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.
During its annual art auction, Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts fills its underground gallery and first-floor gala space with 444 creative projects from more than 250 local, national, and international artists. On both days, guests can bid live, silently, or telepathically for artwork, which includes everything from stark landscape photos taken by Omaha-based Robert N. Gilmer to bead-adorned Third Eye Dolls from Oakland, California native Flo Oy Wong to frenetic oil paintings from German-born Wolfgang Faller. All funds raised during the auction will go to the Bemis Center, supporting the organization's artist-in-residence, exhibitions and community arts programs.
Experience the history of Omaha by strolling through the many exhibits at the Durham Museum. Go back to a bygone era as you enter the Omaha’s Union Station for an educational day. This station turned museum is now home to permanent exhibits such as the Baright Home and Family Gallery (where you see how blue-collar families lived over 100 years ago) and the Trish and Dick Davidson gallery (here you can explore a variety of trains). They also host intriguing traveling exhibits throughout the year. To finish the day on an extra sweet note, stop by the Union Station’s original Soda Fountain. You can try an old-fashioned soda from the fountain dispenser or a classic milk shake. They also serve all beef hot-dogs and freshly made sandwiches for lunch. And don’t forget about the old-fashion candy shop that has a variety of hard-to-find treats.
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.
General Crook House Museum is part of the Douglas County Historical Society and provides much of the history of the area to local residents and curious individuals. They also offer a number of educational programs. As a non-profit organization, the museum is supported by interested parties and concerned citizens. The have annual fund-raising events, but also receive support from membership dues and grants. The goal of the organization is to preserve and protect the history of Douglas County, Nebraska. They send out a quarterly newsletter called “The Banner”. The museum offers numerous educational opportunities including exhibits and seminars. The General Crook House Museum was built in 1879 and was the residence of General Crook, a civil war hero.
Looking for a fun time kids will love (and even grownups too)? Omaha Children's Museum is where it's at. Since the nation bi-centennial (1976 for those who forgot), this mecca has provided a wealth of entertaining and educational delights. Patrons can engage in a multitude of hands-on exhibits, programs, workshops, presentations and special events. Children can find out how the world works through both traveling exhibits and permanent ones, like the Creative Arts Center, Fantastic Future Me or Sandy's Splish Splash Garden (during summer months). Leave those tedious science lectures behind and jump into the fun at Omaha Children's Museum.