Contents: President's Message | From the Director | Awards | Administration | Volunteers | Library/Archives | Museum/Historic Sites | Museum of Nebraska History | Chimney Rock | Fort Robinson | Thomas P. Kennard House | Neligh Mill | Senator George W. Norris | Willa Cather | John G. Neihardt | Research & Publication | State Historic Preservation Office | Archeology | Conservation | NSHS Foundation | Financial Report
"There is no place like Nebraska." This phrase is often associated with athletics, but it also pertains to the state and its people. As I write this message, our family is en route home from our summer vacation to the West Coast. Often we take our trips to various sites in Nebraska, but this year we ventured outside our state. Although we saw some gorgeous scenery and met some very nice people, none compares to Nebraska's diversified vistas and the hospitality of its people. From the buttes of northwest Nebraska, to the lush Sandhills of the north central part of the state, through the great Platte River valley, and all the way to the Missouri River's edge, Nebraska and its people have been molded and shaped by its environment and its past. The state is truly a treasure--in its past, its present, and its future.
It is the mission of the Nebraska State Historical Society to safeguard and interpret Nebraska's past. Because it is our past that forms our collective memory and provides our future's foundation, it is critical that we continue to support the efforts of the highly professional staff and volunteers at the NSHS. Under the talented leadership of Director Lawrence Sommer, the employees and volunteers of the NSHS diligently work to preserve our state's heritage and to present this "collective memory" through creative avenues to a multitude of audiences. Their innovative efforts continue to blaze the way for the crucial task of staying abreast of the latest technologies and best means of preserving our past for future generations. Take time to peruse this report and take stock of all the Society has accomplished in the past year. It is an impressive record.
In addition to the staff and volunteers, it has also been stimulating to work with the extremely dedicated members on the Board of Trustees. These individuals are committed to serving on assigned committees and other duties in an effort to buttress the efforts of the Society's staff. The NSHS Foundation, particularly President Jim Hewitt and Executive Director Jac Spahn, have been extremely helpful and cooperative in all our efforts. They are instrumental in the success of our mutual endeavors.
Under Director Sommer's leadership, the staff, the board, and the NSHS Foundation, have engaged in some serious and challenging discussions about the future of the NSHS. As we approach our Society's 125th anniversary, we are seriously reflecting on what we do, how we fulfill our mission, and how the future might affect our role. These discussions are complex, yet exhilarating. As Society members we invite you to share your thoughts and ideas with the staff or any board member.
Thank you for this opportunity to serve on the NSHS's Board of Trustees. It has been an enriching experience and one I would encourage more members to seek. Finally, as president, I thank the board for its support. You have been a driving force and yet ever supportive.
Sarah B. Crook
From the Director
This report highlights the activities and accomplishments of the Nebraska State Historical Society during the past year. As you read it please feel free to call or write if you have questions or need additional information about the Society.
The Board of Trustees, staff, and volunteers all devote considerable time and effort making sure the Society fulfills its mission "to safeguard and interpret Nebraska's past." I appreciate their efforts on behalf of the Society. A special thanks, too, to Governor Mike Johanns and members of the Nebraska Legislature for the state's continued support.
As in past years the Society enjoyed significant support from the Nebraska State Historical Society Foundation for a wide variety of projects ranging from acquisitions for Society collections to internships, National History Day travel scholarships, publications, and research fellowships for visiting scholars. The Foundation also played a leadership role in raising private funds for the reconstruction of the 1874 calvary barracks at Fort Robinson. We appreciate the close working relationship that has developed between the Society and the Foundation and thank them for their important assistance. The Foundation was first established in 1942 to assist the Society. It is one of the oldest state historical society foundations in the United States.
I also want to thank NSHS trustees Janyce Falcon Hunt of Blair and Dr. Helen Stauffer of Kearney for their service to the Society. They are leaving the Society board. Their interest, leadership, and good counsel will be missed.
Lawrence J. Sommer
Director and State Historic Preservation Officer
Nebraska State Historical Society Awards
A highlight of the Society's annual meeting is the presentation of awards recognizing significant accomplishments in the preservation and interpretation of Nebraska history, and for outstanding contributions to the Nebraska State Historical Society.
For 2000 the Nebraska Preservation Award went to Todd Heistand and Tammy Barrett, owners of NuStyle Development Corporation of Omaha, for their contributions to housing and revitalization efforts in the city of Omaha.
Dr. Francis Moul received the James L. Sellers Memorial Award for the best article published in the 1999 volume of Nebraska History. "The Biggest Partner: The Federal Government and Sioux County, Nebraska" appeared in the Winter 1999 issue. A panel of judges from Peru State College made the selection.
The Addison E. Sheldon Memorial Award for outstanding contributions to the preservation and interpretation of Nebraska history went to the Stuhr Museum of the Prairie Pioneer in Grand Island. The award recognized the museum's role in interpreting the history of Grand Island, Hall County, and the pioneer town-builders who created communities across the state.
Gladys Marie Lux of Lincoln received the Robert W. Furnas Memorial Award for her important assistance to the work of the Nebraska State Historical Society. She established an endowment at the Nebraska State Historical Society Foundation in memory of Mary Hannah Hansen Lux and Clarence Burton Lux that enabled the Society to purchase important items for the Museum of Nebraska History and the Library/Archives collections.
