Monthly Archives: October 2013

Preserving Patchwork: International Quilt Study Center and Museum in Lincoln, Nebraska

Quilt Building

Name/Location International Quilt Study Center and Museum 33rd & Holdrege in Lincoln, NE
Open hours/Contacts Tues.-Sat. 10-4; Summer Sundays 1-4: 402-472-6549;  Facebook
Cost Adults: $6; Children (5-18): $3; Families: $12; UNL Students/Faculty: Free
What to Know Open the first Friday of each month from 4:30-7 with free admission & activities
Group Tours T-S @ 11 a.m.; Sat. @ 1 p.m. also; Reserved Group & Educational Tours
Museum Manners NO TOUCHING the quilts; no flash photography in quilt areas
Recommended Ages Any age with supervision; Ages 5 and up will enjoy the exhibits more

Quilt 2 patch

How much piecin’ a quilt is like livin’ a life! You can give the same kind of pieces to two persons, and one will make a “nine-patch” and one’ll make a “wild goose chase, ” and there will be two quilts made out of the same kind of pieces, and jest as different as they can be. And that is jest the way with livin’. The Lord sends us the pieces, but we cut them out and put ’em together pretty much to suit ourselves, and there’s a heap more in the cuttin’ out and the sewin’ than there is in the caliker.

Eliza Calvert Hall in “Aunt Jane of Kentucky”

The first time I went into this museum, I knew this was a Nebraska Treasure.  And this was even before they moved into the building that they are in now – the glass masterpiece that houses the world’s largest and longest dating collection of quilts.  You see, my paternal grandmother was a quilter.  While I definitely lack the sewing gene, I have a deep appreciation for those who can do handiwork.   (My poor skills are evidenced in the “repairs” that I have attempted on various items of clothing  And this is after attempting home economics several times!)  But, quilts evoke cozy memories, and I am so thankful that my grandmother’s quilts remain even as she no longer is with us.  I also have a special quilting story on my maternal side that I am planning to write more about soon!  Suffice it to say, I am grateful for the efforts of those who strive to preserve this important part of history.

Quilts 5 purposes arch

The International Quilt Study Center and Museum has been developed with five purposes in mind.

1)Collecting 2) Preserving 3) Studying 4) Exhibiting 5) Discovering

Quilts 5 purposes posters

There is a display that explains the details of what each area encompasses.

To protect the quilts, each exhibit only lasts for several months.  Although the quilts are carefully protected, too much exposure can weaken them.

Quilt Displays

These are the three exhibits that are on display in the three main galleries.  The exhibitions are on display for varying times.

Posing with Patchwork has to do with antique photographs that happen to contain quilts.  This is a video montage that the museum has compiled on the display.

If you thought that quilts are only for women, you were wrong.  This section is devoted to the extensive collection of Ernest B. Haight, a Nebraska engineer who did much to develop the preciseness of machine quilting.  All of my kids enjoyed this room – there is something pleasing about the geometric exactness of these quilts.

Quilt Room Displays

The last exhibit just opened recently and will last for several months.  These masterpieces need to be seen in person as pictures definitely do not tell the whole story.

Quilt Whole Story

In case you would like to know more about these fabric works of art, there is a special section devoted to what all cannot be easily seen.  In fact, the museum even offers afternoon tours specifically for this section of the museum if you arrange them at least a week in advance.

Quilt behind the scenes

If you would like to see more quilts from the museum displays of past and present, you can visit Photographs from the International Quilt Study Center and Museum.  This is truly an amazing place that everyone should experience often.  One of the goals of this museum is to be child friendly.  In an upcoming post, I will be discussing just how they go about accomplishing this.

Categories: Lincoln, Metro, Nebraska History | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Nebraska Stories: Sharing the Tales of Nebraskans

I promise that I will be posting more about quilts in the next few days.  First I am taking a quick detour.  Normally I am all about going out for adventures.  But tomorrow I am encouraging you to stay home.  Read on to find out why. 🙂 

If I admit that I really enjoy watching public television, does that officially make me old? 🙂  While we do not watch every night, when we do tune in to NET (Nebraska Educational Television), our knowledge increases (as opposed to what happens when we watch most television shows).  I have especially enjoyed the few episodes that I have watched of the show, Nebraska Stories.  Obviously learning about the people and places of Nebraska is always enjoyable for me!

