When the 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. And for more than 80 years, they've cared for it like one. With the 58,000-square-foot addition 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.
When it was originally built as the Riviera in 1927, The Rose Theater played host to vaudeville skits, stage acts, and feature films in opulent surroundings of murals, oriental rugs, and a ceiling decorated with electric stars and clouds. However, the stock-market crash of 1929 forced the theater’s sale, bouncing it from owner to owner until Rose Blumkin and her family saved it from a giant wielding a wrecking ball as a mace. Renovated to its former glory, the theater is now a place where professional stage productions and drama courses give children the chance to enjoy and participate in the arts of the stage.
Built in 1899 as the Chicago Rock Island and Pacific Railroad Passenger Depot, the RailsWest Railroad Museum chronicles the rise of trains, tracks, and the people who operated them. Visitors can wander through the outdoor exhibit of historic railcars, which includes the 1902 Chicago Burlington & Quincy 4-6-0⎯whose loud whistle was used for communication between the engineer and caboose crew and to have meaningful conversations with goldfinches. Inside the former waiting rooms of the depot, guests can view porters’ uniforms and old ticket stubs, and children can stare agape at an HO-scale model train as it chugs through an expansive miniature landscape of green hills and brown cliffs designed by the Greater Omaha Society of Model Engineers.
Morrill Hall's exhibits showcase biodiversity, Nebraska's wildlife, paleontology, and scientific studies. With your membership, you'll receive unlimited admission to the hallowed history hall, as well as access to Ashfall Fossil Beds State Historical Park in Royal and the Trailside Museum of Natural History in Crawford. You'll also receive discounted admission to the Mueller Planetarium, 10% off gift shop purchases and themed birthday parties, and invitations to exhibit openings. Click here to see a full list of membership benefits.