approximately 80,000 volumes, and includes books, periodicals, newspapers, state publications, and more than 3,000 maps and atlases. In its manuscript collections are the papers of families and individuals and the records of Nebraska businesses, organizations, religious groups, and private educational institutions. The archival collections also include some 250,000 photographs, 6.5 million feet of moving images on film and videotape, and several thousand sound recordings. The Society is also the official repository of state, county, and local government records of permanent value, as mandated by legislative acts of 1905 and 1969. Together, these documents provide vital testimony to the history and culture of Nebraska.
- Relocated public records storage to the remodeled K Street Power Plant building in Lincoln. This space will accommodate the acquisition and storage of state, county, and local government records, as well as security copies of government microfilm.
- Served 8,713 visitors in the Reference Room, and provided reference service to some 4,725 others through the mail, including 664 requests for materials through interlibrary loan.
- Cataloged 933 new titles into the library collections; these and an additional 79 titles already in the collection were added to the online catalog.
- Added manuscript materials to the collections, including the papers of State Senator Jerome Warner of Waverly; trade literature illustrating windmill equipment used in the central Great Plains (ca. 18751997); a century of records of the Lotus Club, a women's literary society based in Lincoln; and papers of the Mason- Palmer-Rice Family of the Paxton, Nebraska, area, which include two overland journey diaries.
- Acquired important moving images, including a 1918 film documenting the Delco Farm Lighting business of William Lowman of Silver Creek, Nebraska; episodes of a documentary television series from the late 1960s titled "Animal Secrets" hosted by Nebraska native and naturalist Loren Eiseley; and amateur footage of the students and staff of the Waverly School from 1934.
- Began digital imaging services to provide reproductions of photographs and documents. Library/Archives staff were also instrumental in planning the digital imaging lab for the Society's Ford Conservation Center, and successfully applied for an imaging project grant with the Library of Congress.
- Participated in the Nebraska Newspaper Project to find, microfilm, and catalog every newspaper issue ever published in the state. Microfilmed newspapers from six counties, including the Tooter from Omaha South High School, the Ft. Omaha Gas Bag, and the Powder Keg from Hastings.
- Held State Historical Records Advisory Board (SHRAB) meetings in Scottsbluff, Valentine, Hastings, Lincoln, and McCook where participants received training in grant-writing and paper preservation.
- Completed, with the Nebraska Mexican American Commission, a project to docu- ment and preserve the state's Hispanic traditions. A travelling exhibit continues to tour the state, the project resulted in a bilingual publication, Nuestros Tesoros (Our Treasures): A Celebration of Nebraska's Mexican-American Heritage, and gathered a collection of interviews with members of the Mexican American community in Nebraska.
- Met with members of the Omaha and Santee tribes to discuss storage and preser- vation of historical tribal records.
- Completed a collection survey of business records in the manuscript holdings that will help determine future collecting needs.
- Produced a hallway exhibit on the Hall Brothers of Norfolk, founders of Hallmark Cards, Inc.
- Began replacing microfilm readers in the Reference Room with new motorized machines designed to meet ADA standards.
- Planned and presented, in conjunction with the Museum/Historic Sites Division, "The Nebraska Institute," a two-week teachers workshop focusing on how to teach with historical documents, place, and objects. The Institute, co-sponsored by Nebraska Wesleyan University and offered with the cooperation of the Lincoln Public Schools, was held in July 1998. Funding was provided by the Cooper Foundation of Lincoln.
- Continued to use the Library/Archives as a laboratory for the profession by mentoring students and designing internship experiences.
- Helped the staff of the State Building Division choose a new archivist for the Nebraska State Capitol.
(image) Steve Wolz, curator of public records, shelves the first box of records in the storage center at the former K Street Power Plant in Lincoln.
(image) A still from a 1918 film documenting Delco lighting plants sold by William Lowman of Silver Creek, Nebraska. This Duncan, Nebraska, barbershop was lighted by a Delco plant. The forty-minute film was donated to the Library/Archives by Lowman's great-grandson, Craig Lowman of Omaha.
Museum/Historic Sites Division
" The mission of the Museum/Historic Sites Division
is to educate people about Nebraska's past
through historic artifacts and historic places."
