April 6, 2018

‘American Adventure’ Guide For Families

The description of “American Adventure,” the temporary exhibit at The Durham Museum,” reads like it would go over the heads of most kids: Minotaur Mazes’ ‘American Adventure’ takes visitors on an immersive, educational roleplay adventure that asks people to conquer one great challenge: survive the year as one of the original
Jamestown colonists.”

I tried out this maze with my two kids, ages 6 an 8, and here’s how what we thought of the experience. If you want to visit “American Adventure,” the exhibit runs through July 29, 2018. Be sure to check out the rest of the museum while there! Here’s my guide to taking children to The Durham MuseumDisclosure: I was provided complimentary passes to experience the exhibit so I could write about it.

What to expect during “American Adventure”

An overhead view of “American Adventure.” The traveling exhibit is at The Durham Museum in Omaha through July 29, 2018. Photo courtesy Durham Museum

Like a typical maze, there is only one way to enter. At the entrance, we each received our unique identity of one the Jamestown colonists. These were real colonists (all men) and at the end of the maze, we could check if they survived that first year or not.

Each colonist has a life chart, and as we move through the maze, we each track a series of life choices on an it. You can earn (or lose) points for health, wealth, food and morale at each turn of the maze. Watch out for the Wheel of Misfortune!

The goal is to make it past more than two-dozen tests spread out over four seasons. Tests range from trying to rope a sturgeon and guessing whether or not you can eat an animal, to more historically significant questions, like if you’re a gentleman, do you really help with manual labor or not. Keep all four life chart categories above the life line and you “survive.” Choose poorly and you have to exit the maze.

What kids think of “American Adventure”

The physical challenges in the “American Adventure” were my kids’ favorites.

There are plenty of things for my kids to like about the exhibit, “American Adventure,” and a few things that they didn’t. The physical challenges, pretending to climb was high up there and getting a Food point just for scraping a turtle shell were fun things for them.

What’s difficult, especially for my 6-year-old, was that most challenges required some reading. If your child isn’t patient, you may have to skip reading most of the things and go right to the challenge. It misses the educational component of the exhibit, but keeps the fun going for the kid.

Also note that the younger the kid, the more help they’ll need tracking their life chart.

Some challenges required reading, which my youngest didn’t have patience for, though most were self-explanatory. Photo courtesy Durham Museum

If your kids are competitive, they may also get frustrated with how easy it is to fail at “American Adventure.” The odds of survival are stacked against you. One accidental snakebite or bad food choice, and you’re dead.

Tips for “American Adventure”

Not many exhibits have mini ziplines, but “American Adventure” does. Photo courtesy Durham Museum

Visit during non-peak hours. This is a popular exhibit and since it’s a maze, you may have groups in front of you or behind you. If you don’t feel like rushing through your reading, I recommend going during the week instead of on the weekend.

Go to the bathroom before starting the maze. Self-explanatory, especially if you’re visiting with kids.

See the rest of the exhibit. It’s tempting to finish the maze, get your “I survived” sticker, and then head out. However, there’s more to “American Adventure” than the maze. There are displays of items found at the original James Fort of Historic Jamestown as well as original documents. There’s also a building activity table and a fun photo opp.

Plan about an hour for the exhibit. You can rush through it quicker, sure, but if you’re there to learn about about what it took to start a colony in the New World, read some of the displays. Also, realize if your colonist dies early and you have to exit the maze, you can start all over again.

Learn more. There are three lectures scheduled tied to the exhibit: “Surviving Jamestown: The Harrowing First Years of a Founding American Community,” April 17 at 6:30 p.m.; “The Shipwreck That Saved Jamestown: The Sea Venture Castaways and the Fate of America,” May 8 at 6:30 p.m. (book-signing to follow); and “Pocahontas and the Powhatan Dilemma,” July 24 at 6:30 p.m. (book-signing to follow). Registration is required. Regular museum admission applies; free for members.

If you go

“American Adventure”

Where: The Durham Museum, 801 S. 10th St.

