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Nebraska State Historical Society

Virtual Exhibits on the Nebraska State Historical Society Website

Saving Memories

We The People: The Nebraska Viewpoint

This exhibit outlines key aspects of how our legal and cultural understanding of the "We" in "We the People" has expanded since 1787. The exciting story of the struggle to make the United States "a more perfect union" is one in which the state and people of Nebraska played important roles. It is a story that continues to unfold and affects everyone living in Nebraska today.


Robert Merchant: A Nebraskan aerial photographer's experience in the Pacific during WWII

Robert Merchant of Wayne, Nebraska, served as an aerial photographer with the 90th Bomb Group (aka "The Jolly Rogers") during World War II. Merchant's daughters, Paulette and Joanie graciously donated his collection to the Nebraska State Historical Society in 2011. With more than 300 photos in the collection, Robert Merchant's camera lens allows us a glimpse into life in the Army Air Forces during the Second World War, seen from the perspective of a young man from Wayne, Nebraska.


Doing Hard Time: Historic Nebraska Mug Shots

The Nebraska State Penitentiary used photography beginning in 1867 to record the likeness of the state's most infamous residents. The Omaha police photographed suspects when arrested. Whether the people depicted were guilty or innocent, behind every photograph is a human story.

 John Falter
John Falter's Jazz Portraits

One of American's best-known illustrators, John P. Falter, was born in Plattsmouth, Nebraska in 1910 and grew up in Falls City. Drawings from the Colorado Jazz Party formed the basis of his 1971 "Jazz from Life" portfolio of prints. Falter's jazz portraits successfully capture the immediacy and vibrancy of performers in action.


For the People: Nebraska's New Deal Art
This online exhibition is of works by Nebraska artists, produced while they were employed by the Civil Works Administration (CWA) in 1933 - 34. The artists employment program was administered under President Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal.

Wanted! for murder

Collections Treasures
feature a collection of fantastic artifacts not currently on exhibit from the museum collection of the Nebraska State Historical Society.

Recent Acquisitions highlights fantastic artifacts acquired for the museum collections within the last few years.

Search Museum Collections is a work-in-progress database and will be updated regularly.

To see even more treasures visit the Library / Archives Treasures page.

Beauty in Hard Times
    Depression Era Quilts in Nebraska  A selection of quilts from Nebraska museums that show how Nebraskans embraced quilting during this period, both as a way to provide for their families, and as a way to embrace beauty in hard times.


 The Boy Scouts of America, 1910-2010
Celebrating the Adventure - Continuing the Journey
Since the Boy Scouts of America was founded, the scout oath, scout law, scout motto, and scout slogan have been every scout's guide to thought and action. Follow the scouting path as this website shows Nebraska boys being molded through 100 years of scouting. The journey continues.

Saving Memories
We want to remember and to be remembered.
Simple as that. Family and friends, special moments and important events---those good things in our lives-are the memories we treasure.
     Hide paintings and ledger drawings, diaries, autograph albums, scrapbooks, photograph albums, memory quilts, and home movies from the collections of the Nebraska State Historical Society. The exhibit closed in September of 2009. 

Nebraska Gone Crazy!  Crazy Quilts from Nebraska Museums
This exhibit of crazy quilts features thirty quilts, in two rotations of fifteen each, from thirteen Nebraska museums; ample proof that Nebraskan's were as crazy about crazy quilts as the rest of the country. The quilts in this exhibit range from fine works of art to utilitarian bed covers, but all are beautiful in their own way and we hope you enjoy them.

   The Nebraska National Guard
  Nebraska's Citizen-Soldiers in the Twenty-First Century
Memorabilia and memories of Nebraska National Guard men and women who have served in Bosnia, Afghanistan, and Iraq, and in humanitarian missions at home. The exhibit closed in September of 2008.


merci boxcar
French Gratitude Train

See a collection of objects from the French Gratitude Train, (Merci Train) given to the State of Nebraska following World War II. The collection has not been on exhibit.

Voir la collection d'objets du Merci français s'exercer donné à l'état du Nébraska après la deuxième guerre mondiale.

Quilts A to Z
Quilts A to Z
An exhibit of fabulous quilts from the collections of the Nebraska State Historical Society and the International Quilt Study Center. The exhibit closed in September of 2008.

Made in Nebraska
From mills to wineries, automakers to violin-makers, Nebraska has been home to a wide range of manufacturers and inventors. This exhibit is a sampler of some of the many items, from the collection of the Nebraska State Historical Society, that have been Made in Nebraska. The exhibit closed in August of 2008.

Weird Nebraska
Weird Nebraska:
Strange Stories and Amazing Facts
Nebraskans have expressed themselves in ways that are peculiar or downright weird. Here is a sampling of Nebraska's strange stories, along with some of her amazing facts. Exhibited from January 2006 to January 2007.

bandolier bag
Beadwork Masterpieces:
Native American Bandolier Bags of the Prairies and Lakes was on exhibit from January 2005 to January 2006.

Patchwork Lives
Patchwork Lives, an exhibition celebrating the legacy of frontier quiltmakers, was on exhibit from April 2004 to April 2006.