The division gathers, preserves, researches, and interprets artifacts and sites representing Nebraska's rich and diverse human experience, and provides the broadest possible public access to these resources. The museum is Nebraska's official and preeminent artifact repository. Its collections serve as the basis for exhibitions, programs, publications, and educational outreach. Through a variety of media, the division gives people firsthand experience with the physical remnants of past life and the places where Nebraska history was made.
The division administers the Museum of Nebraska History in Lincoln and oversees seven historic sites statewide. The education and statewide services, exhibition, museum collections, and historic sites departments form partnerships with individuals and organizations around the state and across the country to enrich people's lives by increasing their understanding and enjoyment of Nebraska's past.
Museum of Nebraska History
- Welcomed 146,186 visitors at facilities statewide.
- Accessioned ninety-seven collections of artifacts into the museum, from which 465 items were cataloged.
- Added 1,270 objects to the computerized inventory of the museum collections, bringing the total to 157,488.
- Assisted one hundred researchers in the museum collections department.
- Transferred a reproduction reaper to the Farm and Ranch Museum, Gering.
- Loaned museum collections artifacts to other institutions, including the Peru Historical Society, the Nebraska Governor's Residence, the Gage County Historical Society, and Lincoln's St. Elizabeth Hospital.
- Organized four workshops across the state on the topics of board development and strategic planning.
- Coordinated Society participation in the Nebraska State Fair, including an informa- tional tent at Heritage Village, where staff greeted 23,197 visitors.
- Scheduled speakers for and supervised the monthly Brown Bag lecture series at the museum, which was videotaped for broadcast on local cable television. Lecture topics included Chiefs Crazy Horse and Red Cloud, African Americans in Brownville, the Trans-Mississippi Exposition of 1898, and Christmas in the frontier army.
- Participated in National History Day: Nebraska as judges for district and state contests, and for the Society's special award. Organized and sponsored the second annual Nebraska History Day Celebration at the state capitol for state contest winners.
- Organized new bimonthly programs for ongoing training and continuing education for museum docents and other NSHS volunteers.
- Provided the Czech educational trunk to Educational Service Units in Alliance, Beatrice, Auburn, Valentine, Sidney, Trenton, and the Lincoln Public Schools. The Czech trunk was also provided to nonpublic schools in Kearney, Utica, Omaha, McCook, Nebraska City, and North Platte.
- Coordinated the state awards program for the American Association for State and Local History.
- Hosted 14,075 student visitors to the Museum of Nebraska History during the 199798 school year in 667 school groups: 11,016 students took guided tours provided by nineteen docents. A total of 319 school groups (6,708 children, 47 percent of the 199798 tours) included the new History Adventure Center in their tour.
- Opened the History Adventure Center, a hands-on exhibit for upper elementary students, featuring four stations exploring historic modes of travel in Nebraska. Since November 1997, 4,610 children and adults have visited the History Adven- ture Center, not including school groups (see above).
- Printed 122,476 copies of Nebraska Trailblazer for free distribution to fourth graders across Nebraska. A total of 15,795 additional copies of Nebraska Trail- blazer were purchased for use in schools.
- Distributed a new Educators Resource Catalog to each school in Nebraska. This catalog includes annotated descriptions of the resources from each NSHS division.
- Organized the Educators Advisory Council, a group of classroom teachers from across the state, to assist and advise the NSHS on history education issues.
- Conducted two new summer workshops for children ages 612 that explored state symbols and photography through history lessons, field trips, activities, projects, and games.
- Continued script development and artifact selection for The Nebraska Experiment, the third phase of the museum's permanent galleries.
- Provided research, script-writing, design, or construction for temporary exhibits: Plains Power: Nebraska-made Vehicles; 1997 Holiday Exhibit; The Trans- Mississippi and International Exposition Centennial; Nebraska Quilts: A Patch- work History; and The Hall Brothers.
- Provided design and layout for all Society publications and the Society's website, which includes more than four hundred pages of text and three hundred image files.
- Coproduced, with Nebraska Educational Television, new orientation videos for use at the Willa Cather, John G. Neihardt, George W. Norris, and Neligh Mill historic sites, and for broadcast statewide.
