Piecing Together the Past: An Exhibit Exploring 13,000 Years of History with Nebraska's Archeologists

November 22, 2019 - December 31st, 2021

Many thousands of people lived their lives in Nebraska. They left no written records and we don't know their names or stories.

But they left clues.

The Nebraska History Museum explores Nebraska's deep past with our newest exhibit, Piecing Together the Past: An Exhibit Exploring 13,000 Years of History with Nebraska's Archeologists.

Votes For Women: Nebraska's Suffrage Story

August 16, 2019 — May 31, 2021

2020 marks the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment to the US Constitution, which guaranteed women the right to vote. The struggle for women's suffrage in Nebraska had been going on for more than sixty years when Nebraska finally ratified the amendment on August 2, 1919. This exhibit looks back at our state's unique place in the history of the women's suffrage movement, and some of the many women who broke barriers here.

Exhibit graphic featuring old photograph

Take Our Picture: Sod House Portraits by Solomon Butcher

June 15, 2019 — October 10, 2020

Solomon Butcher had a grand plan: to create a photographic record and write down the history of sod house homesteaders in Nebraska. He produced 1500 images and collected biographies and stories from Nebraska residents, creating what is regarded as the best record of sod house settlement in the world.

Villasur Massacre Hide Painting Reproduction

Through 2020

In recognition of the 300th anniversary of the Villasur Expedition, the Nebraska History Museum is displaying a reproduction of the hide painting that was created to document the attack that ended the expedition.

Although French traders and trappers were in the region, the Villasur expedition was the first large-scale European incursion to occur in what would become Nebraska. Subsequently, the battle contributed to ending the eastward expansion of Spanish exploration in North America.

The painted scene is a rare example of the earliest known depictions of colonial life in the United States. It is also the earliest known illustration of an event in the place we now call Nebraska.

Photographers and the Plains Indian

Through 2020

The Photographers and the Plains Indian exhibit explores how photographs influenced Americans' perceptions of Plains tribal people. The exhibit gives visitors a look into how both photographers and their native subjects used early photographs to convey particular meaning to viewers. The exhibit uses photographs from History Nebraska's photo collection.

Nebraska Unwrapped: Selections from the Collections

Through 2020

Almost 150 objects archeological and historic artifacts connect visitors to the stories of Nebraskans both notable and notorious. 

History Learning Center

Ongoing Docent Led 

Experience Nebraska History through our docent-led educational adventure! Discover more about the first Nebraskans, cowboy life in Nebraska, early pioneers, and much more. 


December 4, 2020 - February 28, 2021

Eviction has become an issue that affects every community across the country. The National Building Museum worked with sociologist and author Matthew Desmond to create an exhibition based on his book, Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City, sharing his research and the scale of the problem of eviction. Evicted is presented at the Nebraska History Museum with support from the South of Downtown Community Development OrganizationNebraska Housing Developers Association, and Woods Charitable Fund.

Historic Nebraska Mugshots

Mugshot photography revolutionized crime investigations after its adoption in the mid-1800s, replacing the usual drawings and descriptions. The Nebraska State Penitentiary began using mugshots in 1867 to record the likeness of the state's most infamous residents. Whether the people depicted were guilty or innocent, behind every photograph is a human story. Discover some of those stories with this selection of over 30 historic Nebraska mugshots.

Nebraskan Aerial Photographer's WWII Experience in the Pacific

Robert Merchant served in the Air Force from 1924-1945, working primarily as an aerial photographer. He documented several attacks, battles, and rescue missions both in the air and on the ground. This graciously donated collection of over 300 photos allow us to glimpse life in the Army Air Forces during World War II, all from the perspective of a young man from Wayne, Nebraska.

Revealing History: Using Digital Technology to Learn More about our Past

The photographs of Solomon D Butcher have been used to study the homesteading experience for 50 years, but now, advanced digital imaging technology offers us a way to see these photos like never before. Utilizing this technology, we have been able to uncover details that have not been seen since these photos were first taken. Look through this small collection of photos for examples of the incredible things we have been able to uncover.

Selections from the Solomon D. Butcher Collection

Nebraska photographer Solomon D. Butcher produced, over the course of nearly forty years, a record of the settlement of the Great Plains that is both unique and remarkable. This iconic collection comprises 3,300 glass plate negatives crafted between 1886 and 1912 has been used to tell the story of the Great Plains for nearly 40 years.

Merci Train: A Selection of Objects from the Nebraska Boxcar

The chaos of World War II brought devastation to France, but supplies from the United States helped to ease that pain somewhat. To show their appreciation for American generosity, French citizens gathered 49 boxcars -- one for each state at the time -- and filled them with gifts. Nebraska's boxcar arrived on February 13, 1949, and was filled with all sorts of toys, household items, art, and personal items.

Saving Memories: Items of Personal Remembrance

Hide paintings, ledger drawings, diaries, autograph albums, scrapbooks, photograph albums, memory quilts, and home movies from the collections of the Nebraska State Historical Society. 

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