Keeping history alive in Butte

Pure Nebraska
Published: Aug. 24, 2023 at 11:53 AM CDT|Updated: Aug. 24, 2023 at 12:10 PM CDT
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BUTTE, Neb. (KOLN) - The Butte Historical Museum is a unique place to visit, because of the artifacts inside, and also because it’s inside a former parochial school built in the early 1900s.

We visited with Museum director Britanie Brewster to learn more. “This was built in 1909,” Brewster said. “They boarded kids and nuns. It’s technically four stories if you count the basement. It closed in 1968. In 1990, it was purchased from the archdiocese for one dollar by the town of Butte. We had several people in the community who turned it into a museum. It was started by Margaret Honke and Mardell Schroeder. Three years ago, I was asked to take over. I truly enjoy doing this.”

Brewster says she has a number of interesting displays in the museum. “I have the very first ballot box from Boyd County,” Brewster said. “I have an embalming table, I have baseball uniforms, and trophies from Butte High School. We also have the rock collection of Oscar Peterson. He lived in Butte, but traveled across the country and collected various rocks. When he passed away, his rocks were donated to the museum so everyone could enjoy them.”

“My grandma helped start this museum,” Brewster said. “I actually scrubbed the floors this morning before you got here, so we’ve been working really hard. It looks phenomenal. The history in here is crazy. I’ve had high school girls come here to help me, and we have every Butte Gazette, from the very first one to the 1990s. I took the girls out to dinner after we got done working, and they were amazed to see those newspapers went back 130 years. My niece decorated the desk in the World War II room. The typewriter is actually from Germany. Someone who went over there wrote letters on it to his wife. When he came home, he brought the typewriter with him, so you can see that. The building is incredible, and was actually designed by an apprentice of Frank Lloyd Wright.”

If you would like to visit the Butte Historical Museum, it’s typically open on every other Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. But you can contact Britanie Brewster anytime and she will be happy to open up the museum for you.