(image) Tom and Judy Lutzi of Lincoln loaned their unique, Nebraska-built Fascination automobile for the Plains Power: Nebraska-made Vehicles exhibit.
Museum/Historic Sites Division
Seven historic sites are administered by the Society. Two of the seven are operated under contract by local foundations. These historic places are brought to life through the careful preservation and interpretation of the premier artifacts relating to each site, particularly their historic structures. During 199798 the historic sites served more than 85,400 visitors, offering them first-hand experience with the physical remnants of past life and the places where Nebraska history was made.
Chimney Rock National Historic Site
" The mission of the Chimney Rock National Historic Site
is to interpret the historical significance of Chimney Rock,
the most famous landmark on the Oregon-California Trail,
as it relates to the westward overland migration and
its influences on Nebraska history."
- Hosted speakers Allan Maybee of Riverton, Wyoming, who spoke about his participation in the recreation of the Gen. William Ashley 1823 expedition, and Lori Cox-Paul, who discussed A Frontier Army Christmas.
- Continued the successful Sunday Afternoon at the Rock series, which played to overflow crowds almost every Sunday in January and February.
- Welcomed the 150,000th person to the Chimney Rock Visitor Center.
- Investigated and documented rock slides at Courthouse and Jail Rocks.
- Hosted the temporary exhibit, Un Tesoro de Nebraska (A Nebraska Treasure): Discovering our Mexican Legacy.
(images) Cultural traditions, such as those preserved by pinata-maker Oscar Ramirez of Morrill and dressmaker Sally Briones Dittmar of Scottsbluff, were documented by the Mexican American Traditions in Nebraska project.
Chimney Rock National Historic Site
Fort Robinson Museum
" The mission of the Fort Robinson Museum is to preserve and interpret the historic resources associated with Fort Robinson for the benefit of the public and to add to those resources through research."
- Hosted the biennial K-9/CBI reunion in June.
- Produced a walking tour brochure of the Prisoner of War camp.
- Returned the Wheelwright Shop to its appearance as it was during the fort's active years.
- Arranged for an intern from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Museum Studies Program to catalogue, clean, and properly store the quartermaster cache collection.
- Assisted with the transfer of artifacts from Lincoln to off-site storage at Fort Robinson.
Fort Robinson Museum
Thomas P. Kennard House
" The mission of the Thomas P. Kennard House,
Nebraska Statehood Memorial, is to preserve
the home of Nebraska's first secretary of state,
and interpret domestic and political life
in the era when Nebraska became a state."
- Hosted over six hundred students and families during "Pastimes and Playthings," a festival of old toys and games for children.
- Decorated the house for Victorian Holidays Past.
- Completed restoration and repainting on the exterior wooden and metal portions of the house and the beginning of the restoration and repainting of the brick portion of the house, returning the house to its original color scheme.
Thomas P. Kennard House Nebraska Statehood Memorial
Neligh Mill State Historic Site
" The mission of the Neligh Mill State Historic Site
is to preserve the state's only nineteenth-century flour mill
with original equipment in order to interpret the importance
of the milling industry to the history of Nebraska."
- Received visitors from forty-three states and ten foreign countries and hosted fifteen tours of the mill.
- Assisted with the transfer of artifacts from Lincoln to Neligh for storage.
- Hosted a special evening premiere of the new video, "The Daily Grind."
- Painted the interior of the mill office.
(image) Historic site supervisors held a planning meeting at Fort Robinson in March. (Left to right): John Lindahl (Kennard House); Don "Harve" Ofe (Neligh Mill); Tom Buecker (Fort Robinson); Linda Hein (Norris house); and Loren Pospisil (Chimney Rock).
Neligh Mill State Historic Site
Senator George W. Norris State Historic Site
" The mission of the Senator George Norris State Historic Site
is to relate the story of a nationally-significant Nebraska politician
through preservation and interpretation of his home and its furnishings."
- Hosted a pre-World War II quilt show in September, a post-World War II quilt show in March, and a spinning, weaving, and needlework display in June.
- Organized fall and spring garden tours.
- Held a special evening open house to premiere the new video, "A Public Servant's Home."
