Nebraska History Museum School and Homeschool Programs

The Nebraska History Museum is dedicated to sharing Nebraska's history with students of all ages and backgrounds. That's why we've developed a variety of educational programs and tours for both school and homeschool students.

The programming for the 2019-2020 school year is listed below.

K-2nd  3rd-5th  6th-12th  Homeschool Programs  Museum Store Info

Kindergarten through Second Grade

Hands-on Stations

In this program, students visit touchable stations within the museum’s exhibits to interact with experts and artifacts in a meaningful way. The experience begins with a whole group overview before small groups are released to explore the stations own their own.  Topics are based on museum availability and could include American Indian tribes of Nebraska, Nebraska Pioneers and/or Nebraska Cowboys.

Adults needed: At least 1 adult is needed for every 10 students.

Program duration: 60 minutes.

Available: Monday-Friday with start times between 9:00 am-4:00 pm, September-May.

Program FAQs:
  • What is a Curiosity Guide?
    • A Curiosity Guide is the museum staff member or volunteer assigned to student groups. Curiosity Guides are knowledgeable of the artifacts at each station and the stories they tell. Curiosity Guides are trained and prepared to help students uncover the answers to curious questions.
  • What artifacts will we see?
    • The artifacts shown at each touchable station are based on availability. They may include Omaha Indian style clothing from the 1800s made of deer hide and from the early 1900s made of cloth, cooking supplies from a cowboy chuck wagon, cowboy clothing, a branding iron, or household tools from the late 1800s.
  • How will we wrap up?
    • Curiosity Guides conclude each program with a brief whole group wrap-up discussion. Students are asked to reflect on what they saw and learned, share what they found most interesting, and ask any remaining questions they may have.

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Third Through Fifth Grade

Curiosity Labs

In these special tours designed for third through fifth graders, students investigate historic objects in two or three different ways to find answers to an essential question specific to each grade level.

There are three segments to choose from to build your Curiosity Lab and each is led by a Curiosity Guide. For a 60-minute Curiosity Lab, teachers may choose two segments (30 min. each). For a 90-minute Curiosity Lab, teachers may choose two segments (45 min. each) or three segments (30 min. each). Segment choices include:

  1. What is it? — Students investigate touchable artifacts like 19th-century household tools, clothing, and toys from the Omaha tribe and settlers of many cultures. After a brief investigation, students share their ideas and the Curiosity Guide puts those ideas into the context of what is really known about the artifacts.
  2. Essential Question Deep Dive — The Curiosity Guide takes students on a tour of four featured artifacts in the Nebraska Unwrapped exhibit and helps them analyze each from multiple perspectives: indigenous people; homesteaders from the South, the East, and from Europe; and Latino and Asian immigrants. Students will uncover what each artifact can tell us about the following essential questions:
    1. How did Nebraska become a diverse community? (recommended for 3rd grade)
    2. Why do people come to Nebraska? (recommended for 4th grade)
    3. How do people, events, and ideas impact the people of different cultural and ethnic groups who came to Nebraska? (recommended for 5th grade) 
  3. Look Around — Students get to take a self-guided (scavenger hunts available) exploration of the Nebraska Unwrapped exhibit and focus in on the artifacts they are most interested in. The Curiosity Guide is now a guide on the side, ready to answer questions or give scavenger hunt hints and conclude with a wrap-up.

Adults needed: Maximum of 5 per classroom. Additional adults are welcome to look at other exhibits in the museum during the Curiosity Lab.

Program duration: 60-90 minutes.

Available: Monday-Friday with start times between, 9:00 am-4:00 pm, September-May.

