Skip to site content
Group Travel Leader Group Travel Leader Group Travel Leader

Nebraska’s Artistic Treasures

From homespun galleries to world-class museums, Nebraska has a wealth of artistic treasures, in both its large cities and its small towns.

You don’t have to look far in Nebraska to find great art. A number of cities throughout the state have well-respected museums and galleries that showcase the work of world-famous artists. Other sites focus on art from around the state or even within small local communities.

In Omaha, the Joslyn Art Museum is a premier art museum with 20 galleries and an encyclopedic collection of works. Kearney’s Museum of Nebraska Art takes a more focused approach, exhibiting works by artists who have a close connection to the state.

Visitors to Lincoln, the state’s capital, will find gorgeous, historic artwork on a tour of the state’s capitol. And farther west, the Petrified Wood Gallery in Ogallala and The Most Unlikely Place in Lewellen give guests a look at the distinctive artistic voices of those smaller communities.

Gem of Omaha

In Omaha, the Joslyn Art Museum is named for a wealthy local family that started the museum as a gift to the city. The museum is a midsize institution perfectly suited for a two- or three-hour group visit.

The permanent collection has about 20 galleries, with pieces ranging across history from antiquity to contemporary art. Highlights include ancient Greek pottery, medieval and Renaissance art, and European and American impressionism. The museum also has a large collection of art of the American West with works by the likes of Frederic Remington, Charles Russell and Thomas Moran. Visitors will also see art by Jackson Pollack, Grant Wood, Claude Monet and Edgar Degas.

Many guests find the museum building itself a sight to behold, with Art Deco architecture and 37 different kinds of marble. Outside the building are two sculpture gardens with a waterfall, a reflecting pool and a Rodin sculpture. Groups can arrange for tours of the museum and gardens, along with hands-on art activities.

Art of Nebraska

As the name implies, the Museum of Nebraska Art in Kearney showcases works that pertain to the state in one way or another. The museum’s collection focuses on art and artists that have some connection to the state. Most artists were born, lived or trained in Nebraska at some point in their lives there.

Those artists include some well-known names, such as Ramsey Peale, Karl Bodmer, Robert Henri and George Catlin. Many of these artists created works depicting what they saw or remembered from their time in Nebraska. The museum’s collection features more than 6,000 works in painting, glass, fiber, wood and ceramic.

The museum is also noteworthy for the building that houses it. The Renaissance Revival structure was originally constructed in 1911 as the Kearney post office. Decorative elements inside and outside the museum reflect that architectural style and the building’s original function in the community.

Brian Jewell

Brian Jewell is the executive editor of The Group Travel Leader. In more than a decade of travel journalism he has visited 48 states and 25 foreign countries.