Current Exhibits

American Adventure
NOW – July 29, 2018

American Adventure

Do you have what it takes to survive? Take a step back into history to find out. In 1607, settlers landed on the shores of Virginia and called it home, creating the first permanent European settlement. Little did they know that less than half of them would survive the year in this new wilderness. Minotaur Mazes’ American Adventure takes visitors on an immersive, educational role-play adventure that asks people to conquer one great challenge: survive the year as one of the original Jamestown colonists. Sound easy? Think again. Only 38 of the 104 settlers survived. But don’t worry – you’re not tied to their destiny. You can beat the odds and determine your fate – it all depends on the choices you make…and a bit of luck.

Blending historical accuracy and the complexities of real life and death decisions, American Adventure delivers a truly unique and effective learning experience. Visitors choose a unique identity of one the Jamestown colonists and track a series of life choices on an easy to use abacus representing “life points” for health, wealth, food, and morale. You have to maintain all of them to “survive” the exhibit. Visitors will encounter four content-rich “Season Galleries” and engage in hands-on activities that result in choices relevant to their character. Survival is based on visitor knowledge and ingenuity but also the abilities and priorities of chosen identity. The American Adventure experience quickly reveals the reality of what Jamestown’s settlers faced, but also how everyday decisions and interactions with the environment can be a matter of life and death. Even if you don’t survive, try again! There’s a new adventure every time you enter the exhibit!

Amercian Adventure: Programs Calendar

Pocahontas and the Powhatan Dilemma
Jul 24 @ 6:30 pm – 8:00 pm

Dr. Camilla TownsendDiffering from all previous biographers of Pocahontas, Camilla Townsend captures how similar seventeenth century Native Americans were–in the way they saw, understood, and struggled to control their world—not only to the invading British but to ourselves.
Neither naïve nor innocent, Indians like Pocahontas and her father, the powerful king Powhatan, confronted the vast might of the English with sophistication, diplomacy, and violence. Indeed, Pocahontas’s life is a testament to the subtle intelligence that Native Americans, always aware of their material disadvantages, brought against the military power of the colonizing English. Resistance, espionage, collaboration, deception: Pocahontas’s life is here shown as a road map to Native American strategies of defiance exercised in the face of overwhelming odds and in the hope for a semblance of independence worth the name.
Pocahontas emerges–as a young child on the banks of the Chesapeake, an influential noblewoman visiting a struggling Jamestown, an English gentlewoman in London–for the first time in three-dimensions; allowing us to see and sympathize with her people as never before.

Camilla Townsend is Professor of Native American History at Rutgers University in New Jersey. She is the author of numerous books, among them Pocahontas and the Powhatan Dilemma (2004) and most recently, Annals of Native America (2016). She has been a Guggenheim Fellow and this year holds a Public Scholar Award from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Reservations are required. Summer promotion! Only $5 per person; free for members. Reserve your seat online, then pay when you arrive at the event. Have questions? Call 402-444-5071 or email

Special support for this event provided by:
DAR Omaha

The Durham Museum gratefully acknowledges the partners and generous sponsors whose support have made the American Adventure exhibition possible:

Supported Locally by

Douglas County Visitor Improvement Fund


Amy L. Scott Family Foundation

Lori & David Scott Foundation

Parker Family Foundation

Media Support Provided by
Additional support provided by
DAR Omaha

Remnants of Colonial American DisplayRemnants of Colonial America Display
March 17 – July 29, 2018

After visiting American Adventure, come see objects unearthed from the original James Fort of Historic Jamestown! Trade beads made by Powhatan Indians, Venetian glass beads and Virginia-made clay pipes that bring the Old and New World together are all on display. See original documents of indentured servitude of Europeans who wished to make a new life in the colonies but had to work for their freedom. Learn the rules that governed colonial society on everything from buying salt and pepper to legal trades with local tribes.

Omaha Union Station

Fighting for the Right to Fight: African American Experiences in WWII
now – July 15, 2018

Fighting for the Right to FightIn the years leading up to World War II, racial segregation and discrimination were part of daily life for many in the United States. For most African Americans, even the most basic rights and services were fragmented or denied altogether. To be black was to know the limits of freedom—excluded from the very opportunity, equality, and justice on which the country was founded. Yet, once World War II began, thousands of African Americans rushed to enlist, intent on serving the nation that treated them as second-class citizens. They were determined to fight to preserve the freedom that they themselves had been denied.

The exhibit features artifacts, photographs and oral histories to highlight some of the extraordinary achievements and challenges of African Americans during World War II, both overseas and at home. It illustrates how hopes for securing equality inspired many to enlist, the discouraging reality of the segregated non-combat roles given to black recruits, and the continuing fight for “Double Victory” that laid the groundwork for the modern Civil Rights Movement.

Through a myriad of interactive experiences, visitors will discover the wartime stories of individual service members who took part in this journey of extraordinary challenge, from unheralded heroes to famous names, including Alex Haley (US Coast Guard); Benjamin Davis, Jr. (US Army Air Forces); Medgar Evers (US Army) and more. The centerpiece of the exhibit is an original eight-minute video about the famed 332nd Fighter Group (better known as the Tuskegee Airmen), who in many ways became the public focus of African American participation during the war. Additionally, two medals are featured that represent the seven African Americans who were awarded the Medal of Honor in 1997, the bittersweet result of a long investigation by the US military on discriminatory policies in the awarding of combat medals. The exhibit will also provide in-depth coverage of lesser-known events and service, such as that of the USS Mason, the first American ship to have a predominately African American crew.

