Revealing History

Using Digital Technology to Learn More about Our Past



Digital technology is shedding new light on previously hidden information. Nebraska photographer Solomon D. Butcher produced, over the course of nearly forty years, a record of the European settlement of the Great Plains that is both unique and remarkable. These photographs have been used for more than fifty years to study the homesteading experience. Advanced digital imaging technology is now offering a way to see these photographs like they’ve never been seen before.



Examining the Details in Historic Photographs



There are many advantages to high resolution digital imaging. One of the most interesting is the ability to take a very close look at small details within the original object. Digital imaging technology also allows for incredible selective control over light and dark within the images. High resolution digital images, allow us to through doorways and see details not seen since the negative was exposed.  With image manipulation software it is possible to change the tonal values inside the doorway, revealing previously hidden information.



Look at the photographs below to see examples of how History Nebraska is using digital imaging technology to learn more about the photograph collections.

 

Unidentified family, West Union, Nebraska, 1886 [RG2608.PH1100]

Unidentified Family near West Union, Nebraska, 1886 [RG2608.PH1100]

Reveal Details

 

John Curry homestead near West Union, Custer County, Nebraska, 1886 [RG2608.PH1048]

John Curry homestead near West Union, Custer County, Nebraska, 1886 [RG2608.PH1048]

Reveal Details

 

Sylvester Rawding sod house, north of Sargent, Custer County, Nebraska, 1886 [RG2608.PH1784]

Sylvester Rawding sod house, north of Sargent, Custer County, Nebraska, 1886

Reveal Details

 

Harvey M. Pickens, Ortello Valley, Custer County, Nebraska, 1889 [RG2608.PH1523.]

Reveal Details

 

The Chrisman sisters near Goheen settlement on Lieban Creek, Custer County, Nebraska, 1886, Solomon D. Butcher, photographer [RG2608.PH1053]

The Chrisman sisters near Goheen settlement on Lieban Creek, Custer County, Nebraska, 1886 [RG2608.PH1053]

Reveal Details

 

Grocery store in Overton, Dawson County, Nebraska, 1904, Solomon D. Butcher, photographer. RG2608. PH-2556.

Grocery store in Overton, Dawson County, Nebraska, 1904 [RG2608.PH2556]

Reveal Details

 

“Grand Pa” Dailey, possibly in Milburn, Nebraska, 1886 or 1887 [RG2608.PH-1036]

Reveal Details

 

Anton Smock and his farm near Oconto, Custer County, Nebraska, 1904 [RG2608.PH1764]

Anton Smock and his farm near Oconto, Custer County, Nebraska, 1904 [RG2608.PH-1764]

Reveal Details

 

Frank Moore, Sargent, north Custer County, Nebraska, 1887.  [RG2608.PH1244]

Frank Moore, Sargent, north Custer County, Nebraska, 1887 [RG2608.PH-1244]

Reveal Details

 

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About History Nebraska
History Nebraska was founded in 1878 as the Nebraska State Historical Society by citizens who recognized Nebraska was going through great changes and they sought to record the stories of both indigenous and immigrant peoples. It was designated a state institution and began receiving funds from the legislature in 1883. Legislation in 1994 changed History Nebraska from a state institution to a state agency. The division is headed by Interim Director and CEO Jill Dolberg. They are assisted by an administrative staff responsible for financial and personnel functions, museum store services, security, and facilities maintenance for History Nebraska.
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