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Special Events

50 Years of Stuhr Museum

In 2017, Stuhr Museum celebrates 50 years of operation with special exhibits, events and activities that we will talk a lot about in the coming months.

The mission of Stuhr Museum is to “preserve and portray the inspiring era of the pioneer townbuilder who settled the first communities in Nebraska.” It’s a big mission and, over the years, Stuhr has fulfilled this mission in a wide variety of ways. Visitors can walk into the Fonner Rotunda and see the spurs cowboys wore while riding the plains or you can take a walk through Railroad Town and imagine yourself in the 1890’s. You can see a piece of art on the walls of the Stuhr Building and be transported or you can attend the 4th of July at Stuhr, watch the parade, and feel inspired.

The founders of the museum had a big, bold vision for their community and its history and it is our job, each and every day, to carry out that vision. As a way to reflect on our history and the past 50 years of operation, here's a timeline of Stuhr Museum's history up through the year 2000.

We're looking forward to a big, bold 2017 and hope you are able to come celebrate with us.


NOTE: This is by no means a comprehensive list. If you have something we missed, please email and we'll get it updated. 

June 1959 - Leo Stuhr challenged city council to establish museums—offered financial Assistance and Stuhr farm as location.

June 1960 - Leo Stuhr petitioned Hall County board of supervisors to put question of establishing county museum on fall ballot.

November 8, 1960 - Hall County voters approved the ballot by nearly 2:1 margin

March 1961 - Hall County board of supervisors appointed the first board of trustees for the museum

May 1, 1961 - Leo B. Stuhr elected first president of museum board

May 18, 1961 - Leo B. Stuhr passed away; left bulk of estate to museum; S. N. "Bud" Wolbach elected president of museum board at its next meeting

October 1961 - First director hired: Dr. James B. Schaeffer

December 1, 1961 - Director Schaeffer assumed position

1962 - Correspondence between museum and Edward Durell Stone began

May 1962 - Museum opened in Pathfinder Building in downtown Grand Island

Winter 1963 - Edward Durell Stone selected as architect for museum

April 22, 1963 - Ground broken for new museum on Leo Stuhr farm

April 6, 1964 - Move to new site announced in Daily Independent

June 24, 1964 - Purchase price of $70,800 approved for new site of 262 acres

by Dec. 18, 1964 - Construction of main building underway [may have been underway as early as October]

May 21, 1966 - Cornerstone laid for main building

August 2, 1966 - Deed to museum site acquired from Grand Island Industrial Corporation for $1

November 18, 1966 - Bid from Union Pacific accepted for sale of 112 acres [the old museum site] for $102,900

December 16, 1966 - Board minutes report over 14,000 items turned over to museum by the Hall County Historical Society

June 1967 - Flooding delayed opening day set for June 23-26

July 30, 1967 - Dedication ceremony

July 1968 - Antique Auto and Farm Machinery Building opened featuring John Thieszen collection

June 21, 1969 - Deed for 60-acre county park south of museum presented to the county board of supervisors

summer 1970 - Jack Learned named director

December 7, 1971 - County vote in support of museum funding

August 13, 1972 - Gateway from Grand Island Baptist College dedicated

1973 - Collections storage building constructed [bids examined November 1972; floor poured March 1973; building accepted July]

September 29, 1974 - Dedication of Mormon historical marker

1975 - Maintenance building constructed

March 1976 - Construction of gatehouse begun

late May 1976 - Railroad began operation

March 1977 - Taylor Ranch store donated

by August 25, 1977 - Museum accredited by American Association of Museums

September 25, 1977 - Gus Fonner Memorial Rotunda dedicated

April 6, 1978 - Henry Fonda visited museum

by May 16, 1978 - Addition to farm machinery building nearly completed

June 23-24, 1979 - Civil War encampment

June 21-22, 1980 - Civil War Living History weekend

1980 - Leschinsky Studio collection acquired

July 23, 1980 - Museum Foundation incorporated

June 14, 1981 - Dedication of Grand Island College memorial pillar rose garden

1982 - H.A.T.S. program started for classes at museum

December 14, 1982 - Grant of $250,000 announced from Edgar Reynolds Foundation

June 19, 1983 - Dedication of doctor's office

March 1984 - Taylor ranch store moved to grounds

[by April 1984] - Arboretum under development

November 1984 - "Schimmer's Sand Krog"--first book published by museum

1985 - "Townbuilders" book published

March 11, 1985 - Ground broken for Reynolds Center

June 8, 1986 - Dedication of Reynolds Center [Research Dept. offices were moved into the new building in February 1986]

