On our past travels on I-80 passing by Kearney Nebraska we had seen this large building spanning the Interstate but did not know what it was. This time, before we got here we researched the structure and found that it is a museum and so decided to set up camp close by and pay it a visit.
What a jewel we found. We are constantly amazed at the quality of small museums throughout the U.S. The owners of this one have done a bang-up job. Upon entry we were greeted by a “mountain man” who directed us to the ticket office and told us a little of what to expect.
After receiving our head sets, as this is a self guided audio tour, we were on our way up the longest escalator in the state of Nebraska.
Once upstairs we wandered through 150 years of history. Most of the museum is dedicated to the years 1843 to 1869 when nearly half a million pioneers rode and walked the trails to the West Coast.
The story is told through the audio tour, dioramas, and mini-movies. The museum pays tribute to the pioneers, trappers, traders, Native Americans, pony express riders, the telegraph, the coming of trains, then Highway 30 the Lincoln Highway, America's first transcontinental road and I-80 the nations first interstate.
It appears that this museum is not very well attended as there is no close exit from the Interstate. It is not readily apparent how to get to the building (why we have never stopped before) so I think that many people who might stop just keep on traveling the Great River Road and pass it by. If you are ever in this area we highly recommend stopping here.