Explore history through the eyes of those who lived it at museums in Kearney, ranging from viewing classic cars to learning about the pioneers of the Oregon Trail.
American history can be found right in the heart of America!
Visitors will be given a headset and can listen in to the stories as they walk with the pioneers over the Oregon Trail, watch a rider make a quick stop to switch horses at a Pony Express Station, and hear Mark Twain’s account of a cross-country stage coach trip. You will also relive the building of the transcontinental railroad and visit a travelers’ campground to hear stories of life on “America’s Main Street,” the Lincoln Highway. All this history, and more, happened right here on the path along the Platte River in Nebraska, and the Archway’s family-friendly exhibit brings our rich history to life.
I-80 Exit 275
Classic Car Collection
Make a pit stop at the best Classic Car Collection between Omaha and Denver!
Featuring over 200 restored historic cars, plus a recreated 1950s gas station, with its vintage tools and more modern devices that show the progression of technical sophistication and how the technicians have kept us on the road.
You can also visit the Drive-In Theater display that incorporates the original vintage ticket booth from the local Kearney Drive-In. Other displays include various video screens showing historical footage, recent events the ‘Car Hoods Project’ that uses large recreated car hoods as video screens for historical and entertaining footage.
3600 E Hwy 30
Downtown “On The Bricks”
So we know this isn’t really a “museum”, but the brick streets and historic buildings located in downtown Kearney are a museum all their own. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, “The Bricks” are filled with shops, cafes and restaurants, creating a unique vibe that flows with the culture of Kearney!
Fort Kearney Museum
This seasonal stop tucked away in Kearney has quietly preserved world history for nearly seven decades. Egyptian mummies are displayed in a climate-controlled chamber. An authentic Samurai suit of armor occupies one exhibit. Convex windows salvaged from an early Kearney opera house top cases of fossils, Old West weaponry and other curiosities.
Glass-bottom boat rides on owner Marlo Johnson’s sandpit lake give views of giant catfish and largemouth bass. Peacocks roam the lake edge and a tipi looks over the lake from a nearby hill.
Memorial Day-Labor Day
131 Central Ave
Fort Kearny State Historical Park
Originally a safe haven for Overland Trail travelers, Pony Express riders, and gold prospectors, Fort Kearny established in 1848, is now a state historical park preserved by the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission.
Visitors to the park can explore reconstructed buildings, including the stockade, parade grounds, powder magazine, and blacksmith/carpenter shop, and explore exhibits telling the story of the fort.
1020 V Rd
G.W. Frank Museum of History and Culture
The popular local architect George William Frank, Jr. designed the Frank House in 1886 as a gift for his parents. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Frank Museum was one of the first houses west of the Missouri River to be wired for electricity during its initial construction.
The house was purchased in 1907 by Ole and Georgiana Grothan, a husband and wife medical team who converted the house into the Grothan Elmwood Sanitarium. It was then sold to the state of Nebraska and became part of the Nebraska State Tuberculosis Hospital where it was used as living quarters for the hospital’s staff until 1971.
2504 9th Ave
Kearney Area Children’s Museum
At the KACM, they encourage children to touch, push, pull, build and play with every exhibit. Here, you can let your kids, be kids! Exhibits include Performing Arts, Vision Center, Critter Care, Firehouse, Astronomy and so much more!
5827 4th Ave
Museum of Nebraska Art
MONA is the only museum exclusively dedicated to telling the story of Nebraska through the art of Nebraska.
MONA’s permanent collection reflects the history and culture of the state and holds work from artist-explorers like George Catlin to the early 20th century American master and Cozad native Robert Henri, to Thomas Hart Benton’s original illustrations for The Oregon Trail. MONA also proudly displays one of the nation’s premier collections of wildlife art by John James Audubon.
The building itself is the former post office and listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
2401 Central Ave
Nebraska Firefighters Museum and Education Center
The Nebraska Firefighters Museum and Education Center is designed to provide a place to safeguard and preserve Nebraska’s proud firefighting heritage and to educate individuals on fire prevention. Located on the adjacent to the Archway. The museum provides adequate parking for groups of all size. A large conference room and party room are available for a variety of gatherings.
2434 East 1st Street
Trails and Rails Museum
Buffalo County is rich in the history of the great transportation routes of the past, present and the future: the Mormon Trail, Union Pacific Railroad, Lincoln Highway and Interstate 80. Tour through the Loup River Freighters Hotel, District No. 1 School House, Livery Barn, Log Cabin and more! Also includes a full-functioning blacksmith shop.
710 West 11th Street