Fort Robinson Museum opens, June 3, 1956

Dinnertime at the fort: one ton of rolled beef roasts, cooked in two thirty-foot-long, five-foot-deep pits over wood coals; 250 lbs. of hot dogs; plus pork and beans, potato chips, and 5,000 servings of ice cream.

The Crawford Chamber of Commerce hosted the event to celebrate the opening of the Fort Robinson Museum. Some 7,500 people attended. All that food was barely enough.

Despite its rich history, the fort’s future was uncertain after the US Army closed the base in 1948. The US Department of Agriculture took over the site as a beef research station, but by the mid-1950s a movement was underway to preserve the fort as a historic site and recreational park.

The decision of the Nebraska State Historical Society (today’s History Nebraska) to open a branch museum in the old Post Headquarters was a visible sign that this important site would be preserved. Today Fort Robinson State Park is one of Nebraska’s top tourist attractions. The Nebraska Game & Parks Commission manages the park, while History Nebraska operates Fort Robinson History Center and maintains several other historic buildings.

Below: Governor Victor Anderson (right) cuts the ribbon at the 1905 Post Headquarters building, now home of the Fort Robinson History Center. At left is Gene Kemper of Alliance, president of the Western Nebraska United Chambers of Commerce.

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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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