- Made improvements to the sunroom and converted it to a viewing area for the new video.
Senator George W. Norris State Historic Site
Willa Cather State Historic Site
Red Cloud, Nebraska
" The mission of the Willa Cather State Historic Site
is to preserve and interpret sites significant in the life and work
of one of Nebraska's greatest authors and to make
Cather-related materials available to researchers."
- Hosted the Willa Cather Spring Conference.
- Sponsored several Cather gatherings including the Prairie Institute in Red Cloud and the International Cather Colloquium at Drew University.
- Held the Little Red School House Program for fourth graders.
- Welcomed visitors to a Victorian Christmas Tea at Cather's childhood home.
- Celebrated Cather's birthday by hosting a special premiere of the new video, "Willa Cather's Home," at the Episcopal Church.
- Supervised the painting of the Burlington Depot and the scraping and priming of the Pavelka Farmstead.
(image) Dorothy Munson (left) is one of many volunteers that help operate Society museum stores in Lincoln, and at branch museums around the state.
Willa Cather State Historic Site
John G. Neihardt State Historic Site
" The mission of the John G. Neihardt State Historic Site
is to interpret the legacy of Nebraska's poet laureate
through exhibits and the preservation of the historic study
in which he worked."
- Welcomed Charles Trimble as the new director of the John G. Neihardt State Historic Site.
- Hosted Neihardt Day on August 3, highlighted by the attendance of long-time Neihardt friend and supporter Dick Cavett.
- Organized and held the annual Neihardt Spring Conference.
- Inaugurated a Sunday at the Museum bimonthly program series.
- Hosted two art shows.
- Held a special evening open house to premiere the new video, "A Poet's Sanctuary."
John G. Neihardt State Historic Site
Research & Publication Division
" The mission of the Research and Publications Division
is to promote research leading to a better understanding
of the history and culture of Nebraska and its people,
and to disseminate the results."
The Research and Publications Division publishes the Society's quarterly, Nebraska History, and conducts research leading to the publication of books and historical documents about the history of Nebraska and the Great Plains. The division also provides research and editorial assistance to other Society divisions and the public. The division helps edit Central Plains Archaeology, a joint publication of the Society and the Nebraska Association of Professional Archeologists. The state historical markers program, the monthly Historical Newsletter, and the "Nebraska Timeline" newspaper column are other activities carried out by the division.
- Published papers from the Second Fort Robinson History Conference in the Winter 1997 issue of Nebraska History.
- Received notice of the award of a certificate of commendation from the American Association for State and Local History, recognizing the Society and the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission for their sponsorship of the 1997 Fort Robinson History Conference.
- Completed, for publication by the University of Nebraska Press, two books compiled by division staff: From Fort Laramie to Wounded Knee: In the West that Was by Charles W. Allen, edited by Richard Jensen (1997); and The Nebraska Indian Wars Reader, 18651877, edited by R. Eli Paul (1998).
- Completed the script outline for The Nebraska Experiment exhibit pending at the Museum of Nebraska History.
- Coordinated production of ten historical markers.
- Completed editing Spans in Time: Nebraska's Historic Bridges, to be copublished by the Society and the Nebraska Department of Roads.
- Arranged for the purchase, for Library/Archives collections, of eight letters written by an enlisted soldier at Fort Kearny, 186061.
- Began editing the Eli S. Ricker Indian wars interviews for publication.
- Completed editing a report on Society archeological excavations entitled, The Fontenelle and Cabanne Trading Posts: The History and Archeology of Two Missouri River Sites, 18221838, to be published in 1998 with support from the William B. Webster Memorial Publishing Fund at the Nebraska State Historical Society Foundation.
- Completed writing the last in the series of "Nebraska County Namesake Portraits," a program to provide an interpretive plaque for each Nebraska county courthouse.
- Copublished, with the Nebraska Association of Professional Archeologists, an issue of Central Plains Archaeology devoted to "Marine Shell Ornaments from the Plains."
- Completed editing volume one of a history of Fort Robinson, by Fort Robinson Curator Tom Buecker, to be published in 1999 with support from the Ronald K. and Judith Stolz Parks Publishing Fund at the Nebraska State Historical Society Foundation.
