Travel Guides Crafted by Experienced Archaeologists & Historians

Art, History & Archaeology Sites & Museums

Part of the country’s Midwestern Heartland, Nebraska became a state in 1867. Dominated by open plains, Nebraska was once home to indigenous groups like the Omaha, Oto, Pawnee, and Oglala. Spanish claims to the region in the 18th century gave way to French control in 1800, only for the French to sell it to the United States in the 1803 Louisiana Purchase. Initially regarded largely as an area to pass through en route further west, over the course of the 19th century Nebraska saw growing numbers of European Americans settle to take up farming. In the 1870s, the U.S. government relocated many of the state’s indigenous communities to reservations in modern Oklahoma and South Dakota.

Archaeology & History Sites in Nebraska

Buffalo Bill State Historical Park

Buffalo Bill was a famous showman whose name has become synonymous with the ‘Wild West.’ In 1878 he purchased 160 acres of land west of North Platte, which became his family ranch. Now called the Buffalo Bill Ranch, it operates as a heritage attraction. Visitors can walk the grounds and enter various historic buildings on the property, including the two-story house built in 1886, which contains a period furniture and an extensive collection of Buffalo Bill memorabilia.

Chimney Rock National Historic Site

Probably the most visually dramatic location in Nebraska, Chimney Rock became a prominent landmark along the Oregon, California, and Mormon Trails during the 19th century. A visitors’ centre near the site provides more information on both the natural history of this remarkable geological feature and the importance it has had for human communities living in and traveling through Nebraska over the centuries. It has been recognised as a National Historic Site since 1956.

Fort Atkinson

Fort Atkinson on the outskirts of the city of Fort Calhoun was the first major U.S. military installation west of the Missouri River. Established in 1819, the army abandoned the site in 1827. Archaeologists excavated at the site in the 1950s. During the 1980s and 1990s, the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission built a reconstruction near the original fort. This serves as a heritage attraction, with reenactors in period costume present for part of the year.

Malcolm X Birthplace

Malcolm X was the foremost figure in the Black Power movement of the 1960s. The movement’s argument was that the civil rights campaign had failed and that African-Americans needed a more militant approach to tackling discrimination. Born in the University Hospital in Omaha, the first house he lived in is now memorialised with a plaque as the house was torn down by subsequent owners. An adjacent visitor’s centre has been established by the Malcolm X Memorial Foundation, which owns the land and is responsible for its preservation.

Scotts Bluff National Monument

Rising over 800 m above the North River Platt, Scotts Bluff was a landmark for many people, from Native Americans to emigrants following the overland trails, including the Oregon Trail. Besides the long human history the area also has significant natural and paleontological history. The Scotts Bluff National Monument has the world’s largest collection of William Henry Jackson sketches, paintings, and photographs, of which a number are on display in he visitors centre.

Museums & Art Galleries in Nebraska

Agate Fossil Beds National Monument

The Agate Fossil Beds near Harrison are an important site for North American palaeontology, being the home of Miocene deposits that contain the fossilised remains of a number of early mammal species. The onsite museum exhibits about these fossils and how they were formed, as well as the James H. Cook Collection of Lakota artifacts from the late 19th and early 20th century. Trails to the dig sites have been set up for visitors.

Homestead National Historical Park

The homestead, an isolated rural house where pioneers lived during the 19th century, has become a quintessential component of how people now imagine the American West. Learn more about the lifestyles of those who lived at such places at the Homestead National Museum of America near Beatrice. Located within a prairie landscape, this museum includes both a visitor’s centre and several historic buildings, including the timber Palmer-Epard Cabin and the redbrick Freeman School.