Nebraska State Historical Society Foundation
foundation news

July / August 2006

Ronald D. Yost's Generosity Helps Fund Major Renovation for Kennard House

Tony Schmitz, the Nebraska State Historical Society's chief operations officer, remembers the day well. He was working in his office when a gentleman dropped by for a visit. This gentleman was Patrick Schilken, an attorney from Englewood, Colorado, who was traveling through Lincoln and had stopped by to tidy up some loose ends. The loose end he had for Tony was a gift from the estate of Ronald D. Yost, a quiet, retiring man who had attended the University of Nebraska. During his college years Yost developed a particular fondness for the Thomas P. Kennard House, and he wanted to see that fine structure preserved. The check Mr. Schilken presented from Mr. Yost's estate was in the amount of $100,000! Yes, Tony remembers that day very well.

That bequest established a preservation fund at the Nebraska State Historical Society Foundation, and that fund has grown nicely. Starting soon it will support a major renovation that will include repairs and a new coat of paint. The Kennard House is not an ordinary house, and it will not be getting an ordinary coat of paint.

According to the Society's carpenter, Charley McWilliams, the Kennard House has special problems. The peeling, oil-based paint covers a very soft brick that cannot be scraped without damage, so the painters will apply a clear sealing primer that will lock the old paint onto the brick and provide a suitable base for a modern latex primer and finish coat. This is state-of-the-art preservation work.

While expensive, it is fitting indeed to put that kind of effort into this structure. Built by Thomas P. Kennard, the first secretary of state of the fledgling Nebraska, in 1869, the house was a bold statement of Kennard's faith in the future. A century later Nebraska designated the house its Statehood Memorial, celebrating our accomplishments and looking toward the future.

Ronald Yost looked at that house, and he, too, saw the future. His bequest will help preserve that important structure for generations to come. And for that, we will remember Mr. Yost and his generosity for a very long time.

Photograph of Thomas P. Kennard House
Thomas P. Kennard House in Lincoln, ca. 1875. (RG2158-11a)

Foundation Trustee Hosts Reception for Paintings Conservator

On June 6th Nebraska State Historical Society Foundation Trustee Jane Rohman hosted a reception at her home for paintings conservator Anne Rosenthal. Based in San Rafael, California, Anne specializes in murals, and is in Nebraska to treat the monumental murals at the Nebraska State Capitol.

Anne is no stranger to the Cornhusker State; previously she cleaned the murals in the governor's office and reception room. Anne is also a longtime friend of the Nebraska State Historical Society, and while here has been helping raise awareness about the need for a paintings conservator at the Gerald R. Ford Conservation Center.

"There will never be enough paintings conservators to go around," she said, "and the state-of-the-art Ford Center needs to have one to care for the rich collections in the region."

Jane introduced Anne to her guests, and all were fascinated by her work. Art collectors, museum supporters, and lovers of the arts all agree that we need to complete funding the challenge of the National Endowment for the Humanities grant, and get a paintings conservator working to save our heritage on canvas.

Conservator Anne Rosenthal perched on scaffolding high above the rotunda floor at the Nebraska State Capitol, where she is cleaning and repairing Kenneth Evett's 1956 mural, The Labors of the Hand.
(Photograph by John Carter)

Bodmer Society Meets at Ford Conservation Center

On May 23 the members of the Joslyn Art Museum's Bodmer Society met at the Gerald R. Ford Conservation Center. The Bodmer Society is named for Karl Bodmer, the Swiss painter who accompanied Prince Maximilian zu Wied on a trek across the American West between 1832 and 1834. Bodmer is well known for his remarkable paintings of American Indians.

The members of this important society work to increase interest in Western and Native American art and support the Joslyn's Margre H. Durham Center for Western Studies. At their reception Joslyn curator John Wilson told members that a paintings conservator at the Ford Center would be of tremendous benefit to the Joslyn. He strongly encouraged support for the endowment that would permanently fund the work of a paintings conservator at the center.

The group toured the Ford Center's laboratories, where conservators explained treatment techniques for their current projects, including a treatment that paper conservator Sheila Fairbrass Siegler is performing on a set of Bodmer prints. We look forward to the day when a Ford Center paintings conservator works on a Bodmer painting.

Ford Center paper conservator Sheila Fairbrass Siegler and Bodmer Society member Mary Dougherty and son Rex Dougherty pose with Ms. Dougherty's Bodmer print that Siegler is treating.

Rawley Bequest to Benefit Nebraska History

Renowned historian James A. Rawley, who died last November, was one of the Nebraska State Historical Society's strongest supporters. He served on all of the Society's boards and the Foundation's boards, and was a powerful advocate for the state's history. Recently the Nebraska State Historical Society Foundation received word that Jim left a generous bequest and so we all, once again, thank him for championing the cause of Nebraska history.


Contact Information:

Jackie McCullough, 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


2006-07 Foundation Board of Directors

Steven E. Guenzel, President, Lincoln
Bruce M. Frasier, Executive Vice President, Omaha
Jack D. Campbell, Vice President, Lincoln
C. John Guenzel, Treasurer, Lincoln
Joanne F. Shephard, Secretary, Valentine

Cloyd Clark, McCook
James C. Creigh, Omaha
Dr. James W. Hewitt, Lincoln
Dr. F. William Karrer, Omaha
JoAnne D. Kissel, Lincoln
Carol F. Maddux, Wauneta
Dr. Martin A. Massengale, Lincoln
James F. Nissen, Lincoln
David Oldfather, Kearney
Allison D. Petersen, Walton
Julie M. Schroeder, Waterloo
L. Joe Stehlik, Pawnee City
Andrew D. Strotman, Lincoln
John W. Webster, Omaha
Dr. John R. Wunder, Lincoln

Patricia Phillips, Omaha, NSHS President, Ex-officio
Peter Bleed, Lincoln, NSHS Treasurer, Ex-officio
Michael J. Smith, Lincoln, NSHS Director, Ex-officio

May / June 2006 Issue

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Last updated 15 June 2006

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