So, when NET approached me about reviewing their latest show that premieres tomorrow night, November 1st,  I was happy to do so.  They combined quite diverse topics into a fluent piece.   Below is a bit about each of the four segments and my own personal take on each topic.  (The “bold” words are  the description directly from Nebraska Educational Television.  The pictures were provided from NET as well.)

DAY OF THE DEAD – Join us on Día de los Muertos as we look death in the eye with humor, music, dancing — and art.


When my kids and I studied Mexico a few years ago, I was a bit taken aback by this holiday that features skeletons.  Although the celebration date is around our Halloween, their holiday is not about creepiness but is instead about honoring ancestors.  While this may not be a holiday that is celebrated in our home, I definitely want my kids to understand the distinctness of other culture’s celebrations. This segment does an excellent job of explaining this Mexican holiday and how the day is celebrated in Nebraska.

And if you want to give your children either an introduction or a follow-up to this holiday, here are some excellent children’s picture books.

Mary Molina and the Days of the Dead by Kathleen Krull

Ghost Wings by Barbara Joose

Day of the Dead by Tony Johnston (He has several  great books about Mexican culture)

NEVER FORGET – A Holocaust education program in Omaha resurrects the music and art of a place called Terezin.

Never Forget4

My grandpa was a liberator in World War 2.  Because of the horrors of seeing those who had survived concentration camps, he did not share too many of his experiences.  But this is a part of history that we must not forget.  The Institute for Holocaust Education is the organization that leads the tours that happen at the Strategic Air and Space Museum near Ashland.  This segment provides a glimpse behind some of the excellent education that they provide to keep the stories alive.

We have a studied a bit about this topic in our homeschool.  I want my children to be aware that the world is not such a beautiful place all of the time.  But I also want them to not be scared.  Here are again some excellent books that I think help with expanding on the segment from NET.

My favorite one: Erika’s Story by Ruth Vander Zee (a true story of sacrifice)

The Harmonica  by Tony Johnston is based on a true story how one boy survived the holocaust

My Secret Camera: Life in the Lodz Ghetto  by Mendel Grossman which gives glimpses into what really happened in these World War 2 ghettos

Music for the End of Time  by Jen Bryant which is based on true on of another way that the arts helped with survival

Here is a link some more educational resources from the IHE.  At our local library, there are many additional books available directly about Terezin.  As I am unfamiliar with most of them, I do not feel that I can recommend any personally, but they would be worth checking into.

MIRACLE ON THE PRAIRIE  – A century ago, in the town of Axtell, a new kind of care began for people with intellectual disabilities.


As we have relatives from the Axtell area, I immediately embraced the story of a community that strives to make a difference in this special segment of people.  I agreed with their philosophy of reaching out to others personally, rather than leaving that up to the government.  I was definitely inspired to continue to love my neighbor, no matter who he or she might be.

To learn more, please visit Mosaic’s website.

DREAM CAR AUCTION  – The sights and sounds of the Lambrecht survivor car auction in Pierce, Nebraska.

Auction 5

My husband happens to own a 1964 Chevy Impala.  Unfortunately for him, the poor car sits under a tarp.  As the appreciation of classic cars runs in both of our families, I know that we would have enjoyed attending this auction of “new” old Chevrolets.  We did not make it to Pierce that week-end. So I am glad that NET did, so that we all can have a small glimpse into what happened at that unprecedented car auction.


November 1, 2013 – 7:30pm on NET1/HD
November 1, 2013 – 10:30pm on NET1/HD
November 4, 2013 – 10:00pm on NET1/HD
Can’t wait?  Here is a preview.
And if you missed their spring episode, you can still watch it online.
Categories: Lewis and Clark, Metro, Prairie Lakes, Recommended Reading, Region or City | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Wordless Wednesday: Where Were We (in Nebraska?)

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Categories: Wordless Wednesdays: Where Were We in Nebraska? | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Tuesday Traveling: Pumpkin Patches Across Nebraska

I must confess we are probably not going to make it to the pumpkin patch this year.  I feel slightly badly about that because I do know at some point my kids will no longer think such a destination is a fun family event. They will want to go with their friends instead or not even go at all.  But last year, we did go to Vala’s Pumpkin Patch which is located near Elkhorn (partly between Lincoln and Omaha).

