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NSHS Volunteer News

March / April 2005

 Volunteer Spotlight on Chuck Jones

Chuck Jones
Just as I was starting to consider the next issue of Volunteer News, I ran into Chuck Jones, who was assisting Pat Churray from the library/archives division in moving the Keith County district court records - specifically bills of exception and depositions. I thought to myself, Wow, our volunteers help us with so many things - even moving boxes.

Chuck's volunteer work doesn't usually include moving boxes; rather his time is spent organizing and preparing a database that includes information about permits and architectural drawings of Lincoln buildings. The drawings begin in 1904 and run through the 1980s. They include schools, restaurants, manufacturing plants, and religious buildings, to name a few. The permits in this collection, both residential and commercial, start with the first permit taken out by Frank Farrell, a Lincoln builder, and include Lincoln buildings, plus those in a three-mile jurisdiction around the city. Chuck has been working with the permits and drawings three to four days a week since March of 2004. Once the project is complete, an introductory statement to the collection will be written and made available to the public through the library/archives division. The project's database will also be available once it is finished.

Not only does Chuck help the NSHS in the library/archives division, he also assists with filming the monthly Brown Bag lectures at the Museum of Nebraska History. Even though Chuck films the lectures, he generally watches them on cable television afterwards because "as an operator you aren't able to take in the details of the lecture while filming."

Chuck indicated that what he enjoys most about volunteering is "Every time I turn around there is something new to look at - like the Fish Commission reports from the 1880s (the precursor to the Game and Parks Commission)." "I love Lincoln and its architecture, and volunteering has deepened my interest in history." He went on to say, "I enjoy helping to make things available and contributing to the NSHS mission - it's rewarding."

Chuck told me that he became interested in the NSHS while coming to the headquarters building to visit the museum when he was young - that got him hooked. He continues to be a tremendous advocate for the NSHS by sharing with others the work he has accomplished. When Chuck talks to others about the NSHS, the response is, "I would love to volunteer there." Chuck fully recognizes that the NSHS and other organizations are able to expand and fulfill their missions only with the help of volunteers.

Prior to volunteering at the NSHS Chuck worked as a computer programmer and analyst for Alltel, and has taught math at the Omaha Public Schools. In his spare time he enjoys biking, gardening, and yard work. On behalf of the NSHS staff, we sincerely appreciate Chuck's willingness to move boxes, organize large collections, and help us fulfill our mission. Thanks Chuck!

-- Deb McWilliams

NSHS Board of Trustees Nominating Committee Seeks Candidates

Jack Preston, chair of the Nebraska State Historical Society nominating committee, is seeking candidates for election to the Nebraska State Historical Society Board of Trustees. Individuals may run for the board of trustees by becoming members of the Historical Society, and obtaining signatures of twenty-five Historical Society members. Board meetings are held quarterly at various locations across the state. The board of trustees consists of twelve individuals elected by the Historical Society membership, and three appointed by the governor of Nebraska. The board of trustees assist in setting policies, provides guidance in strategic planning, and offers overall support to the director, staff, Historical Society members, and volunteers.

Individuals interested in running for the board must contact Jack Preston by June 1, 2005, at 192726 Preston Road, Lyman, Nebraska 69352-1764, or, or by phone at 308-247-2888. For further information about NSHS membership, contact the Nebraska State Historical Society Foundation at 1-888-515-3535 or 402-435-3535.

Nebraskans Have Made Their Mark in Movies, Television

The recent passing of Johnny Carson, and Marlon Brando not long before, reminds us that men and women with Nebraska ties have been giants in the motion picture and television industries. Some of them were born in the state, while others grew up here. A few, such as Johnny Carson, maintained an affection for their Nebraska roots until their deaths, and expressed that affection through philanthropy that will benefit the state long into the future.

Since 1988 the Nebraska State Historical Society has sponsored an annual series to highlight the contributions of Nebraskans in film, or to reveal how the state, its landscapes, and its history have contributed to American films. Sometimes the series has focused on movies starring Nebraska actors, while at other times it has featured movies about themes important in our past, such as the American West, the Atomic Age, baseball, or politics. The 2005 series, which began January 23, featured seven films with Nebraska stars or made in the state, and selected by the NSHS staff.

