What do we do?
The Museum Collections Department is responsible for all aspects of the care, growth, research and use of the museum collection, which consists of three-dimensional objects (artifacts) and paper items.
How do we do this?
The Museum Collections Department acquires artifacts related to the history of the people of Nebraska. Artifacts are acquired primarily through donation and sometimes through purchase or bequest. For more information about donations and what we collect, please go to the policy page, or collections treasures page.
Newly donated material from the re-election campaign of Nebraska Governor Norbert Tiemann.
Once an artifact is acquired, it is processed. This entails completing written descriptions and histories of each artifact, cleaning it (if necessary), numbering it, taking a digital image of the artifact, and preparing it for storage or exhibit.
Intern processing a new donation
The Museum Collections Department also helps in the development of exhibits. Sometimes exhibits are curated by department staff. Sometimes staff help through artifact selection. The department also completes all the paperwork necessary for an object to go on exhibit and this sometimes includes artifact loans (incoming and outgoing). Objects from the museum collections are loaned to other institutions for the purpose of exhibit. Incoming loans are accepted only for specific exhibit purposes and not on long-term or permanent basis. For information about Nebraska History Museum exhibits please go to the exhibit page.
A case from the permanent exhibit "Building the State" located on the second floor of the Nebraska History Museum.
Each month the department receives dozens of inquiries. These range from requests for information about Nebraska history, information about specific artifacts, to requests to view objects that are not currently on exhibit, and much more. For contact information, please go to the contact page. For information about obtaining images or replicas of museum objects please go to obtaining images page.
In addition to dealing with exhibits, new donations, and requests, the department also cares for and preserves the artifacts that are currently on exhibit and in storage. This entails monitoring temperature, humidity and light levels, conducting further research on specific collections or artifacts, and continually improving the ways in which we house, exhibit, and treat each piece. Department staff strive to keep our procedure and policies up-to-date with the current best practices in the museum field.
Museum Collection Objects in Storage
Numerous volunteers, interns, and work-study students assist department staff in activities. In exchange for receiving their much-needed assistance, staff provide these helpful people with useful knowledge about the functions of a museum collections department. For information on volunteer and internship opportunities in the museum collections department, please go to internship and volunteer page.
Intern working on a piece from our textile collection
The core duties of our department outlined here are only part of what we do. If you have any questions about the Museum Collections Department, would like to volunteer or serve as an intern, or are interested in the museum field as a profession, please feel free to contact department staff. Current contact information is available on our contact page.
Return to Museum Collections