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
"The mission of the Nebraska State Historical Society is to safeguard and interpret Nebraska's past." This mission statement summarizes the content of a revised Strategic Plan adopted by the Board of Trustees in 1999. This strategic plan provides a road map for the Nebraska State Historical Society, assuring all Nebraskans that their historical society is on course and prepared to enter the new millennium.
Fortunately, our road map has many very capable navigators. It has been stated that Nebraska's greatest asset is its people. This statement is certainly true when describing the administration, staff, and volunteers at the Nebraska State Historical Society. I never cease to be amazed at the proficiency and professionalism demonstrated by these people. From the capable leadership of our director, Larry Sommer, to the unique backgrounds and expertise provided to each division by our associate directors, to the work ethic and conscientiousness of our staff, to the boundless enthusiasm of our volunteers, to the selfless dedication of our Board of Trustees-each person makes his or her own unique contribution towards helping the Nebraska State Historical Society fulfill its responsibility for being the state's principal historical organization. And, of course, the strength of the Nebraska State Historical Society comes from its membership. I want to thank everyone who has supported the Society with memberships and contributions of time, talent, and monetary gifts.
I would also like to thank Jac Spahn and the entire Board of Directors of the Nebraska State Historical Society Foundation for sharing our vision and for working so diligently to obtain necessary funding that Nebraska's legacy might be preserved for future generations. If the Foundation was unable to attract and manage private sector funding, many of our programs would cease to exist, many excellent publications would remain unpublished, and many artifacts and sites important to the history and development of Nebraska would not be obtained for our use and interpretation.
Although it is with sadness that my final term on the Board of Trustees comes to an end, I have a great deal of confidence in the future of the Nebraska State Historical Society. We have the people and the programs in place that will continue to safeguard and interpret Nebraska's history and to preserve our heritage into the next millennium.
Walter M. Duda
From the Director
The information presented in 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 additional information about the Nebraska State Historical Society.
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. Thanks, too, to former Governor Ben Nelson, new Governor Mike Johanns, and members of the Nebraska legislature for the state's continued support.
Throughout the past year the Society experienced stable attendance at its museums and historic sites. Society programs also were well received. For the second year in a row Sunday afternoon programs at Chimney Rock drew capacity crowds, and record numbers of Nebraska students participated in the National History Day: Nebraska program. Thanks to support from the Lux History Endowment fund at the Nebraska State Historical Society Foundation, the Society was able to award travel scholarships to every Nebraska student who participated in the National History Day competition in Washington, D.C. These scholarships will be awarded every year.
During this past year the NSHS Library/Archives completed moving the state public records archives into the K Street Records Center, a joint city-county-state facility housed in a renovated former power plant building in downtown Lincoln.
Throughout the year the Society continued planning for the eventual renovation of the NSHS headquarters and Museum of Nebraska History buildings. Both buildings have obsolete mechanical and electrical systems, and neither meets modern fire, life-safety, and disability access codes. Making sure this necessary work gets funded and completed remains a top Society priority.
Thanks to the efforts of Senator Bob Wickersham of Harrison, the 1999 Nebraska Legislature appropriated $150,000 in state matching funds for the reconstruction of the Cheyenne Outbreak Barracks at Fort Robinson. Within the next two years the Society must raise an equal amount of non-state money so the project can proceed.
Technology continues to change the ways in which we conduct much of our business. For example, Nebraska History magazine is now totally written, edited, and designed electronically. Hard copy does not exist until the magazine comes off the printing press. Similarly, all patron orders for prints from the Society's photograph archives are now produced digitally and can even be sent electronically. Use of the Society's website increases almost every month. And, after less than a year of full operation, the Society's advanced digital imaging lab at the Ford Conservation Center in Omaha is stretching the frontiers of photo analysis as a tool for historical research.
Throughout the year the Society enjoyed significant support from the NSHS Foundation. Funds were granted for a wide variety of projects ranging from acquisitions for Society collections to support for internships and research fellowships for visiting scholars. Designated NSHS Foundation funds also supported several Society publication projects during the year. We appreciate the close working relationship that has developed between the Society and the NSHS Foundation and thank them for their very important and welcome assistance.
I also wish to recognize and thank NSHS Trustees Walt Duda, John Weihing, Bill Pratt, and Burdette Cooley for their service to the Society. Their second terms as trustees are ending, and they are not eligible for reelection or appointment. Their interest, leadership, and good counsel will be missed.
Director and State Historic Preservation Officer
Nebraska State Historical Society Awards
The Society recognized outstanding achievements in various categories with named awards presented during the 1998 history conference.