Program FAQs:
  • What is a Curiosity Guide?
    • A Curiosity Guide is the museum staff member or volunteer assigned to student groups. Curiosity Guides are knowledgeable of the artifacts at each station and the stories they tell. Curiosity Guides are trained and prepared to help students uncover the answers to curious questions.
  • What artifacts will we see?
    • We don’t want to give anything away, but here are some hints
      • A knife for harvesting something sweet
      • Art that celebrates an accomplishment
      • Something that is used in the kitchen  and shaped like an animal that many people love
      • A wooden box with a very unusual name tag
      • A 10-foot wide tool that uses the wind to “make” water
      • A racing chair used by a world-class Nebraskan athlete
  • What does the Essential Question Deep Dive feel like?
    • This experience feels like “meeting” people from many cultures and finding out what objects can tell us about their experiences in Nebraska.
  • What does the Look Around segment feel like?
    • Students choose the artifacts they spend time with. Depending on museum availability, this may be in the same exhibit used for the Deep Dive or it may be in another special exhibit.
  • What does the "What is it?" program feel like?
    • Students experience how artifacts feel in their hands, pursue their own questions about them, and use their imaginations and experiences to think about what they may have been used for. This is also a chance for students to test out ideas with the Curiosity Guide and see how they match with the stories learned about.

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Sixth Through Twelfth Grade

Traditional Tours

Curiosity Guides provide a walk and talk tour of Nebraska Unwrapped and possibly other exhibits based on museum availability with one Guide for every group of 15 students.

Program duration: 60 minutes.

Available: Monday-Friday with start times between, 9:00 am-4:00 pm, September-May.

Program FAQs:
  • What is a Curiosity Guide?
    • A Curiosity Guide is the museum staff member or volunteer assigned to student groups. Curiosity Guides are knowledgeable of the artifacts at each station and the stories they tell. Curiosity Guides are trained and prepared to help students uncover the answers to curious questions.
  • What does a walk and talk tour feel like?
    • Facilitated by the Curiosity Guide, this tour is designed to encourage student inquiry, develop and refine artifact analysis skills, and information sharing by the Curiosity Guide.
  • What artifacts will we see?
    • We don’t want to give anything away, but here are some hints
      • A knife for harvesting something sweet
      • Art that celebrates accomplishments
      • Something that is used in the kitchen shaped like an animal that many people love
      • A wooden box with a very unusual name tag
      • A 10-foot wide tool that uses the wind to “make” water
      • A racing chair used by a world-class Nebraskan athlete

Scavenger Hunts

Students use one of three themed scavenger hunts to explore museum exhibits. Questions challenge learners to look closely at artifacts and their labels to uncover what they tell us about the past.

Program duration: 60-90 minutes.

Available: Monday-Friday, 9:00 am-5:30 pm, Year-round.

Scavenger Hunt Choices:

  1. Civics-themed exploration of Nebraska Unwrapped
  2. Globe-trotting exploration of Nebraska Unwrapped 
  3. Photo analysis exploration of multiple exhibits
Program FAQs:
  • How will we get started?
    • A Curiosity Guide provides an introduction to the exhibit spaces, explains the tasks of the scavenger hunt, and distributes materials. The Curiosity Guide can be available to answer and facilitate a wrap-up at the end of your program. 
  • What is a Curiosity Guide?
    • A Curiosity Guide is the museum staff member or volunteer assigned to your student groups. Curiosity Guides are knowledgeable of the artifacts at each station and the stories these objects can tell us. A Curiosity Guide is also someone who is trained and prepared to help students uncover the answers to curious questions.
  • What will does a using a Scavenger Hunt in the museum feel like?
    • Using a scavenger hunt feels like independent exploration with a challenge to complete along the way. Students look for specific objects based on clues or images and then engage in a close analysis to answer object-based questions.
  • What artifacts will we see?
    • The artifacts explored are dependent on the chosen scavenger hunt but highlights include:
      • Civics Themed: George Norris’ gavel, a hand-written copy of Nebraska’s constitution, the decoration on top of Nebraska’s first state capitol.
      • Globe-Trotting Themed: an instrument from the Czech Republic, a ship model made by a German navy-man, the cap of a marine who served in Vietnam, a sewing box bought in Ireland and gifted to a future homesteader.
      • Photo Analysis: This can be used on one of these exhibits with photographs featuring

Request a Program

Homeschool Options

Traditional Tours

Curiosity Guides provide a walk and talk tour of Nebraska Unwrapped and possibly other exhibits based on museum availability with one Guide for every group of 15 students.

Program duration: 60 minutes.

Available: Monday-Friday with start times between, 9:00 am-4:00 pm, September-May.

