The Plainsman Museum – Aurora, Nebraska

The Plainsman Museum – Aurora, Nebraska

Are you interested in the history of Hamilton County, Nebraska from the time between 1860 and 1950?  A great place to look at what life was like during this time frame is at the Plainsman Museum in Aurora, Nebraska.  Here you wil be able to see displays of artifacts, illustrations and works and learn about the time.

Inside the Museum you will be able to visit an original log cabin and an authentic sod house!  You will be able to get an up close look at what life was like for the settlers of the region.  You probably read about shoddy’s in school and you’ve seen log cabins in pictures and movies, but have you ever really seen how small they are and how crude the living conditions that the settlers had to live in when they came to this area of the state?

There are some unique exhibits that you will truly enjoy seeing including the turn-of-the -century and Victorian period rooms leading to the Main Street, Aurora boardwalk exhibits.  You will be able to go inside the shops and view the goods of the 19th century life.  You will be able to put a quarter into the player pianos that are on display and listen to the music of the 19th century.  If you have never heard a player piano you will be amazed by the quality and variety of music available.

You will be able to view the Dick Saathoff Civil War Collection, the William Townsely Wildlife Collection, a 1946 working Wurlitzer jukebox, several antique automobiles and the Doris Lord Doll Collection.

In the Plainsman Agricultural Building you will learn about the farm life from the 1880’s to the 1950’s.  You will see the machinery, implements, tractors, automobiles and household goods all on display.  There is also a toy collection from the time that is something everyone enjoys.  The Marion Salmon and Willis Ackerson collections feature John Deere and Caterpillar metal toys, a tractor seat collection and the first ship of the Nebraska Navy (did you know that Nebraska had a Navy?)

There is an actual house and farmstead inside the Agricultural building.  The house belonged to the John Lulow family who were in the area in the late 1880’s.  The section is closed to the public form November 1 to April 1.

Visit the one room school that is on display at the Museum.  In 1900 there were over 200,000 of these in the country by 1981 there were only 1000 left that were still in use.
The District 66 School, also known as the Fairview, was one of these schools.  The information you will be able to see and read about while touring this building will be truly interesting so don’t miss it.

Visit the Bates house too while you are there.  The house was once owned by General Delevan Bates who was one of the commanders of the all-black regiments of the Civil War.  You will be able to see how the house would have looked while the family lived there.  This exhibit is also closed from November 1 to April 1.

At the Museum there is also a Blacksmith Shop for you to see and on special occasions and events you can see demonstrations.  You can also see a caboose that is undergoing renovations but it will be house to the Plainsman Museum’s rail road exhibit.  It will only be open for special occasions until restoration is complete.