The James L. Sellers Memorial Award for the best article published in the previous year's volume of Nebraska History went to Mary Cochran Grimes of Hamden, Connecticut, for her article, "Books for Nebraska: Roy and Aileen Cochran and the Nebraska Public Library Commission." The article appeared in the Fall 1997 issue of Nebraska History and was selected by a panel of historians from the University of Nebraska at Omaha. Accompanying the award is a $400 prize from the Nebraska State Historical Society Foundation.
The Addison E. Sheldon Memorial Award for outstanding contributions to the preservation and interpretation of Nebraska history was presented to Dr. Ronald C. Naugle, chair of the history department at Nebraska Wesleyan University. Naugle has been state coordinator of National History Day: Nebraska since 1986, and recently edited and revised a new edition of History of Nebraska, first authored by James C. Olson in 1955.
The citizens and county government of Fillmore County, collectively, received the Nebraska Preservation Award for significant achievement in historic preservation. When faced with the dilemma of preserving the historic 1893-94 county courthouse, voters approved a $1.25 million bond issue for its renovation, and the county board pledged an additional $500,000 from the county inheritance trust fund.
The Robert W. Furnas Award for outstanding contributions to the Nebraska State Historical Society went to the Nebraska Press Association, which made a grant to support the Society's newspaper microfilming program. Furnas was an early Nebraska newspaperman, as well as one of the founders of the Society.
The Society presents awards at a special celebration in May to recognize outstanding student projects in the annual National History Day: Nebraska contest. For 1999 the senior division award went to Michael Berg, Jennifer Burianek, and Stephanie Shubert of Lincoln High School for their documentary project titled "Technology and the Nebraska State Capitol." Their teacher is Jim Barstow. The junior division award recognized John Franti and Tom Hranac of Lux Middle School in Lincoln for their junior group exhibit, "Operation QUE and the Behlen Building." Nancy Svoboda is their teacher. In addition to these two awards, state winners in the various History Day categories, who went on to compete in the National History Day contest, received travel scholarships provided by the Lux History Education Endowment administered by the Nebraska State Historical
(image) Award recipients at the 1998 Society History Conference. (l. to r. ): Dr. Ronald Naugle (Addison E. Sheldon Memorial Award), Dorothy Bunker, representing Fillmore County (Nebraska Preservation Award), and Rod Worrell, representing the Nebraska Press Association (Robert W. Furnas Memorial Award). Not pictured is Mary C. Grimes (James L. Sellers Memorial 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 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.
- Adopted a revised Society strategic plan.
- Established a research grant program for outside scholars, and a research leave program for Society staff.
- Received a Certificate of Commendation from the American Association for State and Local History for the 1997 Fort Robinson History Conference, cosponsored by the Society and the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission.
- Published Nuestros Tesoros (Our Treasures): A Celebration of Nebraska's Mexican Heritage as a product of the Mexican American Traditions in Nebraska Project, cosponsored by the Society and the Nebraska Mexican American Commission. The project received the 1998 Schwartz Prize awarded by the Federation of State Humanities Councils.
- Received a $1,500 collaborative grant from the Lincoln Public Schools Foundation to support development of a student-curated exhibit, Lincoln: A Kids-Eye View, to open in summer, 2000.
- Accepted a $1,000 donation from AAA Nebraska to complete exhibits in the History Adventure Center at the Museum of Nebraska History.
- Received a $25,000 grant from the Nebraska Greenspace Stewardship Program to restore the original historic landscape design at the Society headquarters building.
Historical Society Volunteers
- Contributed a total of 11,667 hours to the Society.
- Greeted 22,225 visitors at Heritage Village, Nebraska State Fair, and provided 440 hours of volunteer service.
- Provided tours to 10,131 of the 12,650 visitors to the Museum of Nebraska History.
- Generated more than $83,601 in net sales at museum stores across the state.
- Assisted with archeology collections and excavations.
- 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 at the Warner Memorial Chamber at the State Capitol.
(image) Mary George (l.) and Ruth Hiner received Volunteer Recognition awards from Director Lawrence Sommer for their contributions at the Ethel and Christopher J. Abbott Visitor Center, Chimney Rock National Historic Site.
" 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.
- Served more than 9,889 patrons in the Reference Room. This represents a greater than ten percent increase from the previous year.
- Acquired 320 boxes of records from the administration of Governor E. Benjamin Nelson.
- Reorganized manuscript collections pertaining to John G. Neihardt, the League of Women Voters of Nebraska, the Brugger family of Columbus, and civil engineer and Omaha mayor Roy Towl.
- Cataloged 685 new titles into the library collections; these and an additional 338 titles already in the collection were added to the online catalog, bringing the total of online titles to more than 17,000.
- Created nearly 5,000 electronic image files, using the Society collections, at the new Digital Imaging Lab. Primary work is being done on the Solomon D. Butcher collection of sod house photographs, which is part of a Library of Congress Ameritech American Memory Award that the Society received in 1998.