The Society also presents awards at a special celebration in May to recognize outstanding student projects in the annual National History Day: Nebraska contest. For 2001 the junior division award went to Quinn Johnson, Glen School, rural Sioux County, for his project, "Solomon Butcher: Photographing a Heartbeat in Time." His teacher is Moni Hourt. The senior division award recognized Sahara Cathcart, Colin Cathcart, and Danielle Broady of Johnson-Brock High School for their project, "Evelyn Sharp: Flying Into History." Their teacher is Lori Broady.
In addition to these two awards, state winners in the various History Day categories who went on to compete in the national History Day contest in Maryland received travel scholarships provided by the Lux History Education Endowment administered by the NSHS Foundation. Quinn Johnson received a second place award in the national contest for his documentary project on Solomon D. Butcher, which used photographs and other resources from the Society's collections.
"The mission of the Nebraska State Historical Society is to safeguard and interpret Nebraska's past and make it accessible in ways that enrich present and future generations."
The director, as chief executive officer of the Society, implements board policy, administers the budget, and represents the institution to the public and to a variety of funding sources. The director and administrative staff work to provide the personnel and financial resources the Society needs to fulfill its mission. In addition to administration, the Nebraska State Historical Society operates with six major divisions: Museum/Historic Sites, Historic Preservation, Library/Archives, Research and Publications, Archeology, and Conservation. Each division is managed by an associate director, who reports to the Society director.
- Continued architectural/engineering planning for renovation of the Society's headquarters and other building projects. Renovation of the headquarters building is required to meet modern fire and life safety codes and to replace obsolete mechanical systems.
- Received a $254,161 two-year grant from the federal Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS) for the "American Bounty: The Story of Food" project, which will digitize and electronically distribute materials from the Society's library/archives and museum collections that relate to the story of food production in America.
- Received a $39,375 IMLS Conservation Project Support grant for conservation and archival storage enclosures for the Society's archeological document collection.
- Received a $24,400 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and $1,100 in technical assistance funds from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) in support of a national tribal cultural summit meeting held March 78, 2001, in Omaha (see further details under Conservation Division).
- Received $64,452 from the Nebraska Department of Roads T-21 program to inventory and assess the condition of the state's historical markers, to add needed new markers, and to plan an ongoing marker maintenance/refurbishment program.
- Received a $3,348 grant from the Nebraska Arts Council toward musical entertain- ment for the Neligh Mill Jamboree, held on July 4, 2001, during Neligh's annual Old Mill Days celebration.
- Coordinated, with the office of Secretary of State, ceremonies for the induction of Chief Red Cloud into the Nebraska Hall of Fame at the State Capitol.
- Continued as a participant in the planning and development of the Great Plains Regional Humanities Center at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UN-L), which will cover the states of Nebraska, Kansas, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Oklahoma.
Historical Society Volunteers
- Contributed a total of 7,811 hours to the Society.
- Greeted 14,829 visitors at Heritage Village, Nebraska State Fair, and provided 440 hours of volunteer service.
- Scheduled 11,644 visitors to the Museum of Nebraska History.
- Generated more than $63,375 in net sales at museum stores across the state.
- Continued bimonthly volunteer programming and publication of a volunteer newsletter.
- Assisted with archeology collections and excavations.
- Assisted school groups and the public in the museum's History Adventure Center, featuring four stations exploring travel in Nebraska's history.
- Assisted with summer workshops for kids at the Museum of Nebraska History.
- Enjoyed a volunteer appreciation day at Wyuka Cemetery, Lincoln, and a bus trip to southeast Nebraska.
""The mission of the Library/Archives Division is to safeguard the documentary heritage of Nebraska for the use of all."
The Library/Archives Division is charged with the collection, management, and preservation of a wide spectrum of published and unpublished documentary materials and provides access to them for the public.
The Society's library contains approximately 80,000 volumes, and includes books, periodicals, newspapers, state publications, and more than 3,000 maps and atlases. In its manuscript collections are the papers of families and individuals and the records of Nebraska businesses, organizations, religious groups, and private educational institutions. The archival collections also include some 250,000
photographs, 6.5 million feet of moving images on film and videotape, and state, county, and local government records of permanent value as mandated by legislative acts of 1905 and 1969. Together, these documents provide vital testimony to the history and culture of Nebraska.
- Began work on "American Bounty: The Story of Food," a project to digitize primary source materials about the history of agriculture in Nebraska for class- room use (see further details under Administration Division).
- Helped to coordinate a two-day meeting at the Ford Center at which Native American professionals explored needs and opportunities for the preservation and conservation of their cultural heritage (see further details under Administration and Conservation divisions).
- Completed work on a State Records Board grant to create online databases for our holdings of government records, newspaper indexes, city directories, telephone books, atlases, and library materials in our online catalog (Athena), and an index to early Nebraska settlers.
- Served 6,356 patrons in the Reference Room, responded to 4,133 mail requests, and filled 479 orders for interlibrary loan of microfilm.
- Created a new position of curator of audio-visual collections.
- Cataloged 782 new titles into the library collections; these and an additional 917 titles already in the library were added to Athena, bringing the online catalog to 20,500 titles.
- Digitized more than three thousand collection items.
- Added ninety-eight reels of marriage records on microfilm to the Reference Room.
- Preserved five reels of early Nebraska home movies with funding provided by the National Film Preservation Foundation. Additional funds from this foundation will be used to restore a film made for the International Convention of Lions Clubs held in Omaha in 1924.
