collections

A rocky outcrop is covered with small round cacti. Wide dusty badlands look like a backdrop for a Wild West movie. High rocky bluffs make the landscape below look miniature. It may come as a surprise to many (even Nebraskans!) that these pictures were taken in Nebraska: just a few examples of Frank Shoemaker’s stunning photographs featured in the Spring 2013 issue of Nebraska History.  

One of the most interesting things I’ve discovered going through our John Falter collection in the last few years is how and how much of his personal interests, friends, and environs manifested themselves in his art.  Jazz is a great example.  Falter loved jazz from an early age and was a talented self-taught musician (clarinet and piano to be sure–perhaps even other instruments).   As a teen in Falls City he played in a band with George “Pee Wee” Erwin, who went on to a successful career as a jazz trumpeter.

The jazz theme appears in his teenage sketch/scrapbook . . .

As I mentioned in a blog post a few weeks back about a Superman comic book, the Nebraska State Historical Society collects and cares for hundreds of thousands of items not all of which are particularly old.  We feel it is important to collect items now that will allow us to examine important issues in our state that will have long-reaching impact.  One important debate being played out in Nebraska today has been the potential placement of Transcanada’s Keystone XL pipeline across our state and the Ogalala aquifer. 

Superman has been a lot of places, so when DC fans in Omaha were promised that he'd be visiting their city they were understandably excited. It's too bad he ended up overshooting by about 60 miles.

Cape, jacket, and skirt made by Nettie Vertrovsky of Crete and covered with buttons from her collection.  (NSHS 7329-4,5)Cape, jacket, and skirt made by Nettie Vertrovsky of Crete and covered with buttons from her collection. (NSHS 7329-4,5) (at right).

Think about the clothes you save–what are they?  Chances are your family saves things like wedding dresses, christening gowns, military uniforms and other fancy or formal attire.  These get handed down for a few generations (maybe) and sometimes are eventually donated to your local museum.  Museums are happy to have these items.  Clothing collections help illustrate styles over the years, fine local or regional craftsmanship, and even changes in textile manufacturing.   However, what many museums end up with is a collection of formal and fancy attire.  That’s fine but it also doesn’t allow

The Society has a large collection of Nebraska-made/Nebraska-themed sheet music.  While cataloging some a few weeks back I came across two pieces that piqued my interest–mainly because the composers were identified only by their prisoner numbers.The second piece of sheet music isn't as visually interesting but the prisoner numbers pop up again.

Become a History Nebraska Member Today

Learn More