- Finished relocating all of the government records collections and security microfilm holdings to the refurbished K Street Records Center in Lincoln.
- Helped to create the program and provided faculty for "The Nebraska Institute: Teaching Nebraska History and Culture Through Social Studies and the Humanities." The Institute enables teachers to explore resources, issues, instructional strategies, and technologies to bring Nebraska history into the classroom.
- Answered 4,350 mail requests, almost 300 more than in FY98.
- Produced 177 reels of Nebraska newspapers as part of The Nebraska Newspaper Project, a cooperative project with the University Libraries at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities. This project seeks missing newspaper titles and issues for cataloging onto OCLC, an international database, and for microfilming.
- Loaned 542 reels of microfilm to customers via interlibrary loan.
- Received grants from the National Film Preservation Foundation for the restoration of two Nebraska films: Kearney and Its People in Motion Pictures (Kearney, 1926) and Delco Farm Lighting (Silver Creek, 1918).
- Completed digital imaging projects for the Capitol Archives, Creighton University, the Omaha City Planning Department, as well as for individuals wanting to preserve their family collections by creating electronic image files.
- Supervised Correctional Services Industries in the production of 191 microfilm reels of current newspaper titles.
- Began projects to microfilm county probate records and the records of Lincoln's Wyuka Cemetery, in partnership with the Genealogical Society of Utah.
- Curated the film series, A Fine Romance: Fred Astaire and the Movies, in cooperation with the Museum of Nebraska History, which attracted an attendance of more than 1,000.
- Showcased a display in the headquarters hallway titled, A Nebraskan Goes to Nato: General Alfred M. Gruenther.
(image) A tour of Lincoln's South Bottoms Historic District was part of the summer 1998 Nebraska Institute. Here the group visits the William H. Tyler house. Courtesy Ron Naugle
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 136,736 visitors at facilities statewide.
- Accessioned 129 collections of artifacts into the museum, from which 1,117 artifacts were cataloged. An additional 489 items received prior to July 1, 1998, were cataloged, bringing the total number of artifacts cataloged to 1,606.
- two ballroom dancing gowns donated by Elsa Rozanek.
- the David Wiebe violin, commissioned by the Society and purchased in part with funds in memory of Mary Hanna Hansen Lux and Clarence Burton Lux by the Gladys Marie Lux Museum Acquisition Endowment established at the Nebraska State Historical Society Foundation.
- the Richard Kiddle House model made and donated by Dr. W. F. Loomis.
- household items from the Grace Souther Estate.
- the Edward Givens blacksmith tool collection donated by Sam Fisher.
- King Seed Drill donated by Keith and Marjorie Burt.
- Governor Keith Neville family wedding dresses from Irene Neville Bystrom, Mary Nelson Neville Sieman, Frances Neville Newberry, and Virginia Neville Robertson.
- Cushman Motor Scooter sign donated by Karen Harper.
- Added 2,614 objects to the computerized inventory database of the museum collections, bringing the total to 160,102.
- Assisted over one hundred researchers in the museum collections department.
- Loaned museum collections artifacts to other institutions, including: the Genoa Historical Museum, the Cherry County Historical Museum, the Wayne County Historical Museum of Richmond, Indiana, the Verdigre Heritage Museum, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln State Museum, and the Tecumseh Chamber of Commerce.
- Organized four workshops held across the state on textile conservation, funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services, a federal agency, in cooperation with the Nebraska Museums Association and the NSHS Conservation Division.
- Greeted 22,225 visitors at Heritage Village during the Nebraska State Fair.
- Participated in National History Day: Nebraska, as judges for district and state contests, and for the Society's special award. Organized and sponsored the third annual "Nebraska History Day Celebration" at the state capitol, where scholarships to underwrite travel to the national contest were presented to state winners, courtesy of the Lux History Education Endowment of the Nebraska State Historical Society Foundation.
- Provided a Czech educational trunk to Educational Service Units in Kearney, Auburn, North Platte, Columbus, Neligh, and the Lincoln Public Schools (including thirty Lincoln Schools, for use by 1,500 students). The Czech trunk was also provided to nonpublic schools in Madison, Omaha, and Emerson, and loaned for use by an education class at UNL.
- Coordinated the state awards program for the American Association for State and Local History.
- Organized and sponsored Quilt Day at the Museum, Willa Cather Celebration, Buffalo Bill Day, Won't You Be My Valentine, and Dearly Beloved events in conjunction with temporary exhibits and historic anniversaries.
- Hosted 12,650 people on museum tours. Volunteers provided tours to 260 groups, consisting of 10,131 people. Of these total visitors, 7,518 in 175 groups visited the History Adventure Center.
- Printed 137,484 copies of Nebraska Trailblazer for free distribution to fourth graders across Nebraska. An additional 22,759 copies were purchased for use in schools.
