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Stuhr Museum preserves legacy of pioneers

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Railroad Town sign, Stuhr Museum of the Prairie Pioneer, Grand Island, Neb.

Photo: Stuhr Museum of the Prairie Pioneer Railroad Town sign, Stuhr Museum of the Prairie Pioneer, Grand Island, Neb.

A 200-acre campus boasting spectacular architecture, gardens and inspiring exhibits, Stuhr Museum of the Prairie Pioneer in Grand Island tells the story of the first pioneers who settled the area. Groups are welcomed to schedule programs, guides and entertainment.

“We tell the story of townbuilding through interpretation, which means we have an 1890s community on our grounds, complete with historic homes and businesses, and staffed by costumed interpreters five months out of the year,” said Mike Bockoven, director of marketing and public relations at the museum. “When our Railroad Town is open, there’s not an experience like it in the entire state.”

From May 1 through Labor Day, Railroad Town is where living historians interpret life in homes and businesses, but they’re never too busy to stop and talk about the town and their time. This year, Railroad Town will interpret life during the year 1898.

On the museum’s website, a special events calendar lists scheduled activities. Each visit to the museum is unique, as the exhibits and events change so frequently.

Pioneer tool, Stuhr Museum of the Prairie Pioneer, Grand Island, Neb.

Photo: Stuhr Museum of the Prairie Pioneer Pioneer tool, Stuhr Museum of the Prairie Pioneer, Grand Island, Neb.

“The size of the museum surprises a lot of people, as does the scope of what we are able to do with that space,” Bockover said. “Our Railroad Town is only part of what you can see at the museum. Also, our main Stuhr Building, designed by renowned architected Edward Durell Stone, is one of the most important pieces of architecture between Lincoln and Denver.”

Following a $7 million capital campaign, the Stuhr Building was restored in 2014 and 2015, returning the interior space to the architect’s original vision.

“Our sincerest hope is that visitors come away with a better understanding of what life was like in the 1890s, when the first communities in Nebraska were beginning to thrive,” Bockoven said. “Experiences like walking the wooden planks of Railroad Town, seeing the historic homes in their old grandeur, hearing the clang of the anvil as the blacksmith goes about his work, all add up to experiencing this era instead of just learning about it.”

For more information, call 308-385-5316 or visit stuhrmuseum.org.

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About Author

Cortney Erndt, Associate Editor

Cortney Erndt oversees Student Group Tour magazine and contributes to all Group Tour Media publications, online and in print. She has an affinity for adventure travel; find her on a sky ledge — maybe sky diving — and reporting on it. Her favorite destinations connect cityscapes with captivating culture and good coffee.

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