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NSHS Volunteer News

March/April 2001

Nominations Sought

Dick Loosbrock, chair of the Nebraska State Historical Society nominating committee, is seeking candidates for election to the Nebraska State Historical Society Board of Trustees. Candidates must be members of the Society and must contact Loosbrock by June 1, 2001.

Comments and suggestions may be sent to: Dick Loosbrock, 1225 South Maple Street, Chadron, NE 69337.

Red Cloud

Warrior-Statesman of the Lakota Sioux

Chief Red Cloud will be inducted into the Nebraska Hall of Fame on March 22, 2001, at the State Capitol. Red Cloud will join twenty-two other noted Nebraskans in the Hall of Fame.

Red Cloud (1821-1909) was among the most significant Native American leaders of the nineteenth century. Born near Blue Water Creek in western Nebraska in May 1821, he became one of the Oglala band's most prominent warriors, and counted many coups against enemies in battle. Red Cloud's major contributions came, however, after he had passed his prime as a warrior. In 1866, at the age of forty-five, he led his people and their allies in a war to force the U.S. government to close the Bozeman Trail running through Wyoming's Powder River basin to the gold fields of Montana. At the conclusion of "Red Cloud's War" in 1868, the U.S. Army abandoned its three military posts along the trail and withdrew from the Powder River country. This stunning victory marked Red Cloud as the only Native American leader to win a major war against the United States.

Success in war strengthened Red Cloud's hand in negotiating the 1868 Fort Laramie treaty with the government. Along with confirming the abandonment of the Bozeman Trail, the treaty set aside for the Sioux a vast reservation, including most of western South Dakota and the sacred Black Hills. The treaty also authorized distribution of food and goods at an agency for Red Cloud's people, which from 1873 to 1877 was located in northwestern Nebraska's White River country.

Red Cloud would never again resort to warfare against the whites. A realist, he understood that diplomacy offered the best hope of preserving something of the Lakotas' traditional life and lands. This path he followed during the last three decades of the nineteenth century in an ultimately futile effort to counter government policies that eroded or nullified the 1868 Fort Laramie treaty. Despite numerous visits to Washington to negotiate on behalf of his people, Red Cloud was unable to stem the tide of white encroachment that brought the loss of the Black Hills, whittled the Great Sioux Reservation to mere remnants, and destroyed much of traditional Lakota culture.

The dawn of the twentieth century brought with it the gathering twilight of the once powerful Lakota nation. Red Cloud's own voice was finally stilled at Pine Ridge Agency on December 10, 1909. As he neared the end of his life, Red Cloud may have reckoned his efforts a failure. Yet no man could have fought more tenaciously for his people. In his role as warrior-statesman, Red Cloud exemplified the spirit and determination that yet sustain Lakota life and culture.

For further reading on Red Cloud, check out the Society's museum store at 15th and P Streets, which carries the following titles: Autobiography of Red Cloud: War Leader of the Oglalas, edited by R. Eli Paul, and Red Cloud: Warrior-Statesman of the Lakota Sioux, by Robert W. Larson.

Program Showcases Museum Store

Calling all volunteers! You are invited to attend the Wednesday, March 14 volunteer program and potluck luncheon at the Museum of Nebraska History, 15th and P Streets, Lincoln.

The volunteer program will begin at 10:30 a.m., featuring the "NSHS Museum Store: Purpose, Pleasure, Promotion," by Kris Riggs, store manager. A potluck luncheon will follow at 11:30 a.m.

If you are planning ahead, future programs are scheduled for May 9, July 11, September 12, and November 14.

Please RSVP to Deb McWilliams at 471-4955 regarding your attendance, or if you have any questions.

New Summer Workshops for Kids

Kids are invited to participate in three exciting workshops this summer at the Museum of Nebraska History. Summer workshops provide children with fun opportunities to learn about Nebraska's history through drama, games, projects, special guests, and detective work. Two new workshops will debut this summer: "Missing-piece Theater," June 4-8 for 7 to 12-year-olds, and "Home Front Families: World War II," June 11-15 for 8 to12-year-olds. Last year's popular workshop, "Beads, Baskets, and Bison Hides," will be offered again June 18-22 for 8 to 12-year-olds. We hope you'll spend your summer in the past! Please contact Jessica Stoner, 471-4757 or 1-800-833-6747, for more information.