- Collaborated with an Omaha teacher to develop an online teacher's guide to six popular Nebraska Trailblazers featuring hands-on activities and accounts from primary documents.
- Coordinated society participation as a partner in the Challenge Grant for Technology in Education, organized by the Kansas City, Missouri, School District.
- Worked with ninety children aged seven to twelve years in four summer workshops in 1999, exploring state symbols, photography, sod houses, and prehistoric Nebraska.
- Assisted Lincoln Public Schools with the development of a Heritage School trunk. This traveling trunk of objects, books, and activities related to one-room schoolhouses will be used by LPS schools in preparation for students' visits to the Heritage School at State Fair Park.
- Cosponsored (with Nebraska Wesleyan University, Lincoln Public Schools, and the Cooper Foundation) and coordinated the first annual Nebraska Institute for teachers. Introduced sixteen teachers of grades three through twelve to Nebraska history resources and new perspectives and methods for infusing Nebraska history and culture into their classrooms.
- Continued script development and artifact selection for The Nebraska Experiment, the third phase of the museum's permanent galleries.
- Transported and installed a temporary loan exhibit, Buffalo Bill's Wild West, from the Buffalo Bill Memorial Museum, Golden, Colorado.
- Provided research, scriptwriting, and/or design of the temporary exhibits Nebraska's Wild West, Nebraska's Mr. Baseball: Clarence Mitchell, 1998 Holidays Past, Drawing on the Beat: John Falter's Jazz Portraits, Won't You Be My Valentine, and Dearly Beloved: Gifts and Gowns from Nebraska Weddings (June 1, 1999 to May 31, 2000).
- Created and installed exhibits at other locations, including the Kiddle House model, A Nebraskan Goes to NATO: General Alfred M. Gruenther, and Road Trip! Life on Vacation with the Gehrkes of Lincoln at the Society headquarters building; Digital Imaging, at the Ford Conservation Center, Omaha; Buffalo Soldiers in Nebraska photo exhibit at Chimney Rock; additions to the Barney Oldfield exhibit on loan to Tecumseh Chamber of Commerce.
- Provided design and layout for all regular Society publications and special publications, including: Fort Robinson and the American West, 1874-1899, by Thomas R. Buecker; The Fontenelle and Cabanné Trading Posts: The History and Archeology of Two Missouri River Sites, 1822-1838, by Richard E. Jensen; Spans in Time: A History of Nebraska Bridges, cosponsored with the Nebraska Department of Roads; Explore Nebraska Archeology, No. 3, Sand Hills Archeology; and No. 4, The Cheyenne Outbreak Barracks; and an issue of Central Plains Archeology, copublished with the Nebraska Association of Professional Archeologists.
- Redesigned Society website home page and maintained and added to the site, including a new Nebraska Trailblazer Teacher's Guide (currently over 475 pages of text and more than 1,100 image files).
- Developed artifact-related products for sale in the museum stores, including painter's cap and magnets for the Neligh Mill and a Ninth Cavalry coffee mug for Fort Robinson.
(image) A Buffalo Bill look-alike contest was a feature of Buffalo Bill Day at the Museum of Nebraska History on November 1.
(image) Legendary bassist Jack Lesberg was the featured guest and performer at a March 5 Museum of Nebraska History event highlighting the exhibit, Drawing on the Beat: John Falter's Jazz Portraits. Lesberg was the subject of one of Falter's portraits. The event was cohosted by the Berman Music Foundation of Lincoln.
Museum/Historic Sites Division
The Nebraska State Historical Society's historic sites program provides people with the opportunity to see and experience firsthand where some of our state's most exciting history has taken place. More than 79,000 people took advantage of the opportunity to visit the Society's seven historic sites during the past year.
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 271 people for the "Sunday Afternoon at the Rock" speakers series in January and February.
- Welcomed the California Gold Rush Wagon Train as part of the sesquicentennial of the California gold rush.
- Displayed a prize-winning National History Day: Nebraska project about the Oregon Trail.
- Installed a temporary exhibit on Buffalo Soldiers.
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."
- Published the first volume of a comprehensive history of Fort Robinson, Fort Robinson and the American West, 1874-1890, by museum curator Thomas R. Buecker.
- Commemorated the fiftieth anniversary of the abandonment of Fort Robinson by the U.S. Army with a special program held on July 1, 1998.
- Assisted the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission with a June 5, 1999,
celebration marking the 125th anniversary of the fort's founding.
- Installed new roofs on the 1900 wheelwright's shop and the reconstructed 1874 adjutant's office and guardhouse.
- Assisted with the reconstruction of the 1935 monument marking the site of the July 1876 Warbonnet Skirmish north of Crawford.
- Researched the history of the military reservation boundary in order to expand the fort's National Landmark District.