Fighting for the Right to Fight was developed by the National WWII Museum of New Orleans, LA, and sponsored nationally by Abbott Downing and Wells Fargo. A national advisory committee, including the late Dr. Clement Alexander Price of Rutgers University, was commissioned to help frame the exhibition. The committee, led by co chairs Dr. John Morrow of the University of Georgia and Claudine Brown of the Smithsonian Institution, helped advise on the exhibition’s narrative arc and content.

Fighting for the Right to Fight: Programs Calendar

The Durham Museum gratefully acknowledges the partners and generous sponsors whose support have made the Fighting for the Right to Fight exhibition possible:

Presented by

The National WWII Museum of New Orleans

National Touring Sponsors

Abbott Downing

Wells Fargo

Supported Locally by

Mutual of Omaha Douglas County Visitor Improvement Fund

John K. and Lynne D. Boyer Family Foundation

Lincoln Financial Foundation

Media Support Provided by


Special Support Provided by

Cox Communications

Kutak Rock LLP

Omaha Union Station

velde Gallery

Women in Omaha: A Biographical Sketch of Persistence through History
NOW – July 29, 2018

Sarah Joslyn 1907The field of Women’s History expands the story of our nation’s past through exploring the role women have played in the historical record. Traditional history focuses on politics, wars, and seminal events, and oftentimes ignores women, people of color, and the mass of America’s ordinary citizens. At the same time, Western history examines the unique and complicated relationships between the people and places of the North American west.

The Durham Museum partnered with the University of Nebraska at Omaha’s History Department and Service Learning Academy to produce an immersive, interdisciplinary experience focused on Nebraska women and their experience in the Midwest for students in the spring and fall semesters of 2017. In conjunction with the curriculum of Dr. Elaine Nelson, Assistant Professor of History and Executive Director of the Western History Association, museum staff instructed UNO students on conducting oral histories, independent research related to the experience of women in the Western United States and the distillation of that research and the modern oral histories into an exhibition.


education alley

Omaha in the Anthropocene: A Learning Exploration with Creighton University
now – January 27, 2019

Omaha in the AnthropoceneThe “anthropocene” is a proposed new geological era currently under consideration by the International Commission on Stratigraphy. It makes a bold claim that humans have become a geologically significant force in earth’s history. Objects are also important material sources of these historical changes. This collaborative exhibition centers on the material history of the anthropocene using objects from the collection of The Durham Museum.

The Durham Museum partnered with Creighton University’s History Department to produce an immersive, interdisciplinary experience for students in the fall semester of 2017. In conjunction with the curriculum of Dr. Adam Sundberg, Assistant Professor of History and Digital Humanities, museum staff instructed and assisted Creighton students with independent research related to The Durham Museum’s collection, distillation of that research into a lecture presented near the end of the fall semester and an exhibition.

This exhibit is supported by Humanities Nebraska, the Nebraska Cultural Endowment, and the Center for Undergraduate Research and Scholarship at Creighton University.

Learn More about the Anthropocene project
You Are What You Eat:
Setting the Table during the Second World War
Special Online-Only Exhibition!

You Are What You Eat ExhibitDo you or your neighbors tend a vegetable garden? Do you know people who can their own preserves, follow “Meatless Mondays” or eat farm to table? During the Second World War, rationing ensured that enough food and supplies went to fighting men on the frontlines. At home, new solutions were created in the kitchen to support the need. The war brought changes to the Omaha kitchen, including many modern urban farming trends. While today this food-based activism is a lifestyle choice, these methods were made necessary in the 1940s by a war that rationed everything from sugar and butter to flour and meat. The war changed America’s diet and what you ate became a patriotic statement.
Pictured: Margaret Brown with canning jars | 1938 | John Savage Collection | The Durham Museum Photo Archive | JS30B-732B


Photo Archive Gallery

North Omaha: A Community of ChangeNorth Omaha Exhibit
Now – January 2019

North Omaha is one of many distinct neighborhoods whose people contributed to the development of the city at large. While the borders of North Omaha are not firmly established, Florence, the Near North Side, Kountze Place and Walnut Hill are areas found within its boundary. From the earliest pioneers, this area has been a hub of development. Many of Omaha’s community leaders came from this neighborhood, like Mildred Brown, who in 1938 co-founded the Omaha Star, an African American newspaper still in circulation today. North Omaha served as the stage for the Trans-Mississippi Exposition in 1898 whose exhibitions and structures rivaled any World’s Fair and placed Omaha on the international map. Through a selection of images from the Photo Archive this display showcases some of the remarkable people, places and events from North Omaha.

Airmail in Omahaairmail in Omaha
Now – January 2019

The United States Postal Service is celebrating the 100th anniversary of air mail service and Omaha was a midway stop along the route. Pilots flew in teams to relay mail across the country for round-the-clock service. Before mail took flight it was sent by train and going airborne sped up the process of delivery by nearly a full day! Photographs from The Durham’s Photo Archive will showcase our city’s role in completing the transcontinental mail service.


Byron Reed Gallery

Master of the Lodge
NOW – september 2, 2018

Byron Reed rose through the ranks as a member of the Freemasons. The Masons are a fraternal organization based on the bonds of brotherhood and civic leadership. Freemasonry spread westward across the plains with settlers like Reed, and as a philanthropist, community leader and lifelong learner, his collection reflects the importance of the organization in his life. Reed’s books on secret rites, ceremonies and coded language offer a glimpse into his secret journey from Entered Apprentice to Knight Templar.