Special Activities for Children at Fifteenth and P Streets

Come to Fifteenth and P Streets in Lincoln for an exciting week of discovery at the Nebraska State Historical Society and the Lincoln Children's Museum. The Nebraska State Historical Society will celebrate a "Day of Play" on Tuesday, March 27, 1-4 P.M., and the Lincoln Children's Museum will celebrate "Arbor Week" Tuesday, March 27, through Friday, March 30. At the "Day of Play" event, kids of all ages are invited to bring a favorite toy to the Museum of Nebraska History as we play old-fashioned games, make crafts, share stories, and explore Nebraska Toy Stories, a new exhibit. For full enjoyment of this family event, children under twelve must be accompanied by an adult. Please call Jessica Stoner, 471-4757 or 1-800-833-6747, for more details.

"Arbor Week" activities at the new Lincoln Children's Museum are centered around planting, care, and stewardship of trees. On Tuesday, March 27, you'll have the opportunity to vote for a national tree, and Carly Cardinal from the Arbor Day Foundation will visit with guests. On Wednesday, Pioneers Park Nature Center will present special activities. Plant trees on Thursday, and join in a scavenger hunt to see how many things you can find that started as trees. Friday will feature recycled papermaking activities. Please call Barb, 477-0128, for more information.

Did You Know . . .

That Nebraska once had four governors in the same year? The year was 1861, and the men who served as governor were political appointees, chosen by the President. Governors were not elected to office until a territory had become a state.

Territorial Governor Samuel Black, a Democrat, had been appointed in 1859 by the Democratic administration then in power in Washington. After Abraham Lincoln and the Republicans won the election of 1860, Black knew his days as governor were numbered, and he resigned on February 24, 1861. Because the new Republican administration had not yet taken office (Inauguration Day was March 4 in those days), the territorial secretary, J. Sterling Morton, became acting governor. On May 6, 1861, the Lincoln administration appointed Republicans Algernon Paddock as territorial secretary and Alvin Saunders as governor of Nebraska Territory. Paddock served as acting governor from May 6 until May 15, when Saunders arrived in Nebraska to take office. So there you have it. Four governors in the same year.

­ Jim Potter

Aviation Survey

The State Historic Preservation Office is preparing to initiate Phase II of a two-part study of Nebraska's historic airfields. Phase I examined the history of the twelve World War II airfields located throughout Nebraska, and documented the buildings associated with the airfields that are still extant. The World War II airfields included Ainsworth, Alliance, Bruning, Fairmont, Grand Island, Harvard, Kearney, Lincoln, McCook, Omaha's Offutt Airfield, Scottsbluff, and Scribner. The consultant found several buildings that may be good candidates for the National Register of Historic Places, including Norden bombsight storage vaults, fire stations, and several hangars.

Phase II of this project will include a study of general aviation in Nebraska, as well as a field survey of the airports in order to inventory the historic buildings that are associated with aviation in Nebraska. The art deco administration building at the Norfolk Airport will be nominated to the National Register of Historic Places as a result of this project.

Brown Bag Lectures at MNH

Join us on the third Thursday of March and April for the Society's free Brown Bag lecture series at the Museum of Nebraska History, 15th and P Streets, Lincoln. The lectures begin at noon ­ so bring your lunch with you!

On March 15, Loren Pospisil, site supervisor of the NSHS Chimney Rock Visitors Center, Bayard, will present "Dogs on the Oregon Trail." John Carter, NSHS special projects coordinator, will expound on a "Cushman Oral History Project" on April 19.

Quilt Display at Norris House

Each March, through the generosity of quilters and quilt owners in the McCook area, the Senator George W. Norris State Historic Site, 706 Norris Avenue, McCook, hosts a display of quilts made since World War II.

The display features quilts, wall hangings, quilt tops, and clothing. The Society appreciates the generosity of the area volunteers and their assistance with the display. The show runs the entire month of March, Tuesday through Saturday, 9:30-12 and 1-5. For special group tours or special times, contact Linda Hein at 308-345-7134 or at

Native American Summit

With funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities' Division of Preservation and Access, the Nebraska State Historical Society will host a Native American Preservation Meeting at the Gerald R. Ford Conservation Center in Omaha.