(image) In May "Friends of the Warbonnet Battlefield" reconstructed a monument northwest of Crawford marking the site of a July 17, 1876, skirmish between the Fifth U.S. Cavalry and Sioux and Cheyenne Indians. The 1935 cairn had been severely damaged due to unknown causes. (l. to r.): Steve Scoggan, NSHS; Paul Hedren, National Park Service; Steve Kemper and Tom Morrison, Nebraska Game and Parks Commission; Jim Potter, NSHS. Others participating were Tom Buecker, NSHS; Jerome Greene, NPS; and Gail Potter, Museum of the Fur Trade.
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."
- Completed long-term project of repainting the house, returning to the original colors of gray with white trim.
- Welcomed over one thousand people at a holiday open house.
- Hosted "Pastimes and Playthings," a festival of old toys and games for children
at the Kennard House, with 309 students participating. Shared "Pastimes and Playthings" toys with the communities of Red Cloud and Lincoln.
(image) The Kennard House now wears its original colors of gray and white.
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."
- Greeted visitors from forty-six states and fifteen countries.
- Painted the 1886 warehouse portion of the mill.
- Stabilized the mill's Elkhorn riverbank.
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 two quilt shows and a spinning and weaving show.
- Participated in the Cornhusker Boys and Girls County Government program.
- Represented the Society at the Fest-of-All held in Oberlin, Kansas, which featured one hundred communities from southwest Nebraska, northwest Kansas, and northeast Colorado.
(image) Linda Hein, supervisor at the Senator George Norris State Historic Site in McCook, was honored as the volunteer of the year for the McCook Lied Main Street Program.
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."
- Coordinated the Nebraska Department of Roads' declaration of twenty miles of Highway 281, from the Cather Prairie at the Kansas/Nebraska border to the Catherland state historical marker fourteen miles north of Red Cloud, as "Willa Cather Roadway." Senator J. Robert Kerrey dedicated the roadway on May 1, 1999.
- Received a $4,850 grant from the Nebraska Department of Tourism to produce a brochure for the Cather, Neihardt, Sandoz, and Aldrich sites.
- Received a $10,000 grant from Nebraska Statewide Arboretum to landscape the Episcopal Church grounds. Planted the first tree, a blue spruce, on April 30 in celebration of Arbor Day.
- Received a $1,200 grant from the Nebraska Humanities Council for the Willa Cather Spring Conference.
- Completed substantial exterior repair and interior renovation of the Burlington Depot.
- Replaced the rear porch on the Cather Childhood Home.
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."
- Garnered record attendance of more than two hundred for the Neihardt Spring Conference, featuring Pulitzer Prize-winning author N. Scott Momaday, who spoke on the conference theme, "A Sense of Place." Four young Native American scholars from the Red Cloud Indian School in South Dakota--winners of the first Neihardt/Black Elk Scholars Awards--also spoke.
- Exhibited intertribal artworks from the collection of the Red Cloud Indian Heritage Center in Pine Ridge, South Dakota.
- Featured historian Paul Hedren speaking on "The Last Days of Sitting Bull as a Warrior" at the annual August Neihardt Day.
- Launched the first John G. Neihardt Institute for Vision and Learning program and the Neihardt/Black Elk Young Writers Workshop for Native American students. Seventeen youth representing five tribes spent a week of intensive instruction with Wayne State College faculty. A small book was published of their works as part of the workshop, funded by the Messenger of Healing Winds Foundation.
- Replanted the Sacred Hoop Prayer Garden.
- Scraped and painted the Neihardt study.
(image) A panel discussion at the Neihardt Spring Conference featured Pulitzer Prize-winning author N. Scott Momaday and scholars from the Red Cloud Indian School who received the first Neihardt/Black Elk Scholars Awards. (Seated, l. to r.): John Clifford, Candice Brings Plenty, Momaday, Julie Blacksmith, and Randi Gibbons. (Standing, l. to r.): Charles Trimble, Neihardt Site director, John Carter of NSHS, and Nancy Crump, Neihardt Site assistant director.
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 The Fontenelle and Cabanné Trading Posts: The History and Archeology of Two Missouri River Sites, 1822-1838, by Richard E. Jensen, which was supported by a grant from the William B. Webster Memorial Publishing Fund at the Nebraska State Historical Society Foundation.
- Published Fort Robinson and the American West, 1874-1899, by Thomas R. Buecker, which was supported by a grant from the Ronald K. and Judith M. Stolz Parks Publishing Fund at the Nebraska State Historical Society Foundation.
- Coordinated production of eight Nebraska state historical markers.
- Coordinated award of the first Society Research Grant, a program approved by the Board of Trustees to encourage non-staff scholars to conduct research in Society collections and submit the results to Nebraska History.
- Continued transcribing and editing of the Eli S. Ricker collection of Indian wars interviews for pending publication.