We  had not been in a few years, having chosen to stick a bit closer to home and to free little pumpkin patches.  But last year some friends invited a bunch of us to go.  And it happened to be AWANA night (a special church group my kids attend), so they all got in free.  My husband opted out, so a friend and I carpooled up together.   We had fun getting to catch up, and our boys had fun talking in the back seat.

I am not into the scary part of Halloween, so there are a few parts of Vala’s that are not my favorite.  But several areas are rather kid friendly.  The pig races are quite amusing.  And roasting marshmallows is always fun!  The kids loved jumping on the giant blog.  They definitely had a great time and would have gladly traveled back.  Maybe next year …

Pumpkin Patch tricycle

Pumpkin Patch height chart

Two of the four stuck with me – the other two went off with my friend and her son.  So I did not do the best at photographing my oldest ones – oops.

If you are hoping to go to the pumpkin patch, you have a few days left for this season.   Even if you do not live close enough to Elkhorn, there are many great pumpkin patches across the state.  In fact, Leslie has compiled a great list of Nebraska pumpkin destinations on Her View From Home.   Not see a place listed that is close by your home?  Please tell about your nearby location in the comments section.  As Linus of Charlie Brown fame would say, “Happy Great Pumpkin Day!”


Categories: Annual Events, Frontier Trails, Lewis and Clark, Lincoln, Metro, Panhandle, Pioneer Country, Prairie Lakes, Region or City, Sandhills | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Off the Map: How did those Germans end up in Russia and then in Nebraska?

This is a bit of an unusual “Off the Map.”  Really the post could be titled “On the Move.”  Or forwarding address.  About the transition of strong German families from their homeland to Russia and eventually to here.  Many of them can be found in Nebraska, but of course there are “American Historical Society of Germans from Russia” chapters throughout the United States.

Last week this blog “visited” the official “American Historical Society Germans from Russia” museum.    I know the first time that we went to the museum several years ago my perceptions of who this place represented were a bit confused.  This group of people would consider themselves Germans despite the fact that they lived in Russia for a long while.

So, if they wanted to be German, why did they move to Russia?  The one word answer: destitution.  There was not enough land and a whole lot of war recovery going on.  (Fighting for one hundred years will do that!)  One unexpected person changed the plights of a weary people.  Former German princess and current Russian Empress, Catherine the Great.

AHSGR Catherine and peasant

Catherine the Great’s portrait close by a statue of woman whose life she changed by her giving of land.

With their large families, many Germans had outgrown their farms.  Catherine had an abundance of unplowed  land, and she needed occupants to fortify her country’s boundaries.     In 1863, she issued a life-changing manifesto on July 22nd.  I will give you a place to settle.  In return, you can make your own settlements, speak your own language and even have your own churches.  Plus you can leave at any time and do not have to even fight in Russian conflicts.    And this was for life, continuing on to even future generations.  This worked out well for all at first – she had people, they had land.  The German culture flourished for many years in the Volga River lands.

Until a few generations removed from Catherine.  Her grandsons were not so sure about this free land idea.  Or people in their country speaking different languages.  Russification was the order then – a blending of the conglomeration of people into a massive people group.  And not having people living in the country fight for Russia? Unheard of as is evidenced in the document below.    And since Russia fought Germany in both wars, this was a definite conflict of interest for these resettled Germans.

AHSGR Russia 1941 decree

While there was more of an influx of these “Germans from Russia” at certain times, really the immigration was often gradual.  Coming to America was not always easy.  For those who came earlier on, the promise of “free” land was helpful.  Yet being separated by 160 acres as was required for homesteaders did not make for a village.  The United States did provide opportunities for this group of downtrodden people but did still require a change of lifestyle and even language.

Enough people here in the United States have wanted to stay connected with these genealogical records that the “Germans from Russia” remain a strong group.  If you are interested in learning even more, definitely check out the museum in person or read the document at the link below.