(image) The Nebraska Indian Wars Reader, 18651877, containing articles previously appearing in Nebraska History, was published by the University of Nebraska Press in 1998.
Research and Publications Division
State Historic Preservation Office
" The mission of the State Historic Preservation Office
is to promote the preservation and enhancement
of the cultural resources of the state of Nebraska."
The Society administers Nebraska's historic preservation program under the National Historic Preservation Act. The program includes the Nebraska Historic Buildings Survey, archeological surveys, the National Register of Historic Places for Nebraska, review of federal undertakings, and assistance to developers of historic rehabilitation projects qualifying for federal tax incentives. The Nebraska State Historic Preservation Board serves in an advisory capacity to the state historic preservation program, including the review and recommendation of properties to the National Register of Historic Places. The National Park Service issues certification to participate in federally sponsored programs of historic preservation and supports the preservation program with grant funding for office operations, local government preservation programs, and survey projects.
- Cosponsored the Nebraska Lied Main Street Program in cooperation with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln College of Architecture, Nebraska Department of Economic Development and Nebraska Department of Roads. Participating communities are Fremont, Red Cloud, Alliance, Ogallala, Gothenburg, Minden, McCook, Bassett, Scottsbluff, Beatrice, and Central City.
- Processed the listing of twenty-three properties to the National Register of Historic Places in Omaha, Lincoln, Scottsbluff, rural Kimball County, Mitchell, Nebraska City, Beatrice, Steele City, rural Cass County, Broken Bow, rural Hall County, Wilber, and Springfield.
- Sponsored the Nebraska State Historical Society 1997 History Conference, "Build- ing Foundations: Historic Preservation in Our Towns." Conference tracks included field studies in Pawnee City and South Omaha and illustrated preservation fundamentals at work in a community setting.
- Participated in the National Park Service "Best Practices in Preservation Planning" Project as one of four state preservation programs selected.
- Received recognition for the Nebraska Historic Buildings Survey as one of Nebraska's 1997 "Outstanding 100 Rural Development Initiatives," an awards program of the Nebraska Rural Development Commission. Another six projects honored in 1997 were sponsored or assisted by efforts of the office.
- Cosponsored the Second Annual Panhandle Landmarks Conference in Alliance, attracting participants from an eleven-county membership region as well as statewide.
- Published the first booklet of a series, "Explore Nebraska Archeology," produced jointly by the State Historic Preservation Office and the Archeology Division.
- Consulted with private developers of historic properties and processed applica- tions for federal rehabilitation tax credit, resulting in proposed and ongoing projects in Omaha, Lincoln, Unadilla, Fairbury, Superior, Norfolk, Tecumseh, and Fremont. Private investment in new and proposed projects range from $95,000 to $6.6 million, involving sixteen historic buildings slated for commercial rehabilita- tion and 188 housing units.
- Funded preservation planning services for Red Cloud and Fremont in cooperation with the communities' participation in the Nebraska Lied Main Street Program and community-wide comprehensive plans in development.
- Began preparation for a Nebraska Historic Buildings Survey in Adams County in cooperation with the county, city of Hastings, and Adams County Historical Society.
- Funded a 5,000-acre archeological survey of the lower Beaver Creek and Big Blue River drainages in Red Willow, Furnas, Gage, and Pawnee counties.
- Initiated an archeological survey of the Shell Creek and Loup River drainages in Boone, Platte, Colfax, Butler, Dodge, Saunders, Nance, Merrick, Howard, Greeley, Antelope, and Wheeler counties.
- Prepared a five-year archeological survey strategy directed at Geographic Informa- tion System (GIS) development and research initiatives.
- Consulted with the Nebraska Statewide Arboretum and participated in a series entitled, Nebraska's Historic Landscapes, which aired on Nebraska ETV.
- Commented on 1,200 federal undertakings for potential effects on historic and culturally significant properties, including Beltway and Antelope Valley Major Investment Studies in Lincoln and mitigation strategy for excess federal property in Omaha.
- Funded Certified Local Government (CLG) historic preservation programs in Lincoln and Omaha. The designation of six historic properties in Omaha and a study of African American settlement in Lincoln were underwritten by CLG funding.