- Presented a workshop on records management to the Nebraska Municipal Clerks Academy and spoke to the Nebraska Association of County Officials (NACO) about the potential for historical records projects grants.
- Added papers of Senator J. James Exon; research materials of western writer Harry Chrisman; papers of social justice advocate Betty Olson; a volume of notes and references kept by Eli S. Ricker relating to his research on the Indian wars; World War II diaries, letters, and photographs of the Larry E. Vaughan family; a copy of the "Orphan Train Register" by Betty Thomsen; documents relating to the discovery and official naming of the "Nebraska" asteroid; a collection of panoramic photographs from Kimball County; early film footage of Bethany (now part of Lincoln); disc recordings of Nebraska polka bands; home movies from Kearney; and an album recorded by musicians Zager and Evans (Zager is a Lincoln native).
- Curated the film series "Civil War Cinema."
- Developed and taught a course in the management of archival collections for UN-L's masters program in museum studies. The course will be offered yearly and will grow into an archives specialization within the museum studies program.
- Planned and served with other Society divisions as faculty for the third annual Nebraska Institute for teachers (see further details under Museum/Historic Sites Division).
- Worked with Nebraska Educational Telecommunications (NET) to develop and implement the "nebraskastudies.org" website providing Nebraska history information and related primary sources, which is scheduled to be made available
to educators and the public in late summer 2001.
- Completed processing the papers of Judge Edward Carter, who presided over a Nuremburg War Crimes case, and began processing the papers of artist John Falter.
Museum/Historic Sites Division
"The mission of the Museum/Historic Sites Division is to educate people about Nebraska's past through historic artifacts and historic places."
The division gathers, preserves, researches, and interprets artifacts and sites representing Nebraska's rich and diverse human experience, and provides the broadest possible public access to these resources. The museum is Nebraska's official and preeminent artifact repository. Its collections serve as the basis for exhibitions, programs, publications, and educational outreach. Through a variety of media, the division gives people firsthand experience with the physical remnants of past life and the places where Nebraska history was made.
The division administers the Museum of Nebraska History in Lincoln and oversees seven historic sites statewide. The education and statewide services, exhibition, museum collections, and historic sites departments form partnerships with individuals and organizations around the state and across the country to enrich people's lives by increasing their understanding and enjoyment of Nebraska's past.
Museum of Nebraska History
- Welcomed 115,613 visitors at facilities statewide.
- Accessioned 226 collections of artifacts into the museum, from which 973 items were cataloged. An additional eighty-seven items received prior to July 1, 1999, were cataloged, bringing the total number of artifacts cataloged to 1,060. Significant accessions included six William Jennings Bryan presidential campaign "transpar- encies" used in torchlight parades; a Powers Cameragraph motion picture theater projector used at the Palmer Theater, donated by Dale Kirkpatrick; a Star Quilt made by Lakota quilter Lula Red Cloud and used at the unveiling of the Red Cloud bust in the Nebraska Hall of Fame; books and clothing worn from the 1940s to 1970s, donated by Margaret Bodie; J. James Exon campaign memorabilia donated by Charles M. Palleson; a portrait of Mabel Milliken painted by Elizabeth Dolan, donated by Grace Hall; a Wonder Horse child's rocking horse donated by Beth Wilkins; and materials that belonged to the late Senator Carl T. Curtis and Mrs. Curtis.
- Loaned museum collections artifacts to other institutions including the Hubbard Museum of the American West in Ruidoso, New Mexico; the Nebraska Museum of Major League Baseball in St. Paul; and the Swedish Heritage Center in Oakland, Nebraska.
- Added 2,183 objects to the computerized inventory database of the museum collections, bringing the total to 166,728.
- Assisted 125 researchers and other visitors in the museum collections department.
- Completed design and began fabrication of the new permanent exhibit, Buildingthe State, Nebraska 1867-1916, funded in part by a grant from the IMLS. Moved 1,780 objects into a staging area and made more than five hundred digital photographs of the objects for future use on the website and collections database.
- Received funding from the Nebraska Humanities Council to begin work on traveling trunks of touchable artifacts for third through twelfth graders to augment the Building the State exhibit.
- Conducted museum tours for 11,644 persons in 329 groups.
- Partnered with NET in the development of "nebraskastudies.org" website (see further details under Library/Archives Division).
- Cosponsored and coordinated, with other divisions, the third annual Nebraska Institute for teachers. Introduced fourteen teachers from across the state to new Nebraska history resources, perspectives, and methods for learning with objects, places, photographs, documents, and oral histories.
- Mounted the framework for sharing teacher-generated Nebraska Institute projects, learning units, and lesson plans on the NSHS website.
- Organized and cosponsored the fifth annual Nebraska History Day celebration at the State Capitol.
- Sponsored a new event, "The Day of the Dead," in October, featuring a guest speaker, authentic foods, and activities associated with the Mexican holiday of El Día de los Muertos. One hundred persons attended.
- Offered new "school's out" programs with a workshop for grandparents and grandchildren in January. In March "A Day of Play" connected kids and adults with the Nebraska Toy Stories exhibit through a scavenger hunt and crafts.
- Provided four summer workshops for children aged seven to twelve years.
- Created a small exhibit, Ragtime in Nebraska, displayed at the Museum of Nebraska History and at the Lied Center for Performing Arts in Lincoln to promote the Broadway musical, Ragtime, and NSHS.