This Friday provides even another interactive opportunity.  You can attend the Broda Dinner at the WSI Hall (1430 N. 10th St. in Lincoln) this Friday night, November 1st. Dinner will be served from 5-7 PM.  “Broda” meals are those that you put in the oven before going to Sunday service then enjoy after church.  (Yes – I had to ask.  But I recall eating many of these growing up!  Thank goodness for oven timers this day and age!)  Roast beef, potatoes, vegetables, rye bread, dessert and beverage will be served.  The cost for adults is $10 and children (12 & under) are only $5.  You can call for tickets in advance (402-489-2583 or 402-420-9580).  Or just show up at the door.

They will be having a quilt raffle.  Tickets for this will be available at the dinner.  If you want to see the quilt up close (beyond just the picture below), the beautifully crafted covering is on display at the museum.

AHSGR quilts

The “fan” quilt is on permanent display at the museum. The sunny yellow floral quilt is the one being raffled off.

A big thank you to the “American Historical Society of Germans from Russia” museum for letting me sneak in to take some updated pictures.  And for answering all of my questions right at closing time!

Additional research for this article was found at the NDSU “Germans from Russia Heritage Collection.”  Hopefully I summarized their information in an accurate way!

Categories: Nebraska History, Off the Map, People Behind the Place | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Flashback Friday through Photography: The American Historical Society of Germans from Russia in Lincoln

AHSGR sculpture

When we were studying European geography several years ago, we went to the Germans from Russia Museum.  We all really enjoyed it, and I think I took some great pictures then.  But when I changed cell phones awhile ago, they all disappeared.  So they let 2 of my kids and I sneak in right before they closed to get some current photographs.  If you have never been to this museum, you should definitely venture there soon.  There is much to learn about the history of this displaced people group.   (More on that in another post to come!)  For today I will mainly let the pictures tell the story.

AHSGR for kids

For kids: a great little area with musical instruments they can touch and a looping video where they can see the history played out, along with a “kids collection” of various artifacts.

AHSGR furniture collages

Upstairs various room arrangements are on display providing a glimpse into yesteryear life.

AHSGR dolls

My daughter pointed out that all the girls would enjoy seeing the dolls.

AHSGR clothing and house displays

And they would enjoy the dollhouse and clothing exhibits displaying how this group of people used to live.

AHSGR musical instruments

My son enjoyed seeing the musical instruments.  He tried to sneak playing them, despite the fact that the guide was close by (he is a music fan!)

AHSGR Outdoor Buildings

We did not get to take a tour of all of the outdoor buildings this time.  But wandering around the white clapboard buildings definitely provides a realistic glimpse into history.   These buildings close during the winter.  The main museum is open year round.

Name/Location American Historical Society of Germans from Russia: 631 “D” St. Lincoln
Open hours/Contacts M-F 9-4; (402) 474-3363; Facebook; local chapters noted on web
Cost Free – donations are accepted
What to Know Research library available for those with this ancestory
Outdoor Tours Tours of the outdoor buildings daily @ 2 from April – October
Museum Manners Artifacts are for looking, not touching (including instruments)
Recommended Ages They have a great kid’s area!  Outdoor areas would be fun for younger kids – upper floor in museum would be hard with young ones; 5 and up
Categories: Flashback Fridays, Friday Photography, Lincoln, Metro, Nebraska History, Photography | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

A Small Glimpse of the American Historical Society of Germans from Russia (Museum in Lincoln)

I have to admit that I am a fan of home improvement shows.  But the commercial break between when they are finishing up and when they do the final reveal can seem to take a long time.  In fact, I would much rather tape those shows, so I can fast forward through to see the finish.

Now I am the first to recognize that my blog is not as exciting as one of those shows.  For one thing, I am not Ty Pennington or as stylish as one of the girls that works on the show with him.  But my husband might be even busier than he is.  For he started a major home improvement project on not one, not two, but all three of the floors of our house today.  Our house is a bit chaotic to say the least.  I am exhausted, and I did very little of the physical part of the labor.  I just have to find new places for things.  That is my daunting job for tomorrow.  My husband is even more tired and probably has more to do.  (Thanks, my KJ, you are the best!)

That being said, I find the time is now 9:45 at night.  I am ready to go to sleep for tonight.  As much as I like writing, I think I might just be out of words.  A rare moment for me, at least in the typing world.  So, for tonight I am simply going to post the same shots from the other day but magnified.  A partial reveal of the place that we visited …

The American Historical Society of Germans from Russia Museum in Lincoln!



