Stuhr Museum – Grand Island, Nebraska

When looking for a way to experience the good old days, Stuhr Museum of the Prairie Pioneer offers just that, referred to by Good Housekeeping Magazine as “one of the top 10 places to relive America’s past.” In business for forty years, this museum offers a unique look at the prairie communities from the 1840s through 1920. Henry Fonda once referred to the museum, which includes the cottage where he was born, by saying it was where “Nebraska’s pioneer heritage lives for tomorrow.”

Peter Stuhr was one of the first German immigrants to settle into Hall County. His family lived in what is now the city of Grand Island, and in 1878 his son Leo was born. After attending the University of Nebraska, Leo was employed with the American Crystal Sugar Company. Later taking over the family’s interests in farming, Leo then turned to politics, serving in Nebraska’s House of Representatives, as the state’s first Secretary of Agriculture, and as a member of President Hoover’s Federal Farm Board. As a founder of the Hall County History Society, Peter donated $25,000 and 35 acres to build a county museum in 1960, and died just one year later.

While a portion of the museum is only open during summer months, the Stuhr Building and Gus Fonner Memorial Rotunda are open year round. Inside the Stuhr Building you will be able to follow the pioneer lifestyles through the years, seeing period rooms, tools, and household items. The Rotunda incorporates a wagon wheel floor plan and houses the museum’s Native American artifacts and exhibits, as it shows the cultural differences of the Native Americans and pioneers.

The cornerstone of the portion of the museum open during the summer is Railroad Town, with sixty shops, homes, and barns. Period clothing is worn by the townspeople as they live their lives just as they would if they were living in the 1890s, with hands-on activities allowing visitors to experience the same, be it in the blacksmith shop or the post office. Also open are the Antique Farm Machinery and Auto Exhibit and Pawnee Earth Lodge.

The museum fills its yearly calendar with special events, and perhaps the one looked forward to the most is the Annual Christmas Past & Present exhibit. Adults pay $5.00 and children 5 through 12 pay $3, while they examine firsthand the differences in how Christmas was celebrated in the pioneer days and how it is celebrated today. Christmas of the past includes holiday hats at Amanda Glade Millinery & Dressmaking and Miss Vollnogle getting the paper strips ready for kids to make paper chains to decorate the tree at Peters School. Present day Christmas includes a Christmas tree decorating contest, visit with Santa, and live contemporary holiday music.

Children are always special at the Stuhr Museum with several grade appropriate field trips available with themes such as Families on the Farm and Early Transportation. Summer School classes are offered with subjects such as Pioneer Living and Overland Trails. The facilities are also available for party rental with the Railroad Town Gazebo and Immanuel Evangelical Lutheran Church being exceptional choices for weddings.

The indoor facilities are open year round, yet closed on holidays, Monday through Saturday 9:00 AM through 5:00 PM, and Sundays noon through 5:00 PM. During the summer months Railroad Town opens at 10:00 AM, the Farm Machinery & Building is open 10:00 to 11:00 AM and 2:00 to 3:00 PM, and the Pawnee Earth Lodge is open during weekends. The winter admission is $6.00 for adults, $5.00 for seniors, and $4.00 for children 7 through 12, with 6 and under being free. The summer admission is $8.00 for adults, $7.00 for seniors, and $6.00 for children 7 through 12, with 6 and under being free.

Stuhr Museum
3133 West Hwy 34
Grand Island, NE 68801

Phone (308) 385-5316

Stuhr Museum – Grand Island, Nebraska