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Autumn Abundance

It's been a busy autumn time here at the Plainsman Museum! We are very pleased that despite the challenges we've faced in recent years, we've been able to continue sharing the history of Hamilton County, NE with those both near and far. Through the hard work of our staff, volunteers and local businesses, as well as support from members and friends, we've been able to share this abundant harvest of history with our visitors and local communities!

As the autumn season is also full of change, we too at the museum have been going through some significant changes. While our mission remains the same, we have had to adapt to the times, and have implemented some important changes to improve how we display and preserve the history of Hamilton County, NE.

Read below to see what we've been up to these last few months of the autumn season!

Back to School Luncheon - August 6

On August 6th of this year, the Plainsman Museum once again held our annual Back to School Luncheon for the staff, faculty and administrative personnel for the schools in Hamilton County, NE. The schools in attendance included Aurora Public Schools, Giltner Public Schools, Hampton Lutheran School and Hampton Public Schools. Guests were treated to a sloppy joe lunch served by student volunteers from the various schools. Students also gave short speeches to thank their teachers, school staff and administration for all they do to help students succeed. The Aurora Chamber of Commerce also gifted several Chamber Checks to guests whose candy bags were tagged with winning stickers!

Thank you to everyone who helped with this event, and thank you to all of the staff, faculty and administrative personnel who help make our Hamilton County schools a great place for students to learn and grow!

This year's Back to School Luncheon was sponsored by:

"Community Works" Exhibition - September 1-30

First unveiled back in April of this year, we were very excited to once again have our "Community Works" exhibition return for display in our main building's central rotunda throughout the month of September. The exhibit was done in collaboration with the Smithsonian Institution's Museum on Main Street program, and with support from Humanities Nebraska. "Community Works" explored the who, where, why and how of work for the last 150 years of Hamilton County's history. All of the photographs and artifacts featured in the exhibit were from the museum's collection, with the Smithsonian Institution working with our exhibition committee to set a template and script for the display.

We are very proud to have been one of ten museum selected from around the country to participate in this special program. Thank you to everyone who helped make this exhibition come to life, and we look forward to the next chance we have to feature such an amazing exhibition!

"Community Works" Exhibition Committee:

  • Brenda Klawonn

  • Kathryn Larson

  • Tina Larson

  • Bruce Ramsour

  • Jana Van Housen

  • Karrie Wiarda

A Special "Thank You" To:

  • Selwyn Ramp - Assistant Project Director for the Smithsonian's Museum on Main Street

  • Mary Yager - Associate Director for Humanities Nebraska

Additional Support Provided By:

True West Magazine & Nebraska Life Magazine - September/October

"In other news," we've been featured in both national and state publications earlier this last month! We were featured in True West Magazine's September 2021 recommended list of living history museums, and Nebraska Life Magazine's September/October issue featured an article about our "Community Works" exhibition. Be sure to check out these publications if you haven't already!

  • True West Magazine Special Collector's Edition, September 2021 info - (x)

  • Nebraska Life Magazine September/October 2021 edition info - (x)

Day on the Farm - September 12

On Sunday, September 12th, we held our biannual Day on the Farm event. The day consisted of local farmers and artisans demonstrating their trade for visitors, as well as a baked goods auction held in the afternoon. Admission to the event was free, with funds raised through the baked goods auction. Both demonstrators and visitors enjoyed this event, despite the challenges of rain earlier in the morning, and most of the agricultural building being closed off for renovations (see below for an update about the agricultural building). We had a good turnout, and had a great variety of activities for visitors to participate in!

Thank you to everyone who participated in the day's events, and to those who contributed baked goods for the auction!

Exhibit Updates

Wesley Huenefeld Agricultural Museum

^ New Ag Building Concrete & Insulation

Within the last year, we have received many questions regarding our agricultural building (from both locals and people out-of-state). Back in 2019, due to mold and air quality issues, the building had to be shutdown until a safer environment could be provided for visitors. Over the last two years, our staff, volunteers and several local businesses have been working very hard to try to make the agricultural building once again fit for exhibition. Originally, we had hoped to have the building ready to open by September of this year. However, we still have a lot more work to do before we can reopen the building for visitors.

Our current objectives to fulfill before reopening the agricultural building are:

  • Have a cleaning service vacuum the dirt and dust left from the now-removed gravel flooring

  • Seal the new concrete flooring

  • Install new air exchange units

  • Clean and arrange a new display layout for the antique farm equipment

  • Repaint and renovate the old Lulow farmhouse

  • Design and order new signage for the new displays

Needless to say, this has been a long and difficult project to tackle. However, we are determined to see it through to the end, and are very excited for the amazing agricultural exhibition this building will be in the future once it's renovations are finished!


Extension Office Exhibit

Within the last month, we've made an effort to bring more agricultural representation into the main building by moving the extension office exhibit from the agricultural building's lobby to the main street boardwalk. To do this, we converted the music shop exhibit into the extension office. We felt this move was necessary, as it would help tie the wider agricultural industry into the township setting of our main exhibit hall, and allow for tour guides to have a visual prompt by which to discuss the history of Hamilton County agriculture with visiting student groups. The exhibit looks great, and we are very excited to share it with the rest of the community!

For those of you who are fans of the music display, don't worry! We now have the musical instruments and band uniforms on display in the cases next to the extension office, just before entering the boardwalk.

Special Thanks for Helping Move and Renovate the Extension Office Exhibit:

  • Bob Cool

  • Val Oswald


Springer Radios & Appliances Exhibit

Another exhibit undergoing significant renovations in our main building is the Springer Radio & Appliances exhibit. For a long time now, the exhibit has featured a most impressive collection of vintage radios, and now we are looking to spruce it up with new shelving and a new display arrangement! Volunteers Bob Cool, Larry Bengtson, Val Oswald and Dale Saddler are leading the project as they've been taking measurements and building the new shelving themselves in the museum shop. Our office staff and volunteers will also be working to refresh artifact labels and reorganize the cataloguing for the radios within the collection.

Stay tuned-in to our website and Facebook page as we bring you updates on this exhibit's progression!


Help Us Continue to Share the County's History

If you would like to help us continue our work to improve our various exhibits, you can contribute a monetary gift via donation, or purchase a museum membership! For more information about how you can give to the museum, visit our Support and Membership pages on our website.

You may also send a check or money order directly to the museum at: 210 16th Street, Aurora, NE 68818

If you have any further questions regarding the agricultural building, or about how you can give, you may also call the museum office at: 402-694-6531

Thank you in advance for your support!


In addition to the exhibits listed above, we've also made changes here and there to other displays throughout the main building. Be sure to stop on in and see what new things we've done with how we share the abundant history of Hamilton County, NE!


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