A catalog of some of Nebraska's best known movie and television stars would include Johnny Carson (who grew up in Norfolk and graduated from the University of Nebraska); Henry Fonda (born in Grand Island, grew up in Omaha) Fred Astaire, Nick Nolte, Dorothy McGuire, Marlon Brando, and Montgomery Clift (all born in Omaha); Ruth Etting (born in David City); James Coburn (born in Laurel); Harold Lloyd (born in Burchard); Robert Taylor (born in Filley, grew up in Beatrice), Hoot Gibson (born in Tekamah), Pierce Lyden (born in Hildreth); David Janssen (born in Naponee as David Meyer); Sandy Dennis (attended school in Hastings and Lincoln); Ward Bond (born in Benkelman); Lyle Talbot (raised by his grandparents in Brainard); and Dick Cavett (born in Gibbon, graduated from Lincoln H.S.). Producer Darryl F. Zanuck of Warner Brothers and Twentieth Century-Fox studios was born and raised in Wahoo. Writer/director Alexander Payne, whose recent films have received critical acclaim and Academy Award nominations, is from Omaha. Television newsmen Floyd Kalber and Tom Brokaw both got their start broadcasting in Omaha, as did Johnny Carson.

These Nebraskans' contributions to our entertainment legacy range widely across various genres of both motion pictures and television: comedies, dramas, musicals, Westerns, the news, and late night talk shows. All of these performers were undoubtedly shaped in some way by their Nebraska connections, and they have created a body of work that we can continue to enjoy and appreciate through the enduring medium of film.

--Jim Potter, with thanks to Andrea Faling

Curators' Choice:
A Film Series at the Nebraska State Historical Society

NSHS curators chose some favorite, but obscure, movies to present during the 2005 film series. Major underwriting for the film series is provided by the Douglas Theatre Company. The films are shown free of charge at the Nebraska State Historical Society's Museum of Nebraska History, 15th and P Streets, Lincoln, at 1:30 p.m. Mark your calendar and join us for the final film of the series.

March 6: The President's Analyst (1967) As secret headshrinker to the President, James Coburn becomes increasingly paranoid in this wicked satire.

New Faces

Paul Carney, library/archives

Judy Foreman, library/archives

Will Gustafson, museum

Jamie Tallman, research and publications

Pages in History to Meet

Anyone who loves literature about Nebraska and the West is invited to participate in the Nebraska State Historical Society's new Pages in History series. "What we are going to do is read some great literature about our past, and relate the discussion to the collections, staff, and other resources of the NSHS, according to Volunteer Coordinator Deb McWilliams. Volunteers, NSHS members, staff, and the public, are welcome.

Pages in History will meet in the auditorium at the Nebraska State Historical Society's Museum of Nebraska History, 15th and P Streets at 2:00 p.m. Dates and topics for the upcoming discussions are as follows:

March 24: Happy as a Big Sunflower: Adventures in the West, 1876-1880, by Rolf Johnson, edited by Richard E. Jensen. Rolf Johnson's diaries of the settlement in Phelps County and travels in the West.

April 28: Fort Robinson and the American West: 1874-1899, by Thomas R. Buecker. Drawing from government records, reports, correspondence, and reminiscences, the book details the fort's role during the Indian wars and as the home of the black cavalry (buffalo soldiers).

Books may be purchased at the NSHS Museum Store at 15th and P Streets, Lincoln, checked out from your local library, or purchased from other bookstores. Please contact the NSHS at 471-3272 if you have questions or plan to attend.

U.S. Poet Laureate Featured in Display

Nebraska poet Ted Kooser, the thirteenth Poet Laureate Consultant to the Library of Congress, and his works are featured in a colorful kiosk on display, March 27-April 8, at the Nebraska State Historical Society's Museum of Nebraska History in Lincoln. The kiosk introduces viewers to Kooser's writing and describes his responsibilities as the nation's Poet Laureate.