June 1986 - Dedication of telephone office

Aug.-Sep. 1987 - Filming of "Home at Last" [aired on PBS January 10, 1988]

Summer 1988 - Taylor Ranch store/exhibit opened

Summer 1988 - First summer school classes taught

1988 - First annual "Wings Over the Platte" art exhibit

December 1988 - "Old-Fashioned Christmas" year's biggest event

July 17, 1989 - New director: Sandra Yoder

October 29, 1989 - First annual "Antique Engine and Tractor Days"

June 25, 1990 - Severe windstorm damaged trees and caused minor building damage

Summer 1990 - ETV special on "The Platte River Road" filmed

August 1990 - Hallmark Hall of Fame TV special "Sarah, Plain and Tall" filmed

October 14, 1991 - Museum property annexed by City of Grand Island

September 7, 1990 - Museum awarded the "Sower Award" by Nebraska Humanities Council

August 15, 1992 - Henry Fonda Day celebrated [Peter Fonda special guest]

March 1993 - Heavy rains brought flooding

June 23, 1993 - Severe windstorm damaged trees and structures

August 1993 - Fonda family visit

June 1994 - Filming of "My Antonia"

May 14, 1995 - Henry Fonda Rose Garden dedicated

May 5, 1996 - Dentist exhibit dedicated

June 22-23, 1996 - Civil War encampment

October 12-13, 1996 - First annual "Railroad Town Agricultural Fair"

May 3-4, 1997 - Mormon Trail encampment

1997 - Reconstructed Pawnee Earth Lodge opened as exhibit

August 2, 1997 - 30th anniversary celebration; main building re-dedicated as Stuhr Building

September 24, 1997 - 20th anniversary recognition of Fonner Memorial Rotunda

1998-1999 - Stuhr 2000 capital campaign

September 1998 - Completion of new collections storage building [collections department occupied new offices in July 2001]

October 8, 1998 - Groundbreaking for Glade Mills

October 19, 1999 - Dedication for Glade Mills

January 2000 - Taylor house moved onto grounds

August 23, 2000 - Sandi Yoder resigns as Executive Director to head Living History Farms

August 4, 2000 - Stuhr honors Bud Wolbach as he retires from the board

September 2000 - Stuhr Museum awarded the Addison E Sheldon Memorial Award by the Nebraska State Historical Society

December 2000 - Fred Goss hired as Executive Director of Stuhr Museum

April 2002 - Susan Gallagher hired as Executive Director of Stuhr Museum

January 2004 - Joe Black hired as Executive Director of Stuhr Museum

April 2004 - NETV's "American Experience" program films at Stuhr

June 2004 - Eakes Family, Windolph Family, City of Grand Island Hired Man's House moved onto the grounds

October 2004 - Stuhr wins "Outstanding Event" Award from the Nebraska Department of Travel and Tourism (Christmas Past & Present)

August 2008 - Merit Badge University comes to Stuhr

February 2009 - Stuhr releases "The Leschinsky Photographs" book

March 2009 - "Quilted Conscience" project comes to Stuhr Museum

October 2009 - Stuhr receives $500,0i00 from the Reynolds Foundation to expand administrative area

October 2009 - Gloria and S.N. "Bud" Wolbach Entry Marquee dedicated

December 2009 - Stuhr wins Hampton Inn's "Save A Landmark" competition

May 2010 - GAR Monument dedicated in Railroad Town

May 2010 - "Lest We Forget" Military Timeline hosted at Stuhr