Official Nebraska Government Website Nebraska State Historical Society

NSHS Volunteer News

May/June 2001

Volunteer Appreciation at Wyuka

The NSHS invites all volunteers to an appreciation on Wednesday, May 9, at Wyuka Cemetery, 3600 O Street, Lincoln. The event will begin at 2:00 p.m., with a historic walking tour of the cemetery, presented by Ed Zimmer, historic preservation planner, Lincoln Planning Department. An ice cream social will follow the tour. We suggest you wear comfortable shoes.

Our sincerest thanks to the many volunteers who make our spring tour seasons, summer workshops, patron service, research projects, data entry projects, and everything you do, such a success! We absolutely could not undertake all of these activities without you! Your continued support in assisting us to fulfill our mission to "safeguard and interpret Nebraska's past" is very much appreciated. We can't tell you enough how much you mean to us.

The volunteer appreciation event is an opportunity for us to congratulate and thank you, the NSHS volunteers, for all that you do. Please RSVP to 402-471-4955.

Volunteer Program Postponed

The volunteer program that was originally scheduled for May 9 has been postponed. It has been replaced with the volunteer appreciation event. The May 9 volunteer program was to feature the National Register of Historic Places, and will be rescheduled at another time. We hope this hasn't caused any inconvenience. Please plan to attend the May 9 volunteer appreciation (see article above).

Historical Society to Host Orphan Train Reunion

The Nebraska Orphan Train Riders Reunion, sponsored by the Nebraska State Historical Society, is scheduled for May 4-5, in Lincoln. Orphan train riders, their descendants and families, friends, and other interested persons are invited to attend and celebrate the Nebraska "placing out" experience. Reunion events will be held at the Airport Ramada Inn, 1101 West Bond Street; and at the Nebraska State Historical Society's Museum of Nebraska History, 15th and P streets.

From 1854 to 1929, more than 200,000 homeless and orphaned children were sent west from New York City on special trains, for adoption by families in Midwestern and Western states. The New York Foundling Hospital, the Children's Aid Society, and the Catholic and Methodist churches sponsored these orphan trains.

Reunion presentations will include: "From Moses to the Internet: Adoption Policies Then and Now," by adoption specialist Mary Dyer; a history of the Orphan Train Heritage Society, by heritage society director Mary Ellen Johnson; The Story of the Orphan Trains, a one-woman show by Pippa White of Lincoln; and Barbara Grooman, author of Trains to Red Cloud, discussing the experiences of her great uncle, who was placed with a family in Red Cloud, Nebraska.

In addition to the formal program there will be time for storytelling and fellowship. Especially encouraged to attend the reunion are orphan train riders placed with Nebraska families, but now residing in other states, and their descendants. A small exhibit of orphan train-related materials will be on display at the Museum of Nebraska History, 15th and P streets, Lincoln, May 1-31, 2001.

Reunion events begin with registration from 3-5 p.m. on Friday, May 4, at the Airport Ramada Inn in Lincoln. Presentations will be held during the evening at the motel. On Saturday, May 5, events begin with registration at 8 a.m. at the Museum of Nebraska History, and continue at the Airport Ramada Inn in the afternoon. For more information on the Orphan Train Riders Reunion, or for a complete reunion program, contact John Schleicher at the Nebraska State Historical Society, 402-471-8203, or toll-free, 800-833-6747, or by email at

Did You Know. . .

That historians make mistakes? The last volunteer newsletter included my little story about how Nebraska had four governors in the same year, 1861. I said that Governor Samuel Black resigned February 24, 1861, and Territorial Secretary J. Sterling Morton became acting governor. I was basing that conclusion on the dates of service for territorial governors and acting governors as given in the Nebraska Blue Book. There's a lesson there, too. Don't accept something as true just because it's printed in a book.

While Black evidently tendered his resignation on February 24, he continued to serve as governor and did not leave the Nebraska Territory until May 1861, when his successor, Alvin Saunders, arrived to replace him. These facts are documented in the Nebraska City News of May 18, 1861, which reported on a farewell banquet attended by both Black and Saunders. Black also issued an April 30 proclamation organizing the Nebraska militia for future service. Because he was present, there would have been no need for Secretary Morton to serve as acting governor. Records of the Nebraska Territory show that Morton would not have been available to serve as acting governor for a period after February 24. He thought he had been elected as territorial delegate, and was in Washington, D.C. from early February through early March preparing to take his seat in Congress. Morton never gained the seat, however, when his opponent, Samuel G. Daily, contested the election. But that's another story.

In conclusion, the Nebraska Blue Book is wrong, and by relying on it and not checking the primary documents, my story of four governors in the same year was also wrong. It would appear that in 1861, Nebraska had only two governors in the same year, a situation that is not unusual in Nebraska history - Jim Potter

Learn a New Skill - Videography

See our Brown Bag lectures from a new perspective - via a video camera. Learn what goes on behind the scene during video taping of our Brown Bag lectures by joining the video crew. We need volunteers to work as camera operators for both the NSHS and Preservation Association of Lincoln lectures.

The NSHS Brown Bag lectures are scheduled on the third Thursday of the month and the Preservation Association of Lincoln (PAL) Brown Bags are on the second Tuesday. Both lecture series are presented in the Elmer E. Blackman Auditorium at the Museum of Nebraska History, 15th and P streets, Lincoln, from noon to one o'clock. After training you select the dates for which you will volunteer. The lectures are aired by Lincoln Cablevision on government public access channel five and also loaned on video tape to people through the Museum of Nebraska History.