Program FAQs:
  • What is a Curiosity Guide?
    • A Curiosity Guide is the museum staff member or volunteer assigned to student groups. Curiosity Guides are knowledgeable of the artifacts at each station and the stories they tell. Curiosity Guides are trained and prepared to help students uncover the answers to curious questions.
  • What does a walk and talk tour feel like?
    • Facilitated by the Curiosity Guide, this tour is designed to encourage student inquiry, develop and refine artifact analysis skills, and information sharing by the Curiosity Guide.
  • What artifacts will we see?
    • We don’t want to give anything away, but here are some hints
      • A knife for harvesting something sweet
      • Art that celebrates accomplishments
      • Something that is used in the kitchen shaped like an animal that many people love
      • A wooden box with a very unusual name tag
      • A 10-foot wide tool that uses the wind to “make” water
      • A racing chair used by a world-class Nebraskan athlete

Scavenger Hunts

Students use one of three themed scavenger hunts to explore museum exhibits. Questions challenge learners to look closely at artifacts and their labels to uncover what they tell us about the past.

Program duration: 60-90 minutes.

Available: Monday-Friday, 9:00 am-5:30 pm, Year-round.

Scavenger Hunt Choices:

  1. Civics-themed exploration of Nebraska Unwrapped
  2. Globe-trotting exploration of Nebraska Unwrapped 
  3. Photo analysis exploration of multiple exhibits

Program FAQs:

  • How will we get started?
    • A Curiosity Guide provides an introduction to the exhibit spaces, explains the tasks of the scavenger hunt, and distributes materials. The Curiosity Guide can be available to answer and facilitate a wrap-up at the end of your program. 
  • What is a Curiosity Guide?
    • A Curiosity Guide is the museum staff member or volunteer assigned to your student groups. Curiosity Guides are knowledgeable of the artifacts at each station and the stories these objects can tell us. A Curiosity Guide is also someone who is trained and prepared to help students uncover the answers to curious questions.
  • What will does a using a Scavenger Hunt in the museum feel like?
    • Using a scavenger hunt feels like independent exploration with a challenge to complete along the way. Students look for specific objects based on clues or images and then engage in a close analysis to answer object-based questions.
  • What artifacts will we see?
    • The artifacts explored are dependent on the chosen scavenger hunt but highlights include:
      • Civics Themed: George Norris’ gavel, a hand-written copy of Nebraska’s constitution, the decoration on top of Nebraska’s first state capitol.
      • Globe-Trotting Themed: an instrument from the Czech Republic, a ship model made by a German navy-man, the cap of a marine who served in Vietnam, a sewing box bought in Ireland and gifted to a future homesteader.
      • Photo Analysis: This can be used on one of these exhibits with photographs featuring

Request a Program

Homeschool Wednesdays

Homeschool families are invited to the Nebraska History Museum for a fun new learning series offered the first Wednesday of each month, September-May*. At Homeschool Wednesdays, students of all ages learn what historic objects and photos can tell us about the past. The activities are geared towards 7 to 10-year-olds, but older students are welcome to participate.

Each Homeschool Wednesday takes place from 10:30 am to 12:30 pm and is centered around a different essential question. Families investigate the museum to answer each month’s essential question by examining objects and photos on display, interacting with an expert, completing a hands-on activity, and interviewing three touchable objects that witnessed the past.

*Due to the New Year’s holiday, January’s program will be held on the second Wednesday.

Dates and Essential Questions: 

  • September 4 - How do you build a house on the prairie?
  • October 2 - What does harvest time mean to Nebraskans?
  • November 6 - Why is voting important to Nebraskans?
  • December 4 - How did the people who lived here before us use this place?
  • January 8 - How do people stay warm in Nebraska winters?
  • February 5 - How do Nebraskans decide what to wear?
  • March 4 - Why is art and music important to Nebraskans?
  • April 1 - What brings families to Nebraska?
  • May 6 - What do Nebraskans like to do for fun? 

Register For Homeschool Wednesdays

Free Roam

After the tour, your students can go through the entirety of our Museum Gift Shop and purchase all the books, toys, and candy they want.

History Grab Bags

A condensed Museum Gift Shop experience. Rather than a free shopping time, students can purchase specific History Grab Bags that are already full of fun souvenirs.

Contents and ordering information

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