Encyclopedia of the Great Plains

David J. Wishart, Editor


The Center for Great Plains Studies at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln is the oldest and largest interdisciplinary regional research and teaching center in the United States. It was founded by Paul A. Olson and chartered in 1976 by the board of regents of the University of Nebraska. Two grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities and many donations received through the University of Nebraska Foundation financed the center's beginnings. Continued support is provided by the Friends of the Center for Great Plains Studies. The purpose of the center is to foster the study of people and the environment in the Great Plains. The center's activities embrace the three-part mission of education, research, and service of a comprehensive landgrant university. The center is administered in the College of Arts and Sciences.

The center's Great Plains Art Collection includes significant paintings, sculptures, and photographs of the region and the American West and a library of western Americana. Several exhibits each year feature portions of the twelve-million-dollar permanent collection as well as works from other institutions and individuals. The exhibits are displayed in the center's Christlieb Gallery, located in Hewit Place, which was constructed in 2000.

The center has 180 fellows elected from the four campuses of the University of Nebraska. Fellows conduct research, teach, and provide service directly relating to the Great Plains. A twelve-member board of governors elected from the fellows provides advice to the center's director. Academics at other institutions may be elected as associate fellows.

Undergraduate students may major or minor in Great Plains studies, and masters and doctoral candidates may specialize in Great Plains studies. The monthly Paul A. Olson Seminars in Great Plains Studies present topics of interest to students, faculty, and members of the community. The annual symposium addresses regional topics and attracts a regional, national, and international audience. Research and creative activity includes publication of the refereed journals Great Plains Quarterly, devoted to regional essays in the humanities, and Great Plains Research, which examines the natural and social sciences. Plains Song Review publishes essays, poems, and short stories by students and regional authors. The thirteen-volume Journals of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, edited by Gary Moulton, was completed in 2001. This Encyclopedia of the Great Plains is also a project of the Center for Great Plains Studies.

UNL Center for Great Plains Studies website.

James Stubbendieck University of Nebraska-Lincoln

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