- Supervised the preparation of a National Historic Landmark amendment to recognize the landscape design of the Nebraska State Capitol, in cooperation with the National Park Service and Capitol Restoration and Promotion manager.
- Participated in a statewide ad hoc task force on preservation incentives in coop eration with the National Trust for Historic Preservation and Nebraska preserva- tion groups.
- Conducted or participated in forty-five informational public meetings in twenty-two counties.
- Added approximately 150 properties to the Nebraska Historic Buildings Survey with completion of a survey for Sheridan County, including evaluation of places and historic landscapes associated with author Mari Sandoz and the Spade Ranch.
(image) Highlights of the 1997 NSHS History Conference included field studies in Pawnee City and South Omaha (above).
State Historic Preservation Office
" The mission of the Archeology Division
is to preserve, enhance, explore, and interpret
Nebraska's archeological resources for the benefit
of the public and the advancement of science."
- Evaluated 190 Nebraska Department of Roads projects for potential impact to National Register-eligible sites. Over fifty new archeological sites were discovered.
- Developed a Nebraska Trailblazer on Nebraska Archeology.
- Developed a booklet publication series titled "Explore Nebraska Archeology" in conjunction with the Historic Preservation Office. Two installments were com- pleted--one on Blue River Basin archeology and the other on the Lower Platte Valley archeology.
- Conducted the annual volunteer dig, this year at the Aldrich site, a Nemaha County African American pioneer settlement.
- Recorded about one hundred previously unknown archeological sites identified by archeologists from the Society and other agencies.
- Completed a publication on recent discoveries at Fort Atkinson State Historical Park
- Conducted a sample archeological survey of the Bar-8 Ranch located in the Wildcat Hills of Scotts Bluff County. About fifteen new archeological sites were discovered.
- Presented two days of archeology lectures to students, employees, and residents of the Pawnee Nation of Oklahoma.
- Organized a joint repatriation of skeletal remains and funerary objects to the Ioway, Kaw, and Oto-Missouria tribes.
- Conducted extensive excavations at an early eighteenth-century Oto Indian village located in a housing development near Papillion.
- Received a Federal Highway Administration/Nebraska Department of Roads grant for development of a GIS (Geographic Information System) program for Nebraska cultural resources.
- Participated in eight investigations at the State Patrol crime lab and assisted with the recovery of human skeletal remains believed to be the result of a Dawson County homicide.
(image) Ruth Nielsen of Omaha and Larry Zeckser of Bellevue volunteered for the dig at the Aldrich archeological site, an early African American farmstead in Nemaha County.
" The mission of the Conservation Division is to conserve
the historical, cultural, and educational collections
of the state of Nebraska and surrounding areas
through preservation activities and conservation treatment
of objects, paper and archive materials, and textiles."
The Conservation Division, located at the Gerald R. Ford Conservation Center in Omaha, provides conservation and preservation services for the cultural, historical, and educational collections of Nebraska and the region. Services include consultation, assessment of collection condition, assessment of conservation needs, educational opportunities and training for residents of the region, and the specialized conservation treatment of collection materials.
- Worked on conservation of the historic textile panels in the governor's office at the State Capitol Building in Lincoln.
- Cleaned and repaired three glass chandeliers for installation as part of the governor's residence restoration project.
- Equipped, staffed, and opened the Digital Imaging Laboratory (in association with the Library/Archives Division) for the digitization of collections from cultural institutions in Nebraska and the region. The lab has been funded by grants from the Lozier Foundation and the NSHS Foundation.
- Taught a three-credit graduate level course in Preventive Conservation for the University of Nebraska-Lincoln museum studies program.
- Collaborated with the Joslyn Art Museum to prepare and install an exhibition, Making Art Last: The Care and Conservation of Museum Collections.
- Started a new lecture series called "The Collectors Saturday Lecture Series," a free public workshop held once a month on a variety of preservation topics. The lecture series has been supported by a grant from the Ahmanson Foundation.
- Presented workshops in the Collections Care Maintenance and Training Program at the University of Missouri at Kansas City and the Collections Care Training Program at the University of Delaware on the care of metals, plastics, and organic materials.
