Our Town Holdrege: Nebraska Prairie Museum
There are many nice museums around the state of Nebraska, but you could certainly put the Nebraska Prairie Museum near the top of the list.
During a tour of the museum, we talked with director Micah Huyser. He says the Phelps County Historical Society incorporated in the 1960's, and they started out with a small building downtown. They filled that space, and in 1977, they built the first addition at its current location. From there, the building was added on another two times.
"One of the things that makes this museum fun is that there's something for everyone here," Huyser said. "If you are a farmer, you'll love the wide variety of farm equipment here. But if you don't have an interest in farm equipment, we have the story of the German prisoner-of-war camp at Atlanta, and plenty of information on just local history." The museum also features a town square, which is a replica of what Holdrege may have looked like in the late 1890's to 1900's.
The museum encountered a massive flood last summer. "On July 8, we had about 11 inches of rain in fourteen hours, and the water didn't have anywhere to go," Huyser said. He says not long after a call for help was made on Facebook, volunteers had come out of the woodwork to help with clean-up. "It was amazing," Huyser said. "We had guys from Sargent Irrigation that just showed up and they volunteered their guys. They had pumps that were helping pump water out, and they helped with pushing water." There were many other volunteers too numerous to mention that helped get the museum dry. Then, work on repairing the floor began. "That's where I had the Holdrege high school football team come and help move a lot of the furniture and things like that," Huyser said. "We wouldn't be open without the help of volunteers and donors. And to date, the flood expenses are about $117,000, but we've raised enough in contributions to cover every penny. That's something people in Phelps County can be proud of."
So, the next time you are heading to Holdrege, be sure to pull into the Nebraska Prairie Museum on the north edge of town for a great museum experience.