When Joslyn Art Museum opened in 1931, more than 25,000 people lined up to see the exhibits. It had taken three years of construction and $3 million to create the splendid art-deco building, which was inlaid with more than 38 types of marble imported from around the world. The force behind this enormous effort was philanthropist Sarah Joslyn, who had the building built in honor of her late husband. But instead of standing front and center, Sarah quietly mixed in with the crowd. "I am just one of the public," she said to people who recognized her.
Sarah truly viewed the museum as a gift to the people of Omaha. With the 58,000-square-foot addition of the Walter & Suzanne Scott Pavilion, a sculpture garden, and other enhancements, the museum has grown with time. Visitors today find more than 11,000 works of art inside, with collections and exhibitions that include pieces of ancient Greek pottery, Renaissance and Baroque paintings by Titian and El Greco, and Impressionist works by Camille Pissarro, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, and Claude Monet.
After admiring the peasant portraiture of 19th-century French realist Jules Breton, guests can cartwheel over to a collection of 18th- and 19th-century American artwork, which includes portraits by James Peale and landscape images by Thomas Cole. Pieces from the 20th century from artists such as Grant Wood transition visitors into viewings of more contemporary works or attempts to find a 3-D Magic Eye picture in Jackson Pollock's Galaxy.
When you enter one of the Douglas County Historical Society's buildings, don't be surprised if your skin turns sepia, because stepping inside is like stepping back in time. The 501(c)3 non-profit organization strives to collect, preserve, and share with the public all aspects of Douglas County history, including over six million paper-based artifacts in the Library Archives Center. Amongst the non-paper attractions is the General Crook House Museum: the authentically-restored 1879 home of General George Crook, features Victorian furnishings and heirloom gardens. Just north of the Crook House is the Library Archives Center, which is open to the public, and includes documents, newspapers, photographs, artifacts, and maps relating to the history of Douglas County and Omaha.
Thirty-seven years before taking over The Tonight Show from Jack Paar, Johnny Carson was born in a humble one-story home in Corning, Iowa, the county seat of the least populated county in Iowa, on October 23, 1925. After studying radio and speech at the University of Nebraska, he honed his comedic chops writing for Red Skelton before forever reshaping late-night television. The recipient of numerous awards, including a Peabody and Presidential Medal of Freedom, and named the Greatest TV Icon by Entertainment Weekly and TV Land, Johnny remained on The Tonight Show until 1992, when his final episode drew in nearly 50 million viewers. Highlights from his Tonight Show tenure play on a TV inside his family's restored home, where visitors can explore the various rooms of Johnny's childhood.
Angie Lewis never considered herself an artist. When she first began dabbling with paint, she found herself overwhelmed by choices. After fretting over what paintbrush to use and what brand of paint to buy, she eventually gave up and stuffed her art supplies—and her creativity—in the back of her closet.
They remained there until one day, while visiting friends in Denver, Angie attended an "entertainment-style" art class. It had music, wine, and a casual "it's OK to mess up" vibe, and Angie knew she just had to bring the concept home with her to Nebraska. And thus The Corky Canvas was born, a place where friends and artists of all skill levels gather with paintbrushes in one hand, and wine glasses in the other. At two Corky Canvas locations, Angie and her team of instructors lead groups through nightly featured painting, private parties, team buildings, and more. Painters are always welcome to change the colors of their class's suggested design, or to even paint something new entirely, following the whims of their creative spirits.
Abendmusik brings carefully curated musical programs to the elegant confines of the First-Plymouth Church, constructed to echo the styles of early basilica churches and the architectural traditions of Nebraska. A 16-sided carillon tower rises 171 feet above the prairie, welcoming visitors with the chiming of its 48 bells and the soft glow of its custom brick face. Installed in 1998, the monumental Lied Chancel organ's 6,000 pipes can resound with contrapuntal opulence or delicately accompany quiet choral pieces, muffling sounds with finely calibrated expression boxes and the shushing of specially appointed librarians.
Perhaps one of the best words to sum up winemaker Orville A. Gertsch's method is patience. In 1996, he decided to turn his winemaking hobby into a profession, and planted his first vines the following year. And yet it wasn't until the 2001 harvest that Orville was ready to push his wine into full retail production. That same year, he registered his operation's name: Prime Country Winery.
Though he handed the managerial reins to his son Fred in 2002, Orville still draws from more than 30 years of experience to produce a range of handmade red, white, and blush wines. He and his staff use only the grapes they harvest on their own Denton vineyard, a decision central to their mission and to ensuring none of the grapes are actually tiny spy cameras. They pick all of their plantings by hand, and rack—rather than filter and pump—the must, a labor-intensive process that Orville finds infinitely more rewarding. Using these old-fashioned, chemical-free processing techniques in tandem with modern steel equipment, Prime Country Winery fills its tasting room with craft wines ranging from dry to sweet.