Nebraska - Cultural Destinations
Children’s Museums (Omaha, Lincoln)
Lincoln’s Children’s Museum offers three floors of interactive exhibits and is rated among the top 20 of its kind in the nation. Permanent exhibits include a three-story apple tree, an airplane, a grocery store, an interactive water exhibit, a medical center, a fire truck and a performing arts area. The structure itself was the city’s first green building, built to minimize waste and using recycled materials where possible. Omaha’s Children’s Museum, which recently underwent a full renovation, includes the Charlie Campbell Science and Technology Center, where kids can learn about hydraulic, pneumatic and mechanical power in the "super gravitron." The center offers an inventor’s workshop, gadgets inspired by Leonardo da Vinci and the Amazing Bubble Show. The museum also has a creative arts center where kids can paint, dress up, and perform on stage, as well as a toddler exploration center with a park like, nature setting for kids to climb, crawl and play.
Joslyn Art Museum
Nebraska’s largest center for the visual arts, this Omaha museum has an encyclopedic collection, from antiquity to the present, but emphasizes 19th and 20th-century European and American art. It is known worldwide for its collection of watercolors and prints by Swiss artist Karl Bodmer, which document his 1830s journey to the Missouri River frontier. The building is one of the area’s best examples of art deco architecture, and features a concert hall, education gallery, lecture hall, library and fountain court.
Museum of (Nebraska) Art
The Museum of Nebraska Art, located in Kearney, is home to the state’s official art collection. Eleven galleries regularly feature the work of such early artist explorers as George Catlin, early Nebraskans Robert Henri and J. Laurie Wallace and contemporary artists including Grant Reynard and John Falter. MONA also owns a James Audubon series on Nebraska wildlife. Its permanent collection of 5,000 pieces is housed a 1911 Renaissance revival structure listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Museum of (Nebraska) History
This Lincoln institution interprets 10,000 years of culture in the Great Plains. A branch of the Nebraska State Historical Society, some of the museum’s most recent acquisitions include memorabilia from the White Horse Ranch near Naper, artifacts tracing the history of cigar smoking in the state, and a number of other items including vintage quilts, coins, medals, paintings and rifles.
Sheldon Memorial Art Gallery
The University of Nebraska Lincoln’s Sheldon Memorial Art Gallery and Sculpture Garden houses both the University of Nebraska collection, initiated in 1929, and the Nebraska Art Association Collection, founded in 1888. Together, they encompass more than 12,000 pieces of art, including prominent works of still life, 19th century landscape, American impressionism, early modernism, geometric abstraction, abstract expressionism, pop, minimalism and contemporary art. The outdoor sculpture garden has more than 30 works on view year round. Among the sculptures are important pieces by Claes Oldenberg and Coosje van Bruggen, Richard Serra and David Smith.
Stuhr Museum of the Prairie Pioneer
A hands-on living history experience that interprets the intriguing story of early Nebraska, this Grand Island museum was named one of the top 10 places to relive America’s past by Good Housekeeping magazine. The museum’s exhibits tell the story of pioneer town builders who created the first communities in Nebraska. Visitors can see historical artifacts and go back in time at Railroad Town, a full-immersion experience of life on the plains circa 1890.
Great Platte River Road Archway Monument
History comes alive, and education becomes entertainment at the archway, located in Kearney. The monument, which spans Interstate 80, transports visitors into Nebraska’s earliest pioneer days, when covered wagons, hand-pulled carts and trains first traversed the prairie. The interactive museum recreates a buffalo stampede, the lives of pioneers and the building of the railroad.
Harold Warp Pioneer Village
Come see the largest collection of Americana anywhere. Twenty-eight buildings on 20 acres are home to more than 50,000 historical items arranged in chronological groups. Among the buildings: a fort, a real Pony Express station, an iron horse and a sod house. The village also has a collection of Currier & Ives prints, 23 paintings by the artist and explorer William Henry Jackson and a large collection of plaster statues by 19th-century sculptor John Rogers.