Currently on display in our rotating gallery is a special exhibit to mark Nebraska’s 150 year legacy. Planned to be up until November 2017, the exhibit features a map display, courtesy of the Croft Brothers, a photo wall filled with historic images, and several exhibit cases which showcase artifacts and memories of Western Nebraska.
While this exhibit will be up all year, this does not mean it will not change! Come back often as the contents in the exhibit cases will be constantly changing as the year progresses!
Western Nebraska Community College’s 90th Birthday
In collaboration with Western Nebraska Community College
Western Nebraska Community College (WNCC) was not always called by that name. 90 years ago on September 13th, 1926, Scottsbluff Junior College first opened its doors and since then, the college has left an impressive mark on the North Platte Valley area. This exhibit features a timeline with ephemera, yearbooks, a video feature and a wall of well-known graduates.
This exhibit will be on display from September 11 – November 22, 2016.
Commerce and Trade on the Oregon Trail
In collaboration with Western Nebraska Community College’s History Department and Fort Laramie National Historic Site
It’s hard in today’s modern age to imagine trekking thousands of miles to find a new home in the West, but that is exactly what over half a million people did. With research by WNCC’s History class taught by Professor Brian Croft, figures have been calculated showing just how much people spent for supplies – and what those supplies would cost us today! We also have some currency as well as artifacts which would have been found along the route, sometimes discarded by families to lighten the load. Kids can try on bonnets and hats and pose for pictures in a wagon or by the large wagon wheel.
The Way We Worked
Sponsored by the Smithsonian’s “Museum on Main Street” program and Humanities Nebraska
With their hands and minds hard at work and sweat on their brows, American workers perform a diverse array of jobs to power our society. Whether we work for professional satisfaction and personal growth or to ensure the well-being of ourselves and our families, work is a part of nearly every American’s life. Office workers, factory workers, homemakers, truckers and the millions more who keep the nation going through their work make great contributions not only to industry, but also to American culture.
The diversity of the American workforce is one of its strengths, providing an opportunity to explore how people of all races and ethnicities identified commonalities and worked to knock down barriers in the professional world. And, finally, the exhibition shows how we identify with work – as individuals and as communities. Whether you live in “Steel Town, USA” or wear a uniform each day, work assigns cultural meanings and puts us and our communities in a larger context.
The Way We Worked, adapted from an original exhibition developed by the National Archives, explores how work became such a central element in American culture by tracing the many changes that affected the workforce and work environments over the past 150 years. The exhibition draws from the Archives’ rich collections to tell this compelling story.
Nebraska’s Miss America: Teresa Scanlan
How does a small-town Nebraska girl get named Miss America? Born and raised in Gering, Scanlan was named Miss America for 2011. At just 18 years old, she was the youngest winner in nearly a century. The exhibit featured clothing from Scanlan’s pageant career, along with memorabilia and gifts from her year-long reign as Miss America. In addition, the exhibit explained how Scanlan used her platform as Miss America to promote rural values. The exhibit came to Legacy of the Plains after a long run at the Nebraska State Historical Society in Lincoln.
Free Land: The Homestead Act
The Homestead Act of 1862 has been called one of the most important pieces of Legislation in the history of the United States. Signed into law in 1862 by Abraham Lincoln after the secession of southern states, this Act turned over vast amounts of the public domain to private citizens.
This panel exhibit on loan from Homestead National Monument explored the Homestead Act and its effect on the land and people of the United States.
“Barn Again! Celebrating an American Icon”
Sponsored by the Smithsonian’s “Museum on Main Street” program
Like the town hall and the skyscraper, the barn is a symbol of America. To traditional farmers, barns are the soul of the farm. To the general public, barns represent both our rural past and our agricultural present. They are monuments in the American landscape.
Nevertheless, modern barns are no longer the centers of industrial and community life they once were. Traditional barns were not designed to store the enormous machinery and harvests of today’s large-scale farms.
Barn Again! explored the barn as both a cultural and agricultural icon. It examined the building as an architectural structure and as a means of expressing beliefs about what our country was and could be. It looked at the origin and fate of the barn in its roles as warehouse, factory, and legend.
Sponsored by the Smithsonian’s “Museum on Main Street” program
This exhibition offered a unique history of popular expectations and beliefs about the shape of things to come. Using toys, books, movie stills, World ’s Fair memorabilia, car designs, advertisements, and architectural designs, the exhibit examined ways that Americans of yesteryear envisioned the future.
Visions of the future have fluctuated between secular utopias characterized by breathtaking leaps of science and technology and urban chaos fraught with danger and disintegration. Though many of the predicted futures never came to pass, other visions still challenge our concept of the future.
Mexican American Heritage in the North Platte Valley
This exhibit featured a collection of personal artifacts and historical memorabilia from the former Mexican-American Museum in Scottsbluff, including items commonly used in a Mexican home, religious items, and photographs and paintings of famous Mexicans and Mexican Americans.
Another part of the display featured local families and provides some history about them, their culture and their contributions to the North Platte Valley.
Japanese Heritage in the North Platte Valley
This exhibit, sponsored by many of the descendants of the original Japanese settlers in the valley, highlighted unique elements of Japanese domestic culture including clothing and kitchenware.