- Participated in the "Friends of the Warbonnet Battlefield" project to reconstruct a damaged monument at the site northwest of Crawford.
- Published "Where is Nebraska, Anyway?", a special issue of Nebraska History that explored the theme of Nebraska and regionalism.
- Copublished, with the Nebraska Association of Professional Archeologists, an issue of Central Plains Archeology with articles on the Schudel Site Complex and an archeological survey of the Lower Pony Creek Valley.
- Completed editing the Rolf Johnson diaries of Swedish settlement in Phelps County, 1875-80, for submission to the University of Nebraska Press.
(image) The Nebraska Indian Wars Reader, 1865-1877, 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 Nebraska Community Foundation, Nebraska Rural Development Commission, Nebraska Department of Economic Development, Nebraska Department of Roads, and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln College of Architecture. Participating communities are Fremont, Red Cloud, Alliance, Ogallala, Gothenburg, Minden, McCook, Bassett, Scottsbluff, Beatrice, Central City, and Wayne.
- Processed the listing of twenty properties to the National Register of Historic Places in Omaha, Lincoln, Spalding, rural Loup County, Norfolk, rural Merrick County, Kearney, Shelton, Atkinson, Fairbury, Table Rock, Crofton, rural Howard County, and rural Platte County.
- Participated in interagency programs and planning including the Nebraska Department of Roads Transportation Enhancement Program, Historic Byways Program, Nebraska Energy Office "Rebuild Otoe County," and the Community Cultural Development Partnership composed of six government and private agencies.
- Cosponsored the third annual Panhandle Landmarks Conference in Scottsbluff and at Agate Fossil Beds, attracting participants from an eleven-county membership region as well as statewide. The second annual conference was named one of Nebraska's 1998 "Outstanding 100 Rural Development Initiatives."
- Sponsored or assisted six projects recognized for Nebraska's 1998 "Outstanding 100 Rural Development Initiatives," an awards program of the Nebraska Rural Development Commission.
- Participated in regional development initiatives including the Northeast Nebraska Travel Council and South Panhandle Community Builders.
- Cosponsored the joint conference of Nebraska Lied Main Street Program, Nebraska Community Improvement Program, and Nebraska Community Builders held in Sidney. A postconference tour of the historic Lincoln Highway, hosted by staff, was named one of Nebraska's 1998 "Outstanding 100 Rural Development Initiatives" and recognized efforts of the South Panhandle Community Builders to promote the historic highway (now U.S. 30) through Kimball, Dix, Potter, Sunol, Sidney, Lodgepole, and Chappell.
- Copublished one of a series of Explore Nebraska Archeology pamphlets, produced jointly by the State Historic Preservation Office and the Archeology Division.
- Consulted with private developers of historic properties and processed applications for federal rehabilitation tax credits, resulting in proposed and ongoing projects in Omaha, Lincoln, Scottsbluff, Fremont, and Glenvil. Private investment in new and proposed projects range from $31,000 to $21.7 million, involving nine historic buildings slated for commercial redevelopment and 159 housing units.
- Completed preservation plans for Red Cloud and Fremont in cooperation with the communities' participation in the Nebraska Lied Main Street Program and community-wide comprehensive planning. The Red Cloud preservation plan was named one of Nebraska's 1998 "Outstanding 100 Rural Development Initiatives."
- Consulted with Red Cloud and Fairbury in developing local preservation ordinances.
- Funded Certified Local Government (CLG) historic preservation programs in Lincoln and Omaha. In Omaha, interpretive markers were underwritten by CLG funds for the city's historic parks and boulevard system. A study of African American settlement in Lincoln was underwritten, including archeological investigations and a multiple property study of historic and architectural resources, which led to the listing of four properties in the National Register of Historic Places.
- Completed nomination 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 programs.
- Initiated a boundary revision and comprehensive evaluation of historic resources for the Fort Robinson National Historic Landmark. The project is a cooperative effort of the State Historic Preservation Office and the Society's Fort Robinson Museum under contract with the National Park Service Midwest Region in Omaha.
- Commented on 1,177 federal undertakings for potential effects on historic and culturally significant properties, including the Lincoln South and East Beltway study, Meridian Highway Bridge at Yankton, South Dakota, and cultural resource management plans for Kingsley Dam and North Platte/Keystone Division hydroelectric systems.
- Coedited Spans in Time: A History of Nebraska Bridges, a book published by the Nebraska State Historical Society and the Nebraska Department of Roads and scheduled for release in the fall of 1999.
- Began preparation for a Nebraska Historic Buildings Survey in Wayne and Cuming counties. Development of a northeast Nebraska preservation advocacy group will begin in conjunction with these surveys and the Wayne Main Street Program.
