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January / February 2005

Filmmaker Ken Burns Featured November 20 at Rococo Theatre in Lincoln

Ken Burns
"There is more drama in what is, and what was, than in any product of the human imagination,"
filmmaker Ken Burns told an electrified audience of more than six hundred teachers and students at the Rococo Theatre in Lincoln on the afternoon of November 20.

Burns, known for his epic PBS documentaries, was in Nebraska as the centerpiece for events sponsored by the Nebraska State Historical Society Foundation. He was here to show his support for the important work of the Nebraska State Historical Society and the equally important support that the Foundation brings to that work from nongovernmental sources.

Burns has used more resources from the Nebraska State Historical Society than from any other organization in the United States. If you have seen The West, The Journey of the Corps of Discovery, Mark Twain, or Horatio's Drive, you have seen the work of the Nebraska State Historical Society.

On the evening of November 20, in a formal presentation to a sold-out audience at the Rococo, Burns spoke eloquently of the importance of history in bringing many peoples into one America. He said that is the central story in his trilogy on America and race, The Civil War, Baseball, and Jazz. The Civil War centered on what he called "the hypocrisy of slavery" that split our nation and the forces that brought it together again. In Baseball, he spoke of the national pastime as not being "national" as long as it was segregated, and the unimaginable significance of Jackie Robinson finally breaking the color barrier. Jazz is the story of a truly distinct American art form arising out of slavery and segregation.

Asked why his films succeed, he said that he is not a trained historian, but rather an artist whose subject is the past. His work is different because he doesn't tell you what he knows about the past, but rather "share(s) what we ourselves are just discovering."

The presentations were preceded by historical musical selections performed by "The Kansas-Nebraska Act," a group consisting of Dave Fowler, Steve Hanson, Carolyn Johnsen, and David, Melodee, and Matt Landis. The musicians gave the audience a sampling of music enjoyed when Nebraska became a territory 150 years ago. The group's performance of "The Right of Nebraska," an 1854 song protesting the possibility of slavery in the new territory, was punctuated with recitation of newspaper headlines from the day. Dave Fowler played the Nebraska State Historical Society's David Wiebe violin, commissioned for the museum collections and funded by the Gladys Lux Fund, administered by the NSHS Foundation.

Support for the event was generously provided by Cline Williams Wright Johnson and Oldfather, L.L.P., the Dillon Foundation, Janyce Falcon Hunt and Richard Hunt, the Cooper Foundation, Allen Dayton, Lincoln Journal Star Margaret Allington, Ellen Baldwin, Barbara and John R. Doyle, Marilyn Forke, Joan Gibson and Donald Wurster, Jim Harris, Judy and Ron Parks, Allison and Gary Petersen, Izen and Dr. Neal Ratzlaff, Ann and Dr. James Rawley, Jane and Carl Rohman, Mike Seacrest and Tom Davies, UNICO Insurance Group, Nancy and John Webster, and the Lincoln Public Schools Bringing American History Scholarship into Classrooms project, funded by the U.S. Department of Education.

A videotaped version of the informal afternoon session with students and teachers has been broadcast on cable channels 5 and 21 in Lincoln through the assistance of Bill Luxford and the Citizen Information Center, city of Lincoln.

 Ken and Jac
Ken Burns with Jackie Spahn, executive director
of the NSHS Foundation
 Ken and Campbells
Ken Burns with Jack and Sally Campbell of Lincoln
 Ken and Doyles
Ken Burns with John and Barbara Doyle of Lincoln
 Ken and Karrers
Ken Burns with Bill and Beverley Karrer of Omaha

Foundation $1,000 Scholarships Honor Nebraskans of World War II

This spring, the Nebraska State Historical Society Foundation will award six $1,000 scholarships to outstanding seniors across the state to honor the brave men and women of Nebraska who served their country fighting for the freedoms of millions of people.

The Nebraskans of World War II Scholarship Fund honors two servicemen in particular through these scholarships: Edward J. Clough and Adrian B. DePutron, both of Lincoln.

GM1c Edward Clough was killed during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. His sister, Helen, chose to honor his memory through a gift that would help establish the Nebraskans of World War II Scholarship Fund.

Lt. Adrian DePutron was killed in battle at Luxembourg, Germany, in 1945 while serving with General Patton's Third Army. The lieutenant's Aunt Marjorie, through her estate, honored her nephew's service with a gift that helped establish the fund.

Two seniors from each of the school districts that encompass these communities may apply for the scholarships:

Scholarship applications are due by January 15, 2005. Applications are available from the school counselors and are also available by contacting the Nebraska State Historical Society Foundation at 888-515-3535.

Pearl Harbor Remembrance Awards to be Announced this Spring

Nebraska natives Vada and Col. Barney Oldfield established the Pearl Harbor Remembrance Awards at the Nebraska State Historical Society Foundation to honor the twenty-two Nebraskans who were killed during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and remain entombed upon the USS Arizona.

The Oldfields' desire to do more than lay a wreath or say a prayer for the fallen sailors led to the Pearl Harbor Remembrance Awards.

The awards are made to one senior from each of the communities that the sailors called home. Counselors from each school nominate an outstanding senior for the recognition and cash award. The school districts that encompass the communities the sailors called home, and from which a senior may be nominated for a Remembrance Award, are the same as those listed above for the World War II Scholarships.

For more information about the awards, contact the Nebraska State Historical Society Foundation at 888-515-3535.

Special Offer for New and Existing Members:

Gary E. Moulton's Lewis and Clark on the Middle Missouri ­ FREE!

Become a Member of the Nebraska State Historical Society at the Contributing Level OR upgrade your current membership to the $250 Contributing Level and receive Gary E. Moulton's Lewis and Clark on the Middle Missouri as our gift to you! Call 402-435-3535 or 888-515-3535 for details!

GIFT!  Members receive a special gift with the 2004 summer issue of Nebraska History. A wonderful full color reproduction of the first published map of Nebraska and Kansas territories produced in 1854 (map donated by Marilyn Forke, Foundation Trustee) and reproduced with grant assistance from the Nebraska State Historical Society Foundation through an endowment established by the Woods Charitable Fund, Inc.

2004-05 Foundation Board of Directors

Allison D. Petersen, Walton, President
Steven E. Guenzel, Lincoln, Executive Vice President
Jack D. Campbell, Lincoln, Vice President
C. John Guenzel, Lincoln, Treasurer
Joanne F. Shephard, Valentine, Secretary

James C. Creigh, Omaha
Bruce M. Frasier, Omaha
Martha Greer, Lincoln
Dr. James W. Hewitt, Lincoln
Dr. William F. Karrer, Omaha
Dr. Frederick C. Luebke, Lincoln
Carol Maddux, Wauneta
Dr. Martin A. Massengale, Lincoln
John D. Massey, Scottsbluff
George H. Moyer, Jr., Madison
James F. Nissen, Lincoln
Andrew D. Strotman, Lincoln
John W. Webster, Omaha
Dr. John Wunder, Lincoln

Patrick Kennedy, Omaha, NSHS President, Ex-officio
Margaret Allington, Lincoln, NSHS Treasurer, Ex-officio
Lawrence J. Sommer, Lincoln, NSHS Director, Ex-officio


Contact Information:

Jackie Spahn, Executive Director
Nebraska State Historical Society Foundation
Kinman-Oldfield Suite 1010
128 North 13th Street
Lincoln, NE 68508-1565

Ph: 402-435-3535
Toll Free: 888-515-3535
Fax: 402-435-3986

November / December 2004

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Last updated 10 January 2005

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