When: Now through July 29, 2018

Cost: Included with museum admission


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October 9, 2017

Zoom Into Nano Now In Omaha

The Durham Museum just opened the newest kid-friendly exhibit in Omaha, “Zoom Into Nano,” and I took my two kids, ages 6 and 7, to see it. Could something like nano be explained to children, I wondered. Could it be explained to me?



Let me explain.

By the way, if you haven’t been to this museum before, here’s my guide for visiting the Durham Museum with kids. I was not compensated to write this post; I was, however, provided complimentary passes for myself and to use for the giveaway.

What to expect at Zoom Into Nano

If you’re wondering what nanotechnology is, you’re not alone. It’s technology that deals with “dimensions and tolerances of less than 100 nanometers, especially the manipulation of individual atoms and molecules.” (dictionary definition)

A model carbon nanotube inside “Zoom Into Nano,” now in Omaha through Jan. 7, 2018.

Or more simply, it’s technology dealing with things on the smallest of small scales. Nano stuff.

This exhibit demonstrates nano in surprisingly simple ways.

Like magnification. There are a few stations that simply help kids (and adults) see everyday things like a butterfly wing or a speck of dust in super, crazy magnification. My kids returned to these “zooming” stations throughout our visit.

Everything in the exhibit is hands-on, which is a kid’s dream. Even my youngest enjoyed practicing with an atom transporter.

I’m sure moving atoms is a lot more difficult than moving these “atoms.”

The three us worked together to dissolve salt crystals (virtually) by generating heat through arm movement.

Is this really a kid-friendly exhibit?

This definitely has the look and feel of an exhibit that’s intended to be enjoyed by families.

Kids can design a model nano town, making sure things are balanced or their surface will tip in one direction.

Really young kids, like toddlers, probably won’t get a whole lot out of the exhibit, though. Maybe, they’ll enjoy some of the molecule building stations or the nano town balance table.

Older kids? Yes, this exhibit is going to be great for them, especially preteens and teens learning about this stuff already.

Magnets are always a hit in an exhibit, and this table was particularly effective at explaining how the smaller the material, the easier it was to move.

My two kids are early grader schoolers and were able to engage with all of the exhibit pieces. One could read and the other could not, so the reader definitely had a fuller experiences.

The room not to miss

There’s a small room at the back of the exhibit that is easy to skip, but probably does the best job at explaining what nanotechonology matters to us. Because, even after playing with all the different exhibit pieces, I was kinda wondering still what nanotechonology was and why it’s so significant (my son would tell me just to read the signs better, but he’s a know-it-all).

Anyway, in this little room, there are a few displays that break it down to layman’s terms, the breakthroughs that nanotechnology has already (waterproof clothes, for instance), and why some people are optimistic and some people are cautious about what the future holds.


If you go

“Zoom Into Nano”

Where: The Durham Museum, 801 S. 10th St.

When: Now through Jan. 7, 2018

Cost: Included with museum admission, which is $11, adults; $8, seniors; $7, children (ages 3-12); and FREE for children younger than 3 and members



Want to go for FREE?

I’ve partnered The Durham Museum to give away one family pass to one lucky reader. This pass will get up to four people into the museum! To enter, just use the Rafflecopter form. Must be at least 18 to enter. The giveaway ends Sunday, Oct. 22, at 11:59 p.m. One winner will be randomly drawn within 48 hours and will have 48 hours to claim the prize before another name is drawn. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


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June 14, 2017

Kids & The Durham Museum’s ‘Top Secret’ Exhibit

We’re at the Durham Museum often because it’s a fun place to take kids (here’s my guide for bringing kids to the Durham Museum). Every new temporary exhibit is a great excuse to return. This summer, there’s an exhibit unlike any other we’ve seen called “Top Secret: License to Spy.”

I was invited to check out the exhibit with my kids so I can report back to you about the experience.

Think you have what it takes to be a secret agent? Head to the Durham Museum this summer and visit “Top Secret: License to Spy.”