The purpose of this gathering, to be held on March 7 and 8, is to provide the opportunity for tribal representatives to express and discuss their needs for the preservation of their material culture and heritage, evaluate potential solutions, and map strategies that will help sovereign tribes preserve and protect objects, documents, and traditions. Participants representing twelve Native American intertribal regions will join with professionals from a variety of governmental and private sector agencies whose missions involve supporting the preservation of cultural resources.

By happy coincidence, the American Association for State and Local History announced in October that it had received $200,000 from the Institute of Museum and Library Services to greatly expand its American Indian Museum Program (AIMP). The AIMP Project Director, Lisa Watt, has been actively involved in planning the Omaha meeting, and the potential for cooperation between the Ford Center and AASLH holds great promise.

Among the more interesting agenda items for this meeting will be the exploration of bringing distance learning and telecommunications technology to the Ford Center. This technology could allow the center to reach even the most distant reservations with state-of-the-art information, and to do so efficiently.

The event is being coordinated by Red Willow Institute, whose executive director, Charles Trimble, is a former president of the Society's Board of Trustees, and the first person of American Indian ancestry to serve in that position.

This meeting evolved from a regional meeting hosted by the Society in March 2000. The success of that regional conference in bringing tribal representatives together with funding sources and museum, archive, and conservation professionals drew national attention and resulted in the funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

New Volunteer Faces

Tony Allgood, library/archives

Andrea Dinkelman, library/archives

Shalil Giannone, administration

Julie Howard, museum store

Jeffrey Johns, library/archives

Ann Kittell, museum store

Susan Madsen, museum store

Joan McMahon, museum store

Chris Stolp, library/archives


March 1 - 31: Quilt Display, Senator George W. Norris State Historic Site, McCook. Tuesday through Saturday, 9:30 - 12 and 1 - 5.

March 1: Nebraska's 134th birthday

March 4: Civil War Film Series
2:00, Museum of Nebraska History, Lincoln, Nebraska

March 11: Civil War Film Series
2:00, Museum of Nebraska History, Lincoln, Nebraska

March 14: Volunteer Program & Potluck
10:30, Museum of Nebraska History, Lincoln, Nebraska

March 15: Brown Bag Lecture
12:00, Museum of Nebraska History, Lincoln, Nebraska

March 16: NSHS Board of Trustees Meeting
10:15, Omaha, Nebraska

March 19-25: March Markdowns at the Museum Store
Museum of Nebraska History, Lincoln, Nebraska

March 22 : Red Cloud induction ceremony
State Capitol, Lincoln, Nebraska

April 15: Easter Holiday
In observance of Easter, the Museum of Nebraska History and the Historic Sites (except Cather and Neihardt) will be closed April 15. Call for holiday hours at the Neihardt Site (402-648-3388) and Cather Site (402-746-2653).

April 19: Brown Bag Lecture
12:00, Museum of Nebraska History, Lincoln, Nebraska

April 27: Arbor Day State Holiday
In observance of Arbor Day, Society Headquarters offices, the Library/Archives reference room, and the Gerald R. Ford Center in Omaha will be closed Friday, April 27; the Library/Archives reference room will be closed Saturday, April 28. The Historic Sites (except Cather and Neihardt) will be closed April 27. For holiday hours at Neihardt and Cather, call as above. The Museum of Nebraska History will be open regular hours.


15th & "P" Streets 402-471-3447

March Markdowns

March 19 - 25, 2001

10:00 - 4:30, Monday - Saturday
1:30 - 4:30, Sunday

"Volunteerism is humanism in its most compassionate form. It is an extended hand to a voiceless plea, a sun on the worst days, a lighted candle on the darkest night. It is that small voice that whispers from our heart, reminding us that we all share this Blue Marble for so little time that to give it meaning, we must share our love."

- Cliff Robertson


Volunteer News is published bi-monthly for the world-class volunteers at the Nebraska State Historical Society. For information about volunteering with any of our divisions, or at any location across the state, contact:

Deb McWilliams, Volunteer Services
402-471-4955 or 1-800-833-6747

Apply for Volunteer Service today!

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Last updated 17 April 2001

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