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Exhibits Archive Nebraska History Museum

Explore highlights from previous exhibits at the Nebraska History Museum.


"Nebraska’s Enduring Quilt Heritage: New Acquisitions" looking at quilts that tell stories of migration, politics, and events both joyous and memorial. Featuring quilts added to the museum holdings over the last 10 years, many not previously displayed. 

This exhibit ended July of 2016.


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The rare opportunity to celebrate a century of indigenous photography. Over 50 images by artists from North and South America, the Middle East, and New Zealand include works by Cherokee Jennie Ross Cobb, the earliest known female Native American photographer.

This was on exhibit through August 11, 2016 with special short film screenings.

The exhibition is toured by ExhibitsUSA, a national program of Mid-America Arts Alliance.



Homefront and Battlefield

 National Civil War touring exhibit “Homefront and Battlefield” was on display February 3- June 27, 2015 at the Great Plains Art Museum at 12th & Q Streets, Lincoln.


Nebraska Cowboys: Lives, Legends & Legacies

Nebraska Cowboys: Lives, Legends & Legacies ran from September 23rd, 2013 to August 3rd, 2014.
at the Nebraska History Museum, 15th & P Streets, Lincoln.

Building the State: Nebraska, 1867-1916
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.

The First Nebraskans     Photo
The First Nebraskans exhibit interprets 10,000 years of American Indian life on the Plains. You will learn about the housing, foodways, clothing, and social customs of the tribes once living and still in Nebraska. The exhibit features prehistoric and historic tools, pottery, historic clothing, weapons, jewelry, musical instruments, and a Pawnee earthlodge, circa 1865. You will also find hands-on stations where you may touch bison fur and bones, pottery tools and shards, and reproduction trade goods from the 1700s.

Nebraska Joins the Union     Photos
Nebraska Joins the Union interprets the people, places, and events leading up to Nebraska's statehood beginning with Lewis and Clark and ending with the state's first capitol and constitution. Topics include the fur trade, Fort Atkinson, overland trails, early transportation and communication, Nebraska's role in the Civil War, the Homestead Act, and town building. The objects featured in this exhibit include a jacket worn by Peter Sarpy, an inaugural ball gown worn by the first territorial governor's wife, an envelope carried by the Pony Express, a quilt made by a Nebraskan in the 1860s, and a period room, the Carson parlor of the 1860s with furnishings from the Carson home in Brownville, Nebraska.

Investigation Station
     Photos    Hours
People of all ages are welcome in this fun, hands-on learning environment where they can investigate Nebraska's past. This active learning center connects children and adults to evidence they can use to make their own discoveries: historic documents, photographs, artifacts, places, and the wisdom of elders.
      The four permanent stations include: a Native American Tipi, a 1/4th scale prairie schooner, a Build a Town table, and a 1920s auto-touring campsite. Docent-led activities are available on a variety of topics.
      As you explore Nebraska history, our colorful timeline will help you learn when things happened and a giant 1915 map of Nebraska will help you pinpoint where. Flash photography is allowed in this room. Investigation Station hours are limited.


What Did You Do in the War? Nebraskans in World War II     Photo
Nebraskans played an important role at home and abroad during World War II. Listen to the music, see the photos and advertisements, explore the objects used by Nebraskans as they "made do" and served their country.

Terri Lee doll

Nebraska's Own Terri Lee:

The Best Dressed Doll in the World

Nebraska History Museum, 15th and P Streets, Lincoln

Exhibit is open until September 1, 2013

Quilting on the Frontier

New Quilt Exhibit is Now Open
at the Nebraska History Museum, 15th & P Streets, in downtown Lincoln
Quilt Exhibit is open until April 4, 2013


Historic Nebraska Mug Shots
Exhibit Now Open
to February 13, 2013
Nebraska History Museum,15th & P Streets in downtown Lincoln.
(Press Release)

Virtual exhibit online

Clark Gable by John Falter
The Illustrator's Pencil: John Falter from Nebraska to The Saturday Evening Post

This exhibit at the Nebraska History Museum features the work of John Falter, one of America's best known and best loved illustrators.

It will be open through August 9, 2013.

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.

saving memories
Saving Memories

"When This You See, Remember Me." To remember and to be remembered are nearly universal human desires. But the ways people use to document their pasts and send messages to the future vary widely. From tribal stories depicted on buffalo hide to Facebook pages flashed on computer screens, Nebraskans have created many memorable mementos. Saving Memories: Scrapbooks, Photo Albums, Home Movies, and Ledger Drawings offers a glimpse at Nebraskans' commemorative efforts.


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.

Beadwork Masterpieces:
Native American Bandolier Bags of the Prairies and Lakes.
January 2005 - January 2006

Patchwork Lives
An exhibition celebrating the legacy of frontier quiltmakers.
January 2005 - January 2006.

The Cushman Centennial
June 2, 2001 - December 31, 2002
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, its present location.

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

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.

Typical-Looking Nebraska Farmer Day: Portraits from the 1943 State Fair
August 15, 2001 - February, 2003
This photograph exhibit at the Nebraska State Historical Society's headquarters building, 15th & R Streets, Lincoln, featured photographs taken by the Macdonald photo studio of farmers who participated in a "Typical-Looking Nebraska Farmer" contest sponsored by Omaha radio station KFAB at the 1943 Nebraska State Fair.

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.

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.

A New Deal for Nebraska Artists
June 11, 2000 - May 31, 2001
This exhibit featured artwork created by Nebraska artists during the Depression under the Public Works of Art Project, the first federal art project of the New Deal.

Dearly Beloved: Gifts and Gowns from Nebraska Weddings
June 1, 1999 - May 31, 2000
This exhibit showcased sixteen wedding dresses dating from the 1850s to 1950s, as well as wedding invitations, accessories, gifts, and photographs. A special section on "Living Traditions" featured objects, a wedding dress, and photographs associated with a variety of cultural wedding traditions in Nebraska: Laotian, Hispanic American, and African American.

Drawing on the Beat: John Falter's Jazz Portraits
January 6 - April 30, 2000
This exhibit featured over fifty drawings, prints, and paintings by Nebraska-born illustrator John Falter. One of American's best-known illustrators, John Falter was born in Plattsmouth in 1910 and grew up in Falls City. In addition to his famous Saturday Evening Post covers and World War II recruiting posters, Falter also completed a series of works based on his life-long interest in jazz music.

Funding for this exhibit was generously provided by the Berman Music Foundation of Lincoln.

Keeping the Faith: William Jennings Bryan's Campaigns for the Presidency     Photo
March 31, 1996 - March 31, 1999
This exhibit covered the campaign strategies Bryan introduced, the parties he shaped, and the legislation he sparked. It featured recordings of Bryan's speeches that made him the most popular Chautaugua speaker of his day. Special objects from various stages of Bryan's life and campaign memorabilia, including banners, buttons, postcards, and cartoons, brought this famous Nebraskan to life.

Lincoln: A Kid's Eye View
June 3 - August 31, 2000
Find out what Brownell Elementary fifth graders discovered about Lincoln in this exhibit. Brownell Elementary fifth graders visited five of Lincoln's community centers and heard stories from people who immigrated to Lincoln from other countries or grew up as minorities in Lincoln. To share their new vision of their city, the students created Lincoln: A Kid's Eye View.

Nebraska Quilts: A Patchwork History     Photos
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.

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.

The Trans-Mississippi and International Exposition Centennial      Photos
June 1, 1998 - May 31, 1999
Photographs, souvenirs, and architectural fragments commemorated the hundredth anniversary of Omaha's Trans-Mississippi and International Exposition.


Current Exhibits

Nebraska History Museum


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