So, I guess this is where we take a commercial break to hopefully resume telling more about the museum tomorrow.  I was going to post a picture of their plaque in case you want to know more tonight.  But the “metal” typeset does not make for a great photograph – I think it would be more annoying than helpful to try to read what I wrote.  But hey, here is a link to their website at least.  Other pictures and more explanation to come tomorrow …


Categories: Lincoln, Metro, Wordless Wednesdays: Where Were We in Nebraska? | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Mahoney Melodrama: Ending Soon at a Theater Near You

I thought I had posted this last night – evidently I did not.  So much for my Wednesday being wordless.  🙂  I will tell more about that place tomorrow, but for today here is yesterday’s post.

One event that was included at our fall church women’s retreat was attending the melodrama presentation at Mahoney State Park.  I was bit skeptical, but the event ended up being just the ticket to start our relaxing and reflective time away.  The play was well-written, but I know that the actors were the true shining stars.

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While our group did not throw any popcorn, watching many others try to “hit” the villain (located front and center) with the crunchy white missiles was certainly amusing.  And evidently sometimes the crowd throws dollars up on stage – also quite funny to watch the actors put their feet down on top of the bills until they could pocket the money.  My favorite character was the ditzy cheerleader – her enthusiastic chants added fun to the storyline.  (Plus the fact that she ended up being my longtime friend’s sister was a fun bonus!)

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The play would be appropriate for audiences of all ages.  I was wishing that we could have made it up there as a family to watch – I would have gladly watched the show again.  But with busy Sundays and 8:00 performance times on Friday and Saturday, that is a bit late for my crew so far.  (Hopefully next year, this will be a family event!)

I meant to post this information right away to give everyone plenty of time to go see the show.  Instead I got caught up in Omaha and forgot.  So, this is the last week-end of performances.   Tickets are $7 per adult and $5 children age 12 and under.  Family pricing is also available.  Besides their Friday and Saturday evening performances, they do have a 3:00 matinee this Sunday.   If you do not have any plans, I would highly recommend the experience.   In case you miss this melodrama, they do several different performances throughout the year.  While some of the plays might be more family friendly than others, I am glad that they do put on high quality plays that are also budget friendly!

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Wordless Wednesday: Where Were We (in Nebraska)?

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Categories: Wordless Wednesdays: Where Were We in Nebraska? | Tags: , , | 3 Comments

Moving Monday: Palymra, Nebraska: The Town That Relocated?

Earlier this summer, we went and took a tour of our friends’ “Big Red Sawmill.”   I will be writing more on the details of all we learned on that adventure in an upcoming blog.  My older boys especially loved that field trip because our friend, Brian, took us all about the farm on his gator.  (Thankfully only the kids had to ride in the back, and I got the front seat.  Was a bit of a crazy ride – good for my “city” boys).

I expected the tour of the sawmill, but I did not anticipate learning some more about the area.  He and lovely wife, Rita, are raising four sons just south of Palmyra.  He owns quite a few acres that he drove us around.  On the eastern edge of his land lies something I never knew existed.

Sawmill Palymra beginnings

The original town of Palmyra.  Supposedly this is where the town used to be.  Before illness came and devastated those settling here.  Not knowing the source of the sickness the whole town decided to move a few miles away and start again.  This could just be the source of folklore, as nothing of the town being relocated is mentioned in the Virtual Nebraska History: Palmyra.  Yet that site only contains the history as presented by just a few local residents.  You can definitely see where an original dwelling used to be located, so this could have been history that was missed.

Based on the number of towns that started and stopped in Nebraska I could see this having happened more than once.   A setting just not being as suitable any more.  Especially if illness literally caused most of the town to die out.  Another factor could have been the arrival of the railroad to the area.  The online history does note that the town really begin to flourish when the railroad arrived in 1871.  Soon after the area’s first mill began along with an elevator.

So, whether this story is the stuff of legend or historical fact, I did find it interesting to ponder a town just up and moving.  Would have been easier feat back then when dwellings were initially more “temporary.”  If only we knew the oral history that is lost due to accurate documentation.

P.S. I enjoyed the two weeks that we just spent in Omaha.  Although we will not camp out there like we just did, we will definitely be visiting that town again in the weeks and months to come.

Categories: Nebraska History, Off the Map | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

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