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.