Wondering if “Top Secret” is kid-friendly?

Wondering if a family can easily solve the case?

Read on!


The Concept Behind “Top Secret: License to Spy”

Top Secret at Durham Museum

Spy gadgets! This room’s challenge was tough for my little ones (you had to find the four hidden cameras). Photo courtesy Durham Museum

The concept of this summer exhibit is brilliant: Visitors take on the role as spies, and as you move through the exhibit, you use different spy equipment or techniques to gather clues to solve the case. You’re supposed to figure out who stole the most powerful computer chip in the world and why.

When you complete the mission, you go to the final stop, the Debriefing Room, to see if you were right.


Into the exhibit

Instructions for one of the areas in the “Top Secret” exhibit at The Durham. In case you were wondering, it’s a lot harder than it looks to spy on someone with a laser listener.

“Top Secret: License to Spy” sounds like a fun exhibit for families, and it is, but it’s not for all ages. Why? Little ones who can’t read or who get spooked by dim lighting may not enjoy it as much as older kids.

My 5-year-old was easily frustrated with challenges and started to get anxious at every turn. Perhaps it seemed too real for her?

She most definitely did not like the looks of the laser room. Even when I showed her how to do it, she refused to go in there thinking they were real lasers (full disclosure: It was more like I showed her how not to do it. I’m not flexible at all).

In “Top Secret” at the Durham Museum, you can pretend to be a spy and try to make your way through a room of lasers. Photo courtesy the Durham Museum

My 7-year-old wanted to try everything in this exhibit. Sometimes he needed my help or subtle nudge on noticing a clue; other times, he was on it. I think the older the kid, the more they’re going to love this.

Just based on my observation, it looked like the Code Room was the most popular area in the entire exhibit. It was packed when we went in. There are several codes to break in that one room, and each provide a little clue to who the suspect is.

Every kid visiting the exhibit seemed to want to be in the Code Room at the same time. It’s understandable, these codes were fun to try to crack.

The most popular area in the exhibit for my family didn’t actually help us solve the case, but it did help us craft some awesome disguises.

My son’s spy disguise is top notch.

By the way, I totally solved the case. I’d make an excellent secret agent.

For the little ones

“Top Secret: License to Spy” can be a little challenging for youngsters, so there are a few activities that are more of their speed. Plan your visit to be around 10:30 a.m. on the second or fourth Wednesday of the month (June-August), and your little one can enjoy Top Secret For Tots. The program includes a story and craft, and it’s included with museum admission.

Pick up a scavenger hunt from the information desk in the Durham Museum lobby, then see if you can find the clues.

There’s also a fun scavenger hunt going on this summer. Pick up a sheet and pencil at the welcome desk to get started. The hunt will lead you through some of the permanent exhibits to search for clues.

This one was more of my kids’ speed and they knew the exhibits we needed to go to based on the clues. I had to help decipher the code.

Once finished, the kids returned their sheet to the welcome desk to get their surprise.

If you go

“Top Secret: License to Spy”

Where: The Durham Museum, 801 S. 10th St.

When: Now through Sept. 17, 2017; during regular museum hours

Special events: There are special programs planned through the exhibit’s run. Visit this page to learn more.



Disclosure: I was provided complimentary admission to the museum so I could review this exhibit. All thoughts, opinions, and typos are my own.

April 10, 2017

Durham Museum Summer Camps

While on the hunt for the most fun summer camps for my kids, I kept returning to The Durham Museum summer camps list. There are so many to choose from! There are 27 camps there this summer, and they’re all so different from any place else in Omaha. I’ve partnered with The Durham Museum to tell you about them.

Choosing Camp

From time travel to wizardry to spies, there are some super fun themes for summer camps at The Durham Museum. There’s even Meet the Metr’O’ camps, where kids visit things like a courthouse to meet a judge and the First National Bank Tower to get a sky-high view of the city. Check all the summer camps out here.