- Distributed 132,127 copies of twenty-eight different issues of Nebraska Trailblazer for elementary school use statewide and sent printed educational materials in response to 254 requests.
- Provided Czech trunks to educational service units in Hastings, Fremont, Trenton, Neligh, Sidney, and the Lincoln Public Schools. Trunks were also loaned to nonpublic schools including St. Patrick's Elementary in McCook and St. Boniface Elementary in Stuart.
- Developed a "Pastimes and Playthings" trunk and loaned it to Lincoln Public Schools for the entire school year. Additional reproduction toys were loaned to the Homestead National Monument in Beatrice, the Cather Foundation in Red Cloud, and the Lied Center, Gere Library, and Bennett Martin Library in Lincoln.
- Placed an exhibit case with objects at the Lincoln Children's Museum for cross promotion.
- Published the twenty-ninth issue of Nebraska Trailblazer, which focused on Mexican Americans in Nebraska.
- Consulted on the North Platte Canteen exhibit at the Lincoln County Historical Society in North Platte.
- Designed and laid out all regular and special Society publications, including additions to the Society's website (currently with nearly nine hundred pages of text and more than three thousand image files, plus sixteen documents in PDF); Museum Store mail-order catalog; six issues of the Historical Newsletter; online order form for Nebraska Trailblazer; PDF version of "What Did You Do in the War? Nebraskans in World War II" educational packet for web and CD-ROM; redesigned Chimney Rock on the Oregon Trail booklet; Explore Nebraska Archeology, No. 5, High Plains Archeology; Central Plains Archeology: Freshwater Mussels in the Great Plains: Ecology and Prehistoric Utilization; and four issues of Nebraska History quarterly.
- Developed new products for the Museum Store, including lead crystal paper weight with four designs, as well as a Neligh Mill mug and T-shirt.
- Began a survey of the more than four hundred historical markers across the state to identify maintenance needs, funded by a grant from the Nebraska Department of Roads Transportation Enhancement Program (see further details under
Museum/Historic Sites Division
The Nebraska State Historical Society's historic sites make a wide variety of Nebraska's stories, from politics to poetry to our military past, accessible around the state. More than 66,000 people visited the seven historic sites during the past year.
Chimney Rock National Historic Site
" The mission of the Chimney Rock National Historic Site is to interpret the historical significance of Chimney Rock, the most famous landmark on the Oregon-California Trail, as it relates to the westward overland migration and its influences on Nebraska history."
- Offered a popular presentation about dogs on the Oregon Trail developed and delivered by Site Supervisor Loren Pospisil.
- Hosted a Christmas on the Prairie program.
- Hosted the Pony Express annual re-ride.
- Celebrated nearly a quarter million visitors since opening by painting the exterior and installing new carpet throughout the Ethel and Christopher J. Abbott Visitor Center.
Chimney Rock National Historic Site
Fort Robinson Museum
" The mission of the Fort Robinson Museum is to preserve and interpret the historic resources associated with Fort Robinson for the benefit of the public and to add to those resources through research."
- Hosted a concert by the Forty-third Army Band, Nebraska National Guard.
- Helped coordinate the annual Fort Robinson Christmas Dinner.
- Completed painting of the museum building and repairing porches and gutters.
- Continued planning and preparation for the reconstruction of the 1874 Cavalry Barracks.
- Hosted a tour for participants in the annual meeting of the Council on America's Military Past (CAMP).
- Assisted with planning and execution of the expansion of the Fort Robinson National Historic Landmark District.
Fort Robinson Museum
Thomas P. Kennard House
" The mission of the Thomas P. Kennard House, Nebraska Statehood Memorial, is to preserve the home of Nebraska's first secretary of state, and interpret domestic and political life in the era when Nebraska became a state."
- Interpreted Victorian Holidays Past and hosted a special open house in December.
- Installed a new historic landscape funded by a Nebraska Green Space Stewardship Initiative grant.
- Premiered a new introductory site video for visitor orientation.
Thomas P. Kennard House Nebraska Statehood Memorial
Neligh Mill State Historic Site
" The mission of the Neligh Mill State Historic Site is to preserve the state's only nineteenth-century flour mill with original equipment in order to interpret the importance of the milling industry to the history of Nebraska."
- Sponsored a concert by Chris Sayre on the grounds of the mill as part of the Neligh Old Mill Days celebration.
- Painted the mill office and boxcar.
- Assisted in installing a new historical marker for the mill bridge.
- Served visitors from thirty-nine states and seven foreign countries.
Neligh Mill State Historic Site
Senator George W. Norris State Historic Site
" The mission of the Senator George Norris State Historic Site is to relate the story of a nationally-significant Nebraska politician through preservation and interpretation of his home and its furnishings."
- Introduced a monthly brown bag series using videotapes of Nebraska History Forum lectures previously aired in Lincoln.
- Hosted a post-World War II quilt display; a Spinning, Weaving and Needlework exhibit; and a pre-World War II quilt display, highlighting examples from the community.
- Partnered with the Good Earth Gardeners for a summer tour of eleven area gardens.
- Celebrated Norris's birthday in the park with a birthday cake and a talk by former Nebraska Governor Frank Morrison.
Senator George W. Norris State Historic Site
Willa Cather State Historic Site
Red Cloud, Nebraska
" The mission of the Willa Cather State Historic Site is to preserve and interpret sites significant in the life and work of one of Nebraska's greatest authors and to make Cather-related materials available to researchers."