The Doll Show
, based on the doll collections of the Nebraska State Historical Society.

T. B. Johnson artwork collection
Artwork of Thomas Berger Johnson, a museum collection of the Nebraska State Historical Society. View a virtual exhibit of the artist's work not currently on exhibit.

Abraham Lincoln life mask
Collections Treasures highlights some interesting museum collections not currently on exhibit.

Diamond Dick's Own Brand, 103153
Nebraska Treasures
virtual exhibit. Sample of some of the treasures from the Library/Archives.

Chimney Rock
Through this digital exhibit, viewers can see photographs, documents, artifacts, and artwork reflecting the Overland Trail experience. Most of the images were taken from the exhibit at the Chimney Rock National Historic Site.

Bostock Studio
Palisade, Ne., "The Bostock Studio" photographs
These glass-plate-negative photographs from southwestern Nebraska need your help in identifying their history.

125th logo
"Here Open to All is the History of this People": 125 Years of the Nebraska State Historical Society.
March 1, 2003 - March 1, 2004
This exhibit at the Nebraska State Historical Society's headquarters building, 15th & R Streets, Lincoln, celebrated 125 years of Society history.

4-H logo
One Hundred Years of 4-H in Nebraska, "Still Making the Best Better"
In an effort to keep young people from leaving the farm at the end of the nineteenth century, progressive educators around the country began providing out-of-school-programs designed to convey new agricultural methods through hands-on experiences. These programs formed the basis of today's 4-H.

Planned to open in 2002, the 4-H Centennial exhibit could not be completed because of a museum air conditioning failure. It is now available as a virtual exhibit on the website.

Building the State logo
Building the State: Nebraska, 1867-1916
March 1, 2002 - - -
Imagine building a state from scratch. That's the task Nebraskans faced 135 years ago, and their stories are the focus of a new permanent exhibit at the Society's Nebraska History Museum. Building the State examines the promise and problems encountered as people created the political, economic, and cultural systems that became Nebraska. Through period settings, artifacts, documents, and photos, Building the State illustrates the growth of Nebraska's towns, government, agriculture, ranching, industries, and inventions, along with changing technology, political and social movements, and the state's rich ethnic heritage from statehood in 1867 to the eve of World War I. A wealth of artifacts and photographs from the museum and library/archives collections offers visitors insight into the amazing transformation of Nebraska during this period.

Cushman scooter graphic
The Cushman Centennial
June 2, 2001 - March, 2003
What famous Nebraska product turned one hundred in 2001? If you guessed the Cushman engine, you're right. In 1901 cousins Everett and Clinton Cushman began constructing farm machinery and two-cycle boat engines in Lincoln. The company incorporated as Cushman Motor Works in 1913 and built a factory at Twenty-first and X streets.

Highlights of this exhibit included a Cushman Model 52 motor scooter from about 1955, and a Cushman Model C gasoline engine patented in 1911.

Toy Stories logo
Nebraska Toy Stories
January 5 - December 28, 2001
More than one hundred toys dating from the 1860s to the 1960s were on display. The selection ranged from traditional toys such as dolls, airplanes, wagons, and a teddy bear, to more recent favorites like G. I. Joe, Hot Wheels cars, and a Buck Rogers Atomic Pistol.

Road Trip! Life on Vacation with the Gehrkes of Lincoln,
July 1, 1999 - June 30, 2001
This photograph exhibit at the Nebraska State Historical Society's headquarters building, 15th & R Streets, Lincoln, featured photographs by Lincoln builder Edward Gehrke, along with the travel journals his wife, Margaret, kept between 1916 and 1939.

Children's Home Society
Orphan Train Exhibit
May 1-31, 2001
A small exhibit of orphan train-related material was on display at the Nebraska History Museum in conjunction with the Nebraska Orphan Train Riders Reunion scheduled for May 4-5 in Lincoln. The exhibit featured recently acquired archival materials from the estate of orphan train rider Toni Weiler, along with socks, mittens, a nametag, and numbered ribbon worn by Albert Sommer on his train trip to Nebraska in 1912. Photos and newspaper articles were also included.

Patchwork and Progress

September 11 - December 29, 2000
This special exhibit offered a look at quilts and sewing machines from the Nebraska State Historical Society's collections, with twenty-three quilts displayed.

Nebraska Quilts: A Patchwork History

July 1 - December 27, 1998
This exhibit featured twelve quilts spanning a century of Nebraska history, dating from the 1840s through the 1940s. Some of the quilts came west with their makers, while others were made in Nebraska.

The exhibit included the oldest surviving quilt known to have been created in Nebraska, a Wreath of Roses pattern made by Martha Allis Hollins in 1860, as well as a selection of crazy quilts, patchwork, and applique designs.

The highlight of the exhibit was Grace Snyder's famous Flower Basket Petit Point quilt, completed in 1943 and composed of more than 85,000 pieces. Snyder's quilt work is nationally known for its skill and complexity. She was inducted into the Congress of Quilters Hall of Fame in Arlington, Virginia, in 1980, and into the Nebraska Quilters Hall of Fame in 1986.

Exhibits at the Nebraska History Museum


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Last updated 4 March 2011

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