Summer camps at The Durham Museum are taught by certified, professional educators. Photo courtesy The Durham Museum

I had a hard time figuring which camps my 7-year-old would love best. He is really into history, which is perfect for all of the camps at the museum – camps combine history and science for a balance that turns out to be fun and educational. I’m told they strike a perfect chord for summer – kids have so much fun, they don’t realize they’re learning.

Some of the popular camps at The Durham Museum include Mischief Managed, a wizardry camp that will surely appeal to the “Harry Potter” fans of Omaha; Lego Apprentice, Lego Builder, and Lego Master, camps for the three age groups that are focused on building; and the camp tied with the summer exhibit at the museum, Top Secret, will likely be popular.

New Camps At The Durham Museum

The Durham Museum has added some unique new camps this summer. I think Road Trip! sounds fun. Without leaving the museum, kids will imagine themselves on a Nebraska adventure. It’s great timing for the state’s 150th celebration.

Campers at a Durham Museum summer camp. Photo courtesy The Durham Museum

There’s also a camp called History With Heroes, blending learning about superheroes and real life heroes. The museum is also trying out a camp that’s going to feel like the traditional outdoor summer camp, again without leaving the museum. Think, “campfire” with s’mores kinds of stuff.

What Makes Durham Camps Different


Teachers – What impressed me about The Durham Museum summer camps is that they’re all taught by certified, practicing teachers, who also create the camp curriculum. The camps also have what’s called summer facilitators, who assist in the summer camps and many are studying to become educators.

One-Day Camps – Here’s the conundrum for working parents: What do you do with holiday weeks where no place in Omaha is offering week-long camps then, but you still have to work most of those days? The museum has created day-long camps for each day of those holiday weeks (Memorial Day and Fourth of July). Kids can go to just one all-day camp or all four that week (there’s a discount if you sign up for all four).

Variety – Very few camps are repeated in the summer. Many parents working downtown sign their children up for summer camps at the museum all summer long and never have repeated week. There are 27 camps in all.

Extended Hours – The museum offers “Beyond the Camp” Experience, which is before care and after care with planned games and activities with camp staff. It’s such a huge help for me, when my work day starts well before 9 a.m. camp does. Full-day campers also have supervision during the lunch hour, and they get the added perk of having the option of purchasing lunch (they can also bring a sack lunch).

Age Groups – The Durham Museum summer camps are divided by grade levels, so the camp content suits the abilities of the campers all the time. Camps are available for Grades 1-2, Grade 3-4, and Grades 5-6. Note: This is for the grade level kids will be entering in the 2017-2018 school year.

Ready For Durham Museum Summer Camp?

Where: The Durham Museum, 801 S. 10th St.

Cost: Half-Day Week, $80/members and $90/non-members; Full-Day Week, $160/members and $180/non-members; Summer Fun Days (full-day camp), $40/Day or $140/four days for members and $45/day or $160/four days for non-members; Meet The Metr’O’ (weeklong, full-day), $170/members and $190/non-members.
“Beyond The Camp” Experience: $15/day or $60/week


Online at Durham.org

Call 402-444-5027

Email Education@DurhamMuseum.org

Write The Durham Museum, Education Dept., 801 S. 10th St., Omaha, NE 68108

Fax 402-444-5397, Attn: Education Dept.


Disclosure: I received a complimentary camp registration in compensation for writing this post.


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February 2, 2016

3 Things Not To Miss At Durham Museum’s Buffalo Bill Exhibit

You’ve heard of Buffalo Bill, but maybe you’re like me and you only vaguely know what made him such a character in country’s history.

Upclose shot of a mural photograph at the new exhibit at The Durham Museum. (Yellow circle was my own fancy addition to it)

Upclose shot of a mural photograph at the new exhibit at The Durham Museum. (Yellow circle was my own fancy addition to it)

So when The Durham Museum invited me to a sneak preview of its newest temporary exhibit – “From Nebraska to the World: Buffalo Bill’s Wild West” – I figured now’s a good time to study up since the curator, Carrie Meyer, would be on hand to answer questions.

"Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show" is at The Durham Museum in Omaha through May 1, 2016.

“From Nebraska to the World: Buffalo Bill’s Wild West” is at The Durham Museum in Omaha through May 1, 2016.

The exhibit was developed in partnership with the Buffalo Bill Center of the West, exploring the contributions of Nebraska and Iowa to the worldwide phenomenon.

Here’s a fun fact I learned: The very first show of “Buffalo Bill’s Wild West” was in Omaha in 1883. Why? “He loved Omaha…he embraced Nebraska and Nebraska embraced him,” said exhibit curator Carrie Meyer.

Fill your brain with all sorts of Buffalo Bill trivia at the exhibit through May 1.


What’s not to miss?

There are a lot of artifacts at the exhibit. They come from 10 different museums, and what makes this exhibit so special is that it’s the only time these items have ever been displayed together. History buffs will have to go to each of these museums after this exhibit closes to see them again.

BBMap2But like I said, there’s a lot. And if you’re bringing along kids, I know how unlikely it is you’ll ever get to really see an exhibit (let alone being able to read descriptions). So here are the ones Meyer said you should definitely see:


1. The Annie Oakley case

I knew of her but like Buffalo Bill, I didn’t know much about her.

Annie Oakley's rifle and one of the ball used to test her skill. They'd fill the ball with confetti so it would be easier to see when she hit one.

Annie Oakley’s rifle and one of the ball used to test her skill. They’d fill the ball with confetti so it would be easier to see when she hit one.

I liked seeing the sharp shooter’s rifle and the little disk and balls she used for target practice.

This disk was little bigger than a coin - imagine being able to hit that from any distance!

This disk was little bigger than a coin – imagine being able to hit that from any distance!

Little trivia you can throw out to a stranger strolling through the exhibit: Annie’s rifle is the most expensive item in the exhibit.

Tip: A fun thing to do is compare how well cared for Oakley’s gun is compared to Buffalo Bill’s. Also, Meyer pointed out that each is engraved – see if you can find what’s of them.


2. 11-minute video of the Wild West Show

This was mesmerizing to watch, and the sound wasn’t even on. You could see the show back in its heyday, and what a spectacle it was. The trick shooting was impressive – Buffalo Bill’s foster son even shoots target while standing on his head.

At some point in the video, you’ll hear Buffalo Bill speak, which is a rare treat.


3. All the Native American pieces

“We’re very lucky to have these pieces,” said Meyer, who noted it was difficult to find them.


For the kids

I love how The Durham Museum often makes a portion of an exhibit directed toward children. In this case, it’s an entire room called “Cowboy Up!”

Saddles for riding at The Durham. You'll find one of Buffalo Bill's favorite saddles in the new exhibit...but, sorry guys, you can't ride it.

Saddles for riding at The Durham. You’ll find one of Buffalo Bill’s favorite saddles in the new exhibit…but, sorry guys, you can’t ride it.

Kids can practice roping (cleverly designed to release easily so no kiddo can truly rope and hog-tie their little brother); hop on some saddles, build a log cabin, and read up on stories of the Wild West.

They can also ride a horse…kinda. 🙂

Horse stable at The Durham Museum's "Cowboy Up!" room.

Horse stable at The Durham Museum’s “Cowboy Up!” room.

This area is only open until March 20.


Special events

“Up Close with Buffalo Bill”

When: Feb. 27 (Jeff Barnes, historian and author of “The Great Plains Guide to Buffalo Bill”) and March 26 (Dr. Heather Fryer, associate professor; Fr. Henry W. Casper, SJ professor of history, director, America Studies Program at Creighton University), 9 to 10 a.m.

What: Local experts give a special tour and commentary of “From Nebraska to the World: Buffalo Bill’s Wild West.” Space is limited on these tours (25) so RSVP by calling 402-444-5071 or email reservations@DurhamMuseum.org.


For Families → Buffalo Bill’s Birthday Bash!

