Nebraska History Spotlight: Perkins County Museum

Operated by the Perkins County Historical Society, the Perkins County Museum in Grant includes three buildings, known simply as the House, Country School, and Exhibit Hall.

The House is a fully restored 1905 house furnished with period décor. It showcases several collections, such as salt-and-pepper shakers, smoking pipes, hats, tea cups and dinnerware, wedding dresses, along with many other items from everyday life.

The wood-framed House itself features a pair of stained-glass windows, pocket doors, French doors, original hardwood floors, and light fixtures. It was first wired for electricity generated by a dynamo; its original heat source was a coal-fired stove in the basement. The lavatory featured an indoor toilet and running water using two cisterns on the property, one for fresh water and one for wastewater. The House is decked out in seasonal décor, culminating with an elaborate Christmas display that starts on the Thursday before Thanksgiving and runs through New Year’s Day, with additional open hours for the House.

Moved from its original location west of Brandon, the Country School House from School District #8 is the other building currently open to the public. Visitors can sit at the original desks or browse a collection of High School Annuals from county schools such as Perkins County, Wheatland, Venango, Grant, Madrid, Elsie, and Grainton. The School House also has many school books, teaching materials, and decor as it would have had when it was open. It even has its original stove. Local grade school students have a day-long session there every spring, providing memories for a lifetime.

The Perkins County Historical Society is renovating the Exhibit Hall, which, when complete, will feature sections for agriculture, military, and local history. It is expected to open by next spring.

The society is operated entirely by a dedicated volunteer staff. The museum is located at 605 Central Avenue in Grant (19 miles south of Ogallala). Visitation hours during the summer and fall are Fridays and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to noon. Special tours are welcome and may be arranged by contacting Brenda Styskal at (308) 352-4698 or (308) 352-4977.

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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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