- Initiated a comprehensive contextual study of historic school buildings in Nebraska. In part, the study will assist communities in nominating historic schools to the National Register of Historic Places and promoting reuse of vacant or surplus schools.
- Completed a Nebraska Historic Buildings Survey in Adams County in cooperation with the county, city of Hastings, and Adams County Historical Society. Approximately 953 properties were added to the survey as a result of this project, including properties evaluated for the Heartwell Park neighborhood in Hastings, African American and Germans from Russia settlement, the commercial area of Hastings, and a preservation planning component.
- Participated in a statewide ad hoc task force on preservation incentives in cooperation with the National Trust for Historic Preservation and Nebraska preservation groups.
- Sponsored sessions of the 1998 "Nebraska Institute: Teaching Nebraska History and Culture through Social Studies and the Humanities" about teaching with historic places. A community project on the same subject was cosponsored with the Central City Main Street program and Central City middle school.
- Hosted a summer intern from the SUROP program of Historically Black Colleges and Universities. An African American documentation and oral history project in Hastings will follow.
- Completed a five-thousand-acre 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.
- Cosponsored, with the Society's Archeology Division, archeological investigations and National Register evaluation for five sites in Cass, Sioux, Box Butte, Cherry, and Banner counties.
- Initiated a statewide evaluation of historic aviation properties in cooperation with the Nebraska Department of Aeronautics. The first phase will include World War II airfields.
- Prepared a website entry for all Nebraska properties listed in the National Register of Historic Places. The county-by-county list, including a summary of each property and photographs, will be available in the fall of 1999.
- Completed a geographic information system (GIS) overlay of historic trail systems and sites recorded in General Land Office surveys dating from 1855 to 1920. Trails are color coded and the maps are divided by decade.
- Hosted National Preservation Week on the theme, "Protecting the Irreplaceable," in cooperation with organizations statewide.
(image) The South Platte Community Builders sponsored a tour of the historic Lincoln Highway for Nebraska community development representatives, shown here in Potter.
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."
The division's primary responsibility is operation of the Nebraska Highway Archeology Program. Division staff evaluate all proposed highway and federal-aid county road improvements in the state for potential impact to significant archeological and historic sites. If such sites cannot be avoided, excavations are carried out. The Archeology Division conducts similar work for other agencies, such as the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission and the Natural Resources Conservation Service. The archeological collection includes three thousand boxes of artifacts managed and curated by division staff. The division is the primary repository for reports and archival material involving Nebraska archeological investigations. Staff members are actively engaged in Great Plains archeological research and publishing.
- Evaluated 218 Nebraska Department of Roads projects for potential impact to National Register-eligible sites. More than thirty new archeological sites were discovered. Excavations were conducted at sites in Sheridan and Furnas counties.
- Published two new installments of the booklet publication series titled Explore Nebraska Archeology, one on the Cheyenne Outbreak Barracks, and the other on Sand Hills archeology.
- Recorded more than two hundred previously unknown archeological sites identified by archeologists from the Society and other agencies.
- Completed excavations at the Eagle Ridge site, an early eighteenth-century Oto Indian village discovered in a housing development near Papillion.
- Continued work on development of a GIS (Geographic Information System) program for Nebraska cultural resources.
- Participated in five investigations at the State Patrol crime lab and provided testimony in a homicide trial in Dawson County.
- Consulted with the Pawnee Tribe of Oklahoma regarding a history and cultural museum in Pawnee, Oklahoma.
- Completed a cultural resources survey of portions of the Metcalf State Wildlife Management Area in Sheridan County for the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission.
- Sponsored archeological fieldwork training for University of Nebraska students and members of the Pawnee Tribe of Oklahoma.
- Established a western Nebraska Highway Archeology Program office at Fort Robinson.
- Conducted National Register of Historic Places archeological investigations in Cass, Saunders, Box Butte, Sioux, and Banner counties in cooperation with the State Historic Preservation Office.
(image) Archeology Division staff excavating an ancient hearth in the Wildcat Hills, Banner County. (l. to r.): John Ludwickson, Melissa Baier, Tamie Sawaged, Jennifer Becic, Rob Bozell, and Gayle Carlson.
(image) Interns from the Pawnee Tribe of Oklahoma assisted Archeology Division staff during work at an early eighteenth-century village site near Papillion. (l. to r.): Ed Echo-Hawk; Trish Nelson, Gayle Carlson, and Rob Bozell, all of NSHS; J. P. LaVenture,
and Kay Tefertiller.
" 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 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.
- Held a workshop on the Care and Conservation of Glass and Stained Glass for conservators, stained glass artists, and historic preservation professionals from across America. This workshop was supported by a grant from the National Center For Preservation Technology and Training of the National Park Service.
- Held a series of workshops across the state on the care of textile collections in cooperation with the Society's education and statewide services department. The workshops were part of a larger grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services to assess the textile conservation needs of Nebraska and the surrounding region and to provide initial training in the fundamentals of textile collection care.
