Current Exhibits

education alley

omaha in the anthropocene:
A learning exploration with CREIGHTON universityOmaha in the Anthropocene
Now – March 3, 2019

The “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 Creighton University Center for Undergraduate Research and Scholarship.

learn more about the anthropocene project


Omaha Union Station

Photo Archive Gallery

Jobber’s Canyon: Omaha’s Lost History

This exhibition was developed by Durham Museum intern and University of Nebraska at Omaha undergraduate, Adam Barritt.

Omaha’s “Jobbers Canyon” was a recognized historic district placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1987. It was demolished in 1988-89 to clear land for the building of the Conagra Brand’s headquarters and is to date one of the largest “lost” historic districts in United States’ history. The Nash Block Building is the last remaining structure from this iconic part of Omaha’s history.
This local focus exhibition uses images from the museum’s Photo Archive to resurrect nine of the businesses and buildings that made this area of Omaha so unique.

Photo: Jobber’s Canyon Street View | April 1929 | The Bostwick-Frohardt /KM3TV Collection
The Durham Museum Photo Archive | BF61-149

Jobber's Canyon
Intern Favorites
Our Favorites: Photo Selections by Durham Museum Interns

Did you know The Durham Museum hosts around 18 interns a year? These students come from different schools, different majors, and different backgrounds, but they do have one thing in common – they love history! As part of their time at The Durham, interns in the Curatorial department digitize photographs from our 1.1 million image Photo Archive. While all of these are unique in some way, there are a few that have made a special impression. This local focus exhibition will highlight just a few of the intern favorites and each student’s thoughts about what makes these particular images so special.

Photo: Bear Cub | March 1970 | Robert Paskach /Omaha-World Herald Collection
The Durham Museum Photo Archive | RP-35mm-2504-019

A Regency of Style


A Regency of Style: Cultural Changes in 18th and 19th Century Europe
Now – July 21, 2019

This exhibition was developed by Durham Museum intern and University of Nebraska at Omaha graduate, Mallory Boyle.

The Regency Era (1795-1830) was a time when enlightenment thought provoked lifestyle and culture changes throughout Europe. The onset of the French Revolution resulted in clothing styles changing seemingly overnight. From having an aristocratic flair to favoring the masses, women’s clothing was now tactful and practical, usually a skirt with jacket, or was inspired by classical Greco-Roman ideals, with high-waisted, natural figures in flowing fabrics. Men began wearing trousers and perfectly tailored, unadorned linen suits.

Technology and political shifts allowed people to use clothing as a form of individual expression rather than an indication of social status. Clothing choices now provided insight into both public identities and private selves. This night-and-day change sparked revolutionary thought and represented equality among people. Who would have thought clothing could be so political?

Photo: Portrait of William IV of England | 1765-1837 | The Byron Reed Collection | 25.6

Omaha LibraryFor the People of Omaha: Byron Reed and the Original Omaha Public Library
Now – July 21, 2019

This exhibition was developed by Durham Museum intern and University of Nebraska at Omaha History MA candidate, Sean Summerfelt.

The Omaha Library Association was established in 1857 when Omaha City was only a fledgling three-year-old city. Though this first association was short lived, it amassed a collection of 4,500 books. In 1877 the Omaha City Council appointed a Library Board and levied a tax to create the Omaha Public Library, which began with the same 4,500 books collected by the association.
Omaha’s first real estate agent and one of the richest men in the city, Byron Reed was very involved with the library. Upon his death in 1891, he willed land at 18th and Harney Streets to the City of Omaha to create a permanent home for the institution and to also house his collection of 17,000 rare coins, documents, and books for Omaha’s citizens. The building was designed by Omaha architect Thomas Kimball and opened its doors in 1894.

This local focus exhibition uses documents and photographs from Byron Reed’s collection to explore this iconic partnership between a philanthropic benefactor and the Omaha Public Library.

Photo: Omaha Public Library Building | 18th and Harney Streets | July 7, 1931 |
The Bostwick-Frohardt /KM3TV Collection | The Durham Museum Photo Archive | BF880-026

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