Even in larger cities like Lincoln and Omaha, Nebraska always feels like a small town where everyone knows everyone else. And the mission statement of the Nebraska State Historical Society is:“The Nebraska State Historical Society collects, preserves, and opens to all, the histories we share.” Occasionally, the “histories we share” can be quite serendipitous! I’m Megan Griffiths, a conservation technician at the Ford Center. I had the distinct pleasure of witnessing one such story.
On the morning September 1st, Ryan Reed of the Nebraska State Historic Preservation Office, another division of the NSHS, had posted to the former @NE_SHPO Instagram account about what used to be known as the “Union Block” at 10th & O Streets in Lincoln, NE, and famous resident George Flippin. He wrote this post with the following photos:
That afternoon, I was working in the Paper Lab when Kenneth Bé brought a client around for a brief tour. Her name was Ann Ostberg and he mentioned that she had driven all the way from Stromsburg, Nebraska. “Stromsburg?” I asked. “I just read about that on Instagram.” I got out my phone and proceeded to show her the post. As luck would have it, Ms. Ostberg is the great-niece of George Flippin! His wife, Mertina Larson Flippin, was her great-aunt, the sister of her paternal grandfather. The painting she had brought in to be examined for treatment was painted by Mertina herself!
One of our favorite things about conservation is being able to share the stories of the objects that come in to the Ford Center. And as luck would have it, this time, the Historic Preservation Office got to share the story, too!
(Updated on July 18, 2023)