Volunteers for the television crew will be trained by staff of the Citizen Information Center of Lincoln. The Citizen Information Center provides the mobile studio and camera equipment used to produce the video tapes aired on television. Contact Richard Spencer at 402-471-4756 for more information.

Cushman motorscooter illustration Cushman Celebrates Centennial

What famous Nebraska product turns one hundred this year? If you guessed the Cushman engine, you're right. In 1901 cousins Everett and Clinton Cushman began constructing farm machinery and two-cycle boat engines in Lincoln. The company incorporated as Cushman Motor Works in 1913 and built a factory at 21st and X streets, its present location. The Cushman Club of America will meet in Lincoln, June 3-7, 2001, to celebrate the anniversary.

In honor of the centennial, the Museum of Nebraska History will open a small exhibit of Cushman items on June 2, 2001. Highlights of the display include a Cushman Model 52 motor scooter from about 1955 and a recently acquired Cushman motor scooters sign. The exhibit replaces A New Deal for Nebraska Artists, and continues through May 31, 2002.

May and June Brown Bag Lectures

Please join us on May 17 and June 21, for the Society's free Brown Bag lecture series at the Museum of Nebraska History, 15th and P streets, Lincoln. The lecture begins at noon ­ so bring your lunch with you!
On May 17, 2001, Mark Scherer, from the history department at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, will present "Omaha Tribe Legal Issues, 1945-1995." Tom White, editor of Nebraskaland, will present "The Khaki-Colored Caravan: 1919 Army Convoy," on June 21.

NSHS Historic Sites

Looking for something to do this summer? Has the heat and humidity got you down? Trying to break out of a rut? Visit one of the historic sites of the Nebraska State Historical Society for a refreshing change of pace. The Society's seven historic sites are prepared to offer you a cool drink of history to quench your thirst for knowledge.

Summer hours for the sites are:

Fort Robinson Museum, near Crawford:
8-5, Monday - Saturday; 1-5, Sunday,

Willa Cather State Historic Site, Red Cloud:
8-5, Monday - Saturday; 1-5, Sunday,

Thomas P. Kennard House, Lincoln:
9-12 and 1-4:30, Tuesday - Friday;
1-5, Saturday and Sunday, 402-471-4764.

Neligh Mill State Historic Site, Neligh:
8-5, Monday - Saturday; 1:30-5, Sunday,

Senator George Norris State Historic Site, McCook:
9:30-12 and 1-5, Tuesday - Saturday,

John G. Neihardt State Historic Site, Bancroft:
9-5, Monday - Saturday; 1:30-5, Sunday,

Chimney Rock National Historic Site,
south of Bayard:
9-6, Monday - Sunday, 308-586-2581.

NSHS Board Meets in June

The Nebraska State Historical Society Board of Trustees is scheduled to meet June 22, 2001, at 10:00 a.m., at the Red Cloud Elementary School Library. A fifteen-member board of trustees governs the Society; twelve elected by the members of the Society, and three appointed by the governor. The board meets quarterly.

New Volunteers

David Bingell, museum collections

Laurel Janssen, museum

Carly Mannschreck, museum

Marnie Moody, museum store


May 1-31: Orphan Train Exhibit opens
Museum of Nebraska History, Lincoln, Nebraska

May 7: History Day Celebration
State Capitol Building, Lincoln, Nebraska

May 9: Volunteer Appreciation
2:00, Wyuka Cemetery, Lincoln, Nebraska

May 17: Brown Bag Lecture, "Omaha Tribe Legal Issues, 1945-1995"
12:00, Museum of Nebraska History, Lincoln, Nebraska

May 28: Memorial Day
In observance of Memorial Day, Society Headquarters offices and the Gerald R. Ford Conservation Center in Omaha will be closed Monday, May 28. The Museum of Nebraska History and the Historic Sites (except Cather and Neihardt) will be open May 28. Call for holiday hours at the Neihardt Site (888-777- 4667) and Cather Site (402-746-2653).

June 2: Cushman exhibit opens
through May 31, 2002, Museum of Nebraska History, Lincoln, Nebraska

June 21: Brown Bag Lecture, "The Khaki-Colored Caravan: 1919 Army Convoy"
12:00, Museum of Nebraska History, Lincoln, Nebraska

June 22: Board of Trustees Meeting
10:00, Red Cloud, Nebraska

July 4: Independence Day holiday
Note: In observance of Independence Day, Society Headquarters offices, the Library/Archives reference room, and the Ford Center will be closed Wednesday, July 4. The Museum of Nebraska History and the Historic Sites (except Cather and Neihardt) will be open. For holiday hours at Neihardt and Cather, call as above.

Membership Makes A Great Gift

Looking for that special gift that keeps on giving all year long? How about a Nebraska State Historical Society membership? Recipients of the gift will receive Nebraska History, a quarterly magazine devoted to the story of Nebraska's past; bimonthly newsletters; information about upcoming events; and discounts on publications and items purchased at Society museum stores.

The cost for a membership is outlined here. Membership makes a great gift, and helps the Society fulfill its mission to safeguard and interpret Nebraska's past. Thank you for joining!

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!

Volunteer News backissues


NSHS Home  |  Search  |  Index  |  Top
Last updated 19 June 2001

For questions or comments on the website itself, email
Nebraska State Historical Society - P.O. Box 82554, 1500 R Street, Lincoln, NE 68501
Nebraska State Government Homepage
 |  Website Policies  |  © 2009 All Rights Reserved