- Delivered over thirty-four workshops and lectures for the public and NSHS staff covering topics such as emergency preparedness and response, quilt conserva- tion, exhibits preparation, and the preservation of paper objects (sponsored by the State Historical Records Advisory Board). One workshop included exhibit preparators and designers from museums in Nebraska and Kansas.
- Accepted over two hundred new projects for conservation treatment.
- Began to survey, assess, and conserve 187 dolls from the Brunnier Art Gallery of the Iowa State University.
- Participated as judges in the Omaha area History Day competition, judging in the media and performance categories.
- Directed an internship by Diane Russell-Harbison, graduate conservation student at Buffalo State University, which was funded by the NSHS Foundation.
- Cosponsored a workshop for staff of the Omaha Public Library on the care of glass plate negatives.
- Hosted twenty-eight events in Paxson Hall during the year.
- Implemented a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services to assess the textile conservation needs of Nebraska and the region.
- Hosted over two thousand visitors to the Gerald R. Ford Exhibit this year.
- Published Are You Prepared? A Guide to Emergency Planning, funded by the Nebraska Museums Association.
(image) Diane Russell-Harbison (on ladder), Debbie Long (center), and Mary Jo Miller of the Gerald R. Ford Conservation Center evaluate the conservation needs of textile panels in the governor's office at the state capitol building.
(image) Museum studies students from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln examine collection materials in a Ford Conservation Center laboratory.
Nebraska State Historical Society Foundation
The Nebraska State Historical Society Foundation was incorporated in 1942 as a public, nonprofit, 501(c)3 charitable organization. The articles of incorporation and bylaws describe its missions as: (1) to financially assist the Historical Society, (2) to aid in the general preservation and interpretation of Nebraska history, and (3) to preserve historical sites and structures.
Those goals remain the same today, and the success of each of those goals is dependent upon private support.
The Foundation, with the assistance of the Board of Trustees, secures gifts of cash and property from individuals and organizations to support the activities of the Nebraska State Historical Society. The Foundation's Board of Trustees comprises individuals from across the state and beyond who value and support Nebraska's unique heritage and wish to help the Historical Society fulfill its mission "to safeguard and interpret Nebraska's past."
The Foundation receives support for the Historical Society's activities in many sizes from many sources. All gifts are deeply appreciated and we are pleased to recognize those donors who generously provided annual support during the 199798 fiscal year.
In addition, lifetime recognition is bestowed on individuals and organizations categorized as "Stewards" and "Guardians." Their support, through contributions and/or bequests, represents exceptional gift leadership. Gifts of this size can provide dependable, long-term funding for ongoing programs. Individuals who have notified the Foundation of future gifts at these levels, to be provided through their estates, are also included.
A gift of cash, appreciated securities, personal property, real estate, and/or life insurance can establish a named endowment or memorial; reduce or eliminate income tax, capital gains, and inheritance taxes; and/or provide a guaranteed life income through a deferred gift arrangement. All inquiries are confidential, and no obligation is implied. For information on how to arrange an outright or deferred gift, please contact:
Nebraska State Historical Society Foundation
408 Lincoln Center Bldg.
215 South Centennial Mall
Lincoln, NE 68508-1813
Telephone: 402-435-3535 Fax: 402-435-3986
Financial Report, Nebraska State Historical Society
Fiscal Year 1997-98 Operations
(Based on preliminary year-end information. Excludes fiscal year accruals.)
Revenues % Dollar Amounts State Appropriations 73.47 $3,381,224 NSHS Foundation Support 3.89 179,268 Earned Income 14.09 648,554 Federal Grants/Contracts 8.07 371,541 Donations/Grants/Spec. Events .48 21,970 Total Revenues $4,602,557 Expenditures Personnel/Administrative 25.23 $1,161,463 Museum/Historic Sites 24.97 1,149,429 Library/Archives 16.96 780,496 Historic Preservation 10.28 473,135 Conservation 7.99 367,799 Archeology 7.64 351,458 Research & Publications 6.93 318,777 Total Expenditures $4,602,557
Tony A. Schmitz
Deputy Director for Operations