- Hosted, with the assistance of Excel Campers of Nebraska, 250 elementary students from eight schools for the Pastimes and Playthings children's festival.
- Interpreted a Victorian Christmas at the Cather Childhood Home.
- Held a Mass on December 7 at Grace Episcopal Church to celebrate Cather's birthday.
- Studied the physical fabric of the Cather Childhood Home for the historic structures report that will guide future restoration. Funding was provided by the "Save America's Treasures" program (see further details under Historic Preservation Office).
Willa Cather State Historic Site
John G. Neihardt State Historic Site
" The mission of the John G. Neihardt State Historic Site is to interpret the legacy of Nebraska's poet laureate through exhibits and the preservation of the historic study in which he worked."
- Featured Nebraska State Poet William Kloefkorn, Dr. Brian Holloway, and Robin Neihardt at the Spring Conference, based on the theme of Neihardt's epic poetry.
- Focused on the upcoming anniversary of the Lewis and Clark Expedition at the annual Neihardt Day; Gen. Hal Stearns spoke about Neihardt and the Missouri River.
- Conducted the third Neihardt/Black Elk Young Writers' Workshop.
- Continued replanting the Sacred Hoop Garden.
- Published the second issue of The Neihardt Journal.
John G. Neihardt State Historic Site
Research & Publication Division
"The mission of the Research and Publications Division is to promote research leading to a better understanding of the history and culture of Nebraska and its people, and to disseminate the results."
The Research and Publications Division publishes the Society's quarterly, Nebraska History, and conducts research leading to publication of books, archeological reports, and interpretive booklets about the history of Nebraska and the Great Plains. The division provides editorial services to other Society divisions, compiles the "Nebraska Timeline" column provided weekly to Nebraska newspapers through the Nebraska Press Association, and helps organize special programs and conferences. The division also administers the Society's research grant program.
- Awarded three grants to support research in Society collections, the results to be considered for publication. Funding is provided by the Gladys Marie Lux Education Endowment and the Tom and Marilyn Allan Fund, both administered by the Society Foundation.
- Published, with the Montana Historical Society Press, Wheel Boats on the Missouri: The Journals and Documents of the Atkinson-O'Fallon Expedition, 1824-26, edited by Richard E. Jensen and James S. Hutchins.
- Published in the Spring 2001 issue of Nebraska History the first paper from the research grant program,"But What Kind of Work Do the Rest of You Do?: Child Labor on Nebraska Farms, 1870-1920," by Dr. Pamela Riney-Kehrberg.
- Published in the Fall 2000 issue of Nebraska History Dr. Gary Moulton's essay, "Lewis and Clark on the Middle Missouri," from the National Park Service's "Reconnaissance Survey of Lewis and Clark on the Missouri National Recreational River, Nebraska and South Dakota."
- Revised and reprinted Chimney Rock on the Oregon Trail by Merrill J. Mattes, with financial support from the Oregon-California Trails Association in memory of Charles W. Martin, Sr.
Research and Publications Division
State Historic Preservation Office
" The mission of the State Historic Preservation Office is to promote the preservation and enhancement of the cultural resources of the state of Nebraska."
The Society administers Nebraska's historic preservation program under the National Historic Preservation Act. The program includes the Nebraska Historic Buildings Survey, archeological surveys, the National Register of Historic Places for Nebraska, review of federal undertakings, and assistance to developers of historic rehabilitation projects qualifying for federal tax incentives. The Nebraska State Historic Preservation Board serves in an advisory capacity to the state historic preservation program, including the review and recommendation of properties to the National Register of Historic Places. The National Park Service issues certification to participate in federally sponsored programs of historic preservation and supports the preservation program with grant funding for office operations, local government preservation programs, and survey projects.
The State Historic Preservation Office is dedicated to sound policy for historic preservation in Nebraska. In 1995 a two-year task force on historic preservation presented findings and recommendations to the Nebraska State Legislature. Toward establishing policy for historic preservation in Nebraska, the State Historic Preservation Office has participated in Legislative Resolution 414, introduced in the 2000 legislative session to study historic preservation needs and incentives to best preserve Nebraska's unique historic places.
- Hosted two public forums on LR414, including a session at Community Quest 2000 for the Nebraska Community Improvement Program and a Development Forum video teleconference of the American Society of Public Administration, Community Development Society-Nebraska, and the Nebraska Development Network.
- Cosponsored the Nebraska Lied Main Street Program in cooperation with the Nebraska Department of Economic Development, Nebraska Department of Roads, Nebraska Rural Development Commission, Nebraska Community Foundation, and the UN-L College of Architecture. Participating communities include Alliance, Bassett, Beatrice, Bellevue, Central City, Fremont, Gothenburg, Kimball, McCook, Ogallala, Plattsmouth, Scottsbluff, and Wayne. Another sixteen communities are enrolled as associate or graduate communities.
- Participated in the organization of "Preserve Northeast Nebraska," a nineteen- county regional preservation advocacy group. Organizational meetings have been sponsored, in part, by the Mountain/Plains Regional Office of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
- Participated in interagency programs and planning including the Nebraska Department of Roads Transportation Enhancement Program, the Nebraska Energy Office "Rebuild Otoe County" project, and the Technical Assistance Review Process (TARP) consisting of six state and federal agencies that assist and coordinate housing programs. The "Rebuild Otoe County" project resulted in a planning guide for buildings, "Energy Efficiency and Historic Preservation."