- Completed Conservation Assessments for the Elkhorn Valley Museum in Norfolk and Fort Atkinson State Historical Park in Fort Calhoun. These assessments were funded through the IMLS CAP program and administered by Heritage Preservation, a national preservation organization.
- Assisted with emergency response and conservation during and after the fire that damaged the Bemis Building in Omaha, where many artists' studios were impacted. Consulted on fire related damages to the collections of the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial in St. Louis and consulted with the staff of the Harrison County Welcome Center near Missouri Valley, Iowa, after a tornado damaged several buildings that contained museum objects.
- Completed conservation treatment of the silver service from the battleship USS Nebraska as part of the Governor's Mansion restoration project. The silver is on display in the Governor's Mansion.
- Completed the assessment and conservation of 187 dolls from the Brunnier Art Gallery of the Iowa State University.
- Assisted in examination and installation of the Asian Art exhibition at the Joslyn Art Museum.
- Completed remedial collection management of the Byron Reed Collection of coins, paper money, and documents for the city of Omaha.
- Organized and taught a three-credit, graduate-level course in Preventive Conservation for the museum studies program at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
- Hosted a meeting at the request of Senator J. Robert Kerrey's office to discuss the special resources in the collections of the Nebraska State Historical Society that document the history of, and changes along, the Missouri River Valley.
- Held an opening reception and silent auction to showcase and raise funds for the new Digital Imaging Laboratory at the Ford Center, which provides state-of-the-art facilities for the digitization of collections from cultural institutions in Nebraska and the region.
- Presented workshops in the Collections Care Maintenance and Training Program at the University of Missouri at Kansas City on the care of organic and inorganic materials.
- Taught a week-long class at the Campbell Center for Historic Preservation Studies in Mt. Carroll, Illinois, on Historical Collections, discussing the properties, technology, and deterioration of organic and inorganic materials.
- Published an article, "The Treatment of Painted Wood Folk Art," by Julie A. Reilly, in a new book entitled Painted Wood: History and Conservation, published by the Getty Conservation Institute.
- Published an article "The Care and Conservation of Glass Chandeliers" by Julie A. Reilly, in the Summer 1998 issue of Journal of the American Institute for Conservation.
- Accepted more than 120 new projects for conservation treatment.
- Supervised internships for Diane Russell Harbison, a recent graduate of the Buffalo State College conservation program, who is completing a one-year graduate internship at the Ford Center, and Gerri Ann Strickler, a graduate conservation student at Buffalo State College, who is completing her third-year internship at the Ford Center. Gerri's internship has been funded by the NSHS Foundation.
- Supervised an internship for Monika Jankowiak, who completed a six-month preprogram internship at the Ford Center and has been accepted into the Buffalo State University conservation program. Monika's internship was also funded by the NSHS Foundation.
- Welcomed some 2,800 visitors who toured the Ford Exhibit, the conservation and digital imaging laboratories, and participated in special functions.
- Hosted thirty-five events in Paxson Hall.
- Hosted an art exhibit entitled Needles & Threads in Paxson Hall from November through February.
(image) Debbie Long, objects conservator at the Ford Center, removes unstable old repairs from the centerpiece of the USS Nebraska silver service.
(image) Gerri Ann Strickler, third-year graduate conservation student, Buffalo State College, making a repair to a Japanese festival doll.
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 is comprised of 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 1998-99 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.
Gifts made to the NSHS Foundation receive the most favorable treatment available under law. Gifts of cash, appreciated securities, personal property, real estate, and/or life insurance can reduce or eliminate income tax, capital gains tax, and inheritance taxes for the donor, and/or provide a guaranteed life income to the donor through a deferred gift arrangement. Those interested in learning more about how a particular giving method might work best for their situation, may contact the staff in complete confidence with no obligation implied.
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
Nebraska State Historical Society Foundation
Financial Report, Nebraska State Historical Society
Fiscal Year 1998-99 Operations
(Based on preliminary year-end information. Excludes fiscal year accruals.)
Revenues % Dollar Amounts State Appropriations 71.99 $3,754,845 NSHS Foundation Support 1.45 75,747 Earned Income 17.38 906,852 Federal Grants/Contracts 6.61 344,960 Donations/Grants/Spec. Events 2.57 133,929 Total Revenues $5,216,333 Expenditures Personnel/Administrative 24.81 $1,294,287 Museum/Historic Sites 23.82 1,242,544 Library/Archives 19.16 999,359 Historic Preservation 9.98 520,530 Conservation 8.93 465,901 Archeology 7.53 392,551 Research & Publications 5.77 301,161 Total Expenditures $5,216,333
Tony A. Schmitz
Deputy Director for Operations