The kiosk is one of two jointly developed by the Lincoln City Library Foundation, the Nebraska Literary Heritage Association, and the Friends of the Libraries of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Kooser was the founding president of the Nebraska Literary Heritage Association, a group that supports the Jane Pope Geske Heritage Room of Nebraska Authors, housed on the third floor of Bennett Martin Public Library in Lincoln.

One kiosk will travel to each Lincoln public library location during the next several months. The second kiosk, will be displayed at sites throughout the capital city, including the Nebraska State Historical Society's Museum of Nebraska History at Fifteenth and P streets, Lincoln, March 27-April 8.

For more information about the kiosks, please contact the Lincoln City Library Foundation at 441-0164.

Brown Bag Lectures on TV

The Brown Bag Lecture Series (a history forum) is presented on the third Thursday of each month, at noon, in the Blackman auditorium, Museum of Nebraska History, 15th and P Streets (131 Centennial Mall North), Lincoln. Bring your lunch and enjoy the lecture! The March and April programs are as follows:

March 17: Gerald R. Ford Conservation Center staff, Topics in Conservation
Join staff members from the Nebraska State Historical Society's Gerald R. Ford Conservation Center for topical information about conservation projects in the state.

April 21: Larry Walklin, Nebraska Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame
Professor Larry Walklin of the College of Journalism and Mass Communication, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, will provide a perspective on the history of broadcasting in Nebraska through information about important on-air personalities and decision makers who have been recognized with membership in the Nebraska Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame.

If you are unable to attend the lectures at the museum, catch the series as it is broadcast each month on Lincoln Cablevision Channel 5. Lectures are televised the month following the original presentation. The history forum lecture series is broadcast on Mondays at 5:30 p.m., Thursdays at noon and 11:30 p.m., Fridays at 9:30 p.m., and Sundays at 6:00 p.m.

The lectures are also being broadcast in Omaha on public access Channel 23 and Cox's new digital Channel 802. The lectures air on Cox Channel 23 at 3:00 p.m. on the second and fourth Fridays of each month, followed by five days of broadcast on Digital 802.

Funding for the filming of the Brown Bag Lecture Series is provided by the Nebraska State Historical Society Foundation.

Calendar *


March 17: Brown Bag Lecture, 12:00 noon

March 24: Pages in History, 2:00 p.m.


April 8: NSHS Board of Trustees Meeting, Lincoln

April 21: Brown Bag Lecture, 12:00 noon

April 28: Pages in History, 2:00 p.m.

* Calendar events held at the Museum of Nebraska History, Lincoln

Indian on horseback logo  IDEAS from the MUSEUM STORE
to Celebrate Nebraska's Birthday
and Arbor Day

 Nebraska Stickers. Twelve stickers of Nebraska state symbols with historical description on the reverse side.

 Nebraska Flag. Four-by-five-inch desk size (with stand).

 Nebraska and Kansas Territory Map. Approximate size, thirty-one by twenty-two inches. A full-color reproduction of the first published map of Nebraska and Kansas territories.

 Pride in Our Hometowns: Portraits of Nebraska, Great Places To Live, Fun Places to Visit! Includes twenty-two communities across Nebraska; produced as a cooperative effort by the newspapers that serve these communities.

 Trees: Fandex Family Field Guide. Features North America's forest and backyard trees; die-cut visual with description.

 Backyard Explorer Kit: Leaf Collecting, by Rona Beame. Kit includes collecting envelope, leaf album, and Leaf and Tree Guide. Ages 6 - 12.

 Champion of Arbor Day: J. Sterling Morton, by Sandy Beaty and J. L. Wilkerson. Ages 8 - 12.

MUSEUM of NEBRASKA HISTORY, 15th & "P" Streets, 402-471-3447
10:00 - 4:30, Tuesday - Friday
1:00 - 4:00, Saturday and Sunday
Museum Store Catalog online

"The Nebraska State Historical Society collects, preserves, and opens to all, the histories we share."

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 11 February 2005

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