- Sponsored sessions of the 2000 "Nebraska Institute: Teaching Nebraska History and Culture through Social Studies and the Humanities," about teaching with historic places in communities, which resulted in classroom projects in rural public schools in Holt and Otoe counties.
- Received Nebraska Center for the Book nonfiction book award for Spans in Time: A History of Nebraska Bridges, coedited by the Society's Research and Publications Division and copublished by the Nebraska Department of Roads.
- Funded Certified Local Government (CLG) historic preservation programs in Lincoln, Omaha, and Red Cloud to underwrite local preservation activities, including the publication of design guidelines for Red Cloud's downtown district, listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
- Allocated 2001 to 2002 funding for CLGs, including an African American history project in Lincoln, a 15,000-building survey in the Benson neighborhood of Omaha, and design guidelines for historic residential districts in Red Cloud.
- Conducted or participated in nearly sixty public information and education outreach meetings statewide.
- Gave presentation on preserving community school buildings for the annual meeting of Nebraska Community Builders, on historic preservation regulations for Nebraska Department of Roads Environmental Summit, on historic preservation and urban design for "A Dialogue on the Arts" telecast of Metro Community College, and sessions on Nebraska preservation projects at the annual meeting of the National Conference of State Historic Preservation Officers in Washington, D.C.
- Commissioned a historic architectural assessment for the Stolley House in Grand Island, in cooperation with the city of Grand Island and Hall County Historical Society, and funded by the Nebraska State Historical Society Foundation.
- Participated in the completion of Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS) and Historic American Engineering Record (HAER) for the Omaha Stockyards and former Strategic Air Command headquarters building, which housed the administrative and command functions of the United States strategic missile and bomber forces from 1957 through 1992.
- Completed a boundary revision and comprehensive evaluation of historic resources for the Fort Robinson National Historic Landmark. The project included 29,835 acres associated with the Fort Robinson military reservation and land associated with the Cheyenne Outbreak of 1879. Seventy-one buildings associated with the army's cavalry and remount activities (1874-1948) were included. The project was a cooperative effort of the State Historic Preservation Office and the Society's Fort Robinson Museum under contract with the National Park Service Midwest Region in Omaha.
- Completed a historic structures report/historic preservation management plan for the Willa Cather Childhood Home in Red Cloud, a National Historic Landmark, with funding provided by a grant from the "Save America's Treasures" program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation and the J. Paul Getty Trust. The Society's Museum Division, Ford Conservation Center, and State Historic Preser- vation Office provided matching support, with funding by the Nebraska State Historical Society Foundation and Willa Cather Pioneer Memorial and Educational Foundation.
- Processed the listing of fourteen properties to the National Register of Historic Places in Omaha, Geneva, Ithaca, David City, Kearney, Bow Valley, Imperial, Wood River, and rural properties near Blair, Ashland, Papillion, Scottsbluff, Nebraska City, and Walton. A total of 861 Nebraska properties are listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
- Listed a multiple property documentation entry of historic and architecturally significant school buildings in the National Register of Historic Places. The project is a follow-up to a contextual study of historic school buildings in Nebraska, which surveyed the status of vacant or surplus schools. A report will be issued to promote alternative uses for old schools.
- Initiated a statewide survey of five historic automotive highways in cooperation with the Nebraska Department of Roads. The project will include a history of the development of roads in Nebraska from turn-of-the-century "good roads" boosters and the earliest "automobile trails" to the construction of the Interstate Highway System.
- Began preparations to host the third national conference, "Preserving the Historic Road in America," in Omaha, April 1114, 2002, sponsored by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, National Park Service, and Federal Highway Administration.
- Completed a two-year project on Nebraska aviation development in cooperation with the Nebraska Department of Aeronautics, which included an evaluation of World War II air fields and fifteen general/municipal airports. Another phase of the project will include a history of Nebraska aviation, scheduled for publication in 2003, the "centennial of flight."
- Completed Nebraska Historic Buildings Surveys in Madison and Pierce counties. Some 590 properties were identified in Madison County, including 74 properties and one Norfolk residential district potentially eligible for the National Register of Historic Places. In Pierce County, 235 properties were identified, including 42 potentially eligible for the National Register.
- Performed a survey of properties associated with the historic Meridian Highway (today's U.S. 81) in Pierce and Madison counties, helping to establish methodology for a statewide survey of historic automotive highways. A rare and intact 4.5-mile section of the early highway in Pierce County, dating 191139, was proposed for listing in the National Register of Historic Places.
- Initiated Nebraska Historic Buildings Surveys in Banner, Chase, Kimball, and Red Willow counties and evaluation of historic buildings in downtown Kimball and McCook in support of Nebraska Lied Main Street programs. A stone corral in Chase County, thought to be the only extant structure in Nebraska associated with the Texas Trail, will be proposed for listing in the National Register of Historic Places.
- Completed transition of the Nebraska Historic Buildings Survey database of more than 55,000 historic properties from an outmoded mainframe system to a data- base that expands accessibility to data collected over the past twenty-five years.
- Completed entry of all archeological survey data into Geographic Information System (GIS), with integration of site data in progress. Personnel at the Fort Robinson Museum, Archeology Division/Highway Survey Program, and State Historic Preservation Office are integrated into a local area network for information sharing.
- Processed six applications exceeding $8.7 million for historic preservation tax incentives projects in Omaha, Lincoln, Scottsbluff, and Taylor. Seven projects totaling more than $10 million were completed and certified under this program in Omaha, Lincoln, and Wood River.
