Encyclopedia of the Great Plains

David J. Wishart, Editor


The Great Plains Black Museum, Omaha, Nebraska

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The Great Plains Black Museum at 2213 Lake Street in Omaha, Nebraska, has one of the largest repositories of historical materials and resources on the African American experience in the United States. The museum opened in the historic Webster Telephone Exchange building in February 1976 with more than 10,000 rare books, artifacts, magazines, documents, letters, pictures, and other memorabilia from Mrs. Bertha Calloway's private collection. The museum was also supported by a $101,000 grant from the board of the American Bicentennial Administration. Other financial support has come from private contributions, voluntary donations, and state agency grants.

From its inception, the central mission of the museum has been the preservation and enhancement of knowledge about the history and culture of African Americans in the Great Plains. Today, the museum has more than 100,000 items, displayed in several galleries, depicting the diversity of the African American experience in the region. The exhibits are grouped into several divisions, each displayed in a separate room. The military room, for example, houses pictures, clothing, correspondence, wills, medals, discharge papers, and other documents. Other divisions are devoted to African and African American arts and artifacts, African American women of the Great Plains, rare books, church and religion, and music and entertainment. There are also exhibits on African American homesteaders and a section commemorating African American political leaders in the region.

See also EDUCATION: Museums.

Daniel Boamah-Wiafe University of Nebraska at Omaha

Calloway, Bertha W., and Alonzo N. Smith. Visions of Freedom on the Great Plains: An Illustrated History of African Americans in Nebraska. Virginia Beach VA: Donning Company Publishers, 1998.

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