- Commented on 1,502 federal undertakings for potential effects on historic and culturally significant properties, including the Lincoln beltway study, Lincoln Antelope Valley study, and Columbus bypass study.
- Assisted the Society's Archeology Division in excavation of the Buffalo Soldiers adobe barracks site at Fort Robinson. A publication about the project was completed for the Explore Nebraska Archeology series, produced jointly by the Archeology Division and the State Historic Preservation Office.
- Completed a 7,000-acre archeological survey of the Pumpkin Creek and Lower South Platte drainages in Cheyenne, Deuel, Keith, Lincoln, Perkins, Morrill, Kimball, and Banner counties and recorded 118 sites. A second phase of the project included the testing of a bison kill site and Paleoindian site, both in Keith County. The sites are proposed for listing in the National Register of Historic Places.
- Funded archeological investigations by the Society's Archeology Division of the Lower Elkhorn and Platte River drainage in western Douglas and Sarpy counties.
- Initiated a 5,000-acre archeological survey of the Upper Loup drainage in Custer, Loup, Blaine, Thomas, Brown, and Cherry counties.
State Historic Preservation Office
" The mission of the Archeology Division is to preserve, enhance, explore, and interpret Nebraska's archeological resources for the benefit of the public and the advancement of science."
The division's primary responsibility is operation of the Nebraska Highway Archeology Program. Division staff evaluate all proposed highway and federal-aid county road improvements in the state for potential impact to significant archeological and historic sites. If such sites cannot be avoided, staff carries out excavation programs. The Archeology Division conducts similar work for other agencies, such as the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission and the Natural Resources Conservation Service. The archeological collection includes three thousand boxes of artifacts managed and curated by division staff. The division is the primary repository for reports and archival material involving Nebraska archeological investigations. Staff members are actively engaged in Great Plains archeological research and publishing.
- Evaluated 220 Nebraska Department of Roads projects for potential impact to National Register of Historic Places-eligible sites. More than twenty new
archeological sites were discovered.
- Sponsored an archeological internship for three members of the Pawnee Tribe of Oklahoma, who assisted with excavations in the Omaha and Lincoln areas.
- Recorded more than seventy-five previously unknown Euroamerican and Native American archeological sites identified by archeologists from the Society and other agencies.
- Completed development of a GIS (Geographic Information System) program for Nebraska cultural resources. The Nebraska Department of Roads and the Federal Highway Administration sponsored the project.
- Presented lectures to twenty public or school groups.
- Provided archeological fieldwork experience to several groups of students from Omaha area high schools.
- Provided a tour of archeological sites to Pawnee tribal members who were participating in a powwow in Genoa.
- Received grants from the National Park Service and the IMLS for improvement of archeological records (see further details under Administration Division).
- Participated in sixteen investigations at the State Patrol crime lab or with other law enforcement agencies.
- Consulted with the Pawnee Tribe of Oklahoma, the Otoe-Missouria Tribe of Oklahoma, the Iowa Tribe of Kansas and Nebraska, the Iowa Tribe of Oklahoma, and the Kaw Nation of Oklahoma regarding repatriation of human remains and funerary objects.
- Taught the UN-L Archeological Field School for three weeks, involving eighteen students with projects near Lincoln and Omaha.
- Conducted National Register of Historic Places archeological investigations in Lancaster, Dawes, Box Butte, Nance, Washington, Furnas, Douglas, and Sarpy counties, including sites dating from seven thousand years ago.
- Participated in a Native American summit in Omaha to discuss various cultural preservation issues (see further details under Conservation Division).
- Continued laboratory analysis of materials from Native American flint quarries in Furnas County and the Eagle Ridge site collection, an early eighteenth century Native American (Oto?) village discovered in a Sarpy County housing development.
- Edited the journal, Central Plains Archeology.
- Completed a 3,000-acre sample survey and testing program in the lower Platte/ Elkhorn valley in western Douglas and Sarpy counties, a joint Archeology Division/ State Historic Preservation Office undertaking.
- Presented lectures in forensic training using archeological techniques to staff of the Nebraska State Patrol, Lincoln Police Department, and Lancaster County Sheriff.
The mission of the Conservation Division is to conserve the historical, cultural, and educational collections of the state of Nebraska and surrounding areas through preservation activities and conservation treatment."
The Conservation Division provides conservation and preservation services for the cultural, historical, and educational collections of Nebraska and the region. Services include consultation, assessment of collection condition, assessment of conservation needs, educational opportunities, training for residents of the region, and the specialized conservation treatment of collection materials.
- Accepted more than 145 new projects for conservation treatment including twelve polychrome wood Santos figures, a group of eighteenth-century French gilded objects, a Chinese porcelain bowl, a Tibetan bone apron, and a number of paper objects.
- Completed conservation treatments of objects for museums and private clients around the region including a Ming dynasty lamp, a marble sculpture, a Sioux beaded leather dress, a mess jacket worn by Gen. John J. Pershing, and objects for the Museum of Nebraska History exhibit, Building the State.
- Completed treatment of many objects from the collection of the Joslyn Art Museum including a beaded leather jacket thought to be from Logan Fontenelle. This treatment involved the innovative use of special laboratory equipment and was presented by Deborah Long at the American Institute for Conservation annual meeting in Dallas.
- Completed conservation assessments for the Girls and Boys Town Hall of History, Fairbury City Museum, Santa Fe Trail Center, NSHS Archeology Division, the Driehaus Collection, and the Nebraska Jewish Historical Society. Assessments are in progress for the Whitehall Mansion, the Saline County Historical Society, the University of Nebraska State Museum, the Furnas-Gosper Historic Museum
Association, and the Senator George W. Norris State Historic Site. Many were funded through the IMLS conservation assessment program and administered by Heritage Preservation, a national preservation organization.
- Taught a three-credit, graduate level course in preventive conservation for the museum studies program at UN-L.
- Delivered thirty-four workshops, special tours, and lectures for the public and NSHS staff on topics relating to caring for and preserving collections.
- Organized and hosted a national meeting in March 2001 to explore conservation and preservation needs of Native tribes from all regions of the United States. Fifteen Indian professionals involved with tribal preservation issues were joined by professionals from major museum and preservation organizations from across the nation for a two-day meeting funded by the NEH. A meeting report is currently being prepared.
- Organized and delivered a one-week professional workshop, "Recent Advances in the Conservation of Silver," for twenty-six leading conservators and scientists from around the world. This workshop was funded by a grant from the National Center for Preservation Technology and Training of the National Park Service.
- Provided leather care training for National Park Service staff at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.
- A postgraduate internship was completed by Gerri Ann Strickler. A new postgraduate internship, funded by the Getty Grant Program, was begun by Farideh Fekrsanati. Ms. Fekrsanati is conducting research into the safe removal of arsenic pesticides from feathers.
- Welcomed two Argentinean museum professionals to the objects laboratory for a one-year conservation internship focusing on the development of basic conservation skills. The internship is a direct result of training previously provided by Ford Center staff in Argentina and is funded through the Antorchas Foundation.
- Included a paper, "The Treatment of False Gilding: A Case Study," in a newly released book entitled Gilded Metals: History, Technology and Conservation, published by Archetype Publications for the American Institute for Conservation.
- Displayed a traveling exhibit from the Museum of Nebraska Art, Grant Reynard and World War II: Images from the Home Front, in Paxson Hall from April until June. An opening reception was hosted by the MONA to commemorate this exhibit.
- Received eighty boxes of books donated by Kendra Dereneé Lovette for the Ford Center Library covering topics on paper conservation, papermaking, and bookmaking.
- Hosted more than 3,400 visitors to the Ford Center, Ford exhibit, conservation and digital imaging laboratories, and special functions.
- Received funding from the Kiewit Foundation to purchase camera equipment allowing digital imaging of fragile, oversized, and three-dimensional objects.
- Processed more than three hundred print orders for NSHS researchers and patrons.
- Scanned more than 350 objects for the Museum of Nebraska History exhibit, Building the State.
- Created 3,700 digital files of objects from NSHS collections and completed twenty-two digital imaging projects for other state agencies, regional institutions, and individuals.
- Hosted a workshop on scanning by the Northeast Document Conservation Center that included presentations and tours by Digital Imaging Laboratory and Library/ Archives Division staff.
- Conducted digital imaging workshops for staff from the Utah State Historical Society and the National Museum of the Native American and consulted for the United States Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C.
Nebraska State Historical Society Foundation
As you can see from the summaries included in its annual report, the Nebraska State Historical Society is continually developing innovative ways to enhance and expand its role in preserving Nebraska history. But it is not enough only to collect and preserve our history, it must also be made easily accessible to the thousands of guests that visit its sites across the state and via the internet annually.
It is only with the help of private support that initiatives to enhance the Society's effectiveness in disseminating Nebraska's remarkable story become reality. Private support makes it possible to go beyond the minimum expectations of collecting, preserving, and sharing the unique aspects of Nebraska heritage.
The Nebraska State Historical Society Foundation, incorporated in 1942, provides the private-public partnership that is vital to funding new initiatives to protect, interpret, and share the stories of Nebraska. The Foundation works to secure private gifts to support both the short-term and long-term goals of the Historical Society.
The Foundation receives support for the Historical Society's programs at many levels from many sources. We are pleased to recognize and thank those donors who generously provided support during our 2000-01 fiscal year. We are gratified to have earned the support of so many Nebraskans (public and private organizations and individuals) that share with us a passion for preserving Nebraska history. Their gifts have helped the Historical Society launch new programs, perpetuate successful ones, and provide long-term, dependable support for the organization. Thank you.
Nebraska State Historical Society Foundation
Financial Report, Nebraska State Historical Society
Fiscal Year 2000-2001 Operations
(Based on preliminary year-end information. Excludes fiscal year accruals.)
Revenues % Dollar Amounts State Appropriations 69.29 $4,212,108 NSHS Foundation Support 1.48 90,089* Earned Income 18.54 1,126,715 Federal Grants/Contracts 10.48 636,800 Donations/Grants/Spec. Events .21 13,107 Total Revenues $6,078,819 Expenditures Museum/Historic Sites 24.22 $1,472,218 Administrative Services 23.41 1,423,387 Library/Archives 17.31 1,052,312 Historic Preservation 12.28 746,292 Archeology 9.67 587,983 Conservation 8.13 494,135 Research & Publications 4.98 302,492 Total Expenditures $6,078,819
* In addition to the figure above the Nebraska State Historical Society Foundation provided direct support in the amount of $55,998.
Tony A. Schmitz
Deputy Director for Operations