When: Feb. 27, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

What: Celebrate Buffalo Bill’s 170th birthday! Pan for gold, learn to lasso, use a telegraph and gather round the Earth Lodge to learn Indian lore. Visit the Root Beer Saloon and BBQ shack for some wild-west grub. Plus…miniature horses! Western wear encouraged!



“Buffalo Bill, Performance and Selling the American West”

When: Feb. 23, 5:30 p.m. (exhibit viewing and cash bar), 6:30 (lecture)

What: Presented by Dr. Elaine Nelson, associate professor at The University of Nebraska Omaha, specializing in the North American West, will discuss how at the turn of the century, the idea of American exceptionalism unfolded on Buffalo Bill’s stage, and it captivated audiences worldwide. The prominent theme of this story came to life through the people, events and places central to the “conquest” of the American West. This presentation will focus specifically on some of these places, as well as the experiences of Native Americans whom Buffalo Bill employed to perform in his “Wild West” exhibit shows.

“The Buffalo Bill Experience”

When: March 15, 6:30 p.m.

What: Presented by Jeff Norman, a Buffalo Bill reenactor and impersonator, who will guide audiences down the untamed frontier trail that was Buffalo Bill Cody’s life, in a costumed living history presentation that is as entertaining as it is informative!

Lecture reservations: Space is limited and registration is required. Call (4020 444-5071 or email reservations@DurhamMuseum.org.



“Tour Two: Exhibitions at The Durham Museum and Joslyn Art Museum”

When: March 15, March 20, April 5, April 10; 11 a.m. (starting at Joslyn; Durham tour starts at 1 p.m.)

What: Enjoy two unique perspectives on the historic American West. Tour will include both “From Nebraska to the World: Buffalo Bill’s Wild West” at The Durham Museum and “Go West! Art of the American Frontier” at Joslyn Art Museum.

Cost: $10, Joslyn/Durham members; $15, public. Space is limited and advanced registration is required. Lunch not included. Register at joslyn.org. For more information, call (402) 661-3862 or email sseverson@joslyn.org.


If you go

“From Nebraska to the World: Buffalo Bill’s Wild West”

Where: The Durham Museum, 801 S. 10th St.

Admission: $11, adults; $8, seniors (62+); $7, children ages 3-12; FREE for members and children younger than 2

Hours: Tuesdays, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Wednesdays through Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sundays, 1 to 5 p.m.; closed Mondays and major holidays.

Exhibit ends: May 1

May 18, 2015

Exploring The Durham Museum With Kids

Updated February 20, 2018

If you have a kid that has even a remote interest in trains, chances are, you’ve been to the Durham Museum in downtown Omaha. We’re going on five years of visiting the museum, and while we still hit the train stuff at the museum, the kids have progressed to exploring the rest of the museum.

If you haven’t been to Durham in a while – or ever – here’s what you’re missing:

Durham Title

Activities to do with children at the museum

1. Explore the trains – The Durham Museum used to be Omaha’s Union Station, where 10,000 people passed through each day. It’s only natural that trains are a huge part of the museum.

Taking a break in a real passenger train inside the Durham Museum.

Taking a break in a real passenger train inside the Durham Museum.

The Durham has a huge model train exhibit that kids can interact with, as well as real train cars families can walk through. And, being the loudest thing in the museum, kids just love ringing the train bell.

The loudest thing in the museum is going to attract your kids like moths to a light.

The loudest thing in the museum is going to attract your kids like moths to a light.

When I asked Jessica Brummer, director of marketing and public relations, for a little inside scoop on the trains, here’s what she suggested: Be on the look out for train car hosts. These volunteers are uber-knowledgeable about trains so ask them questions! “Some have worked here back when it was a train station. They’re great at explaining what it was like to ride the train.”

Along a similar vein as the train car is the streetcar. We’ve never been to the Durham and NOT ran through the streetcar at least once.

Kids love running through this model of a streetcar.

Kids love running through this model of a streetcar.

2. Visit the soda fountain – Here’s a trip back into time: The Durham has a functioning soda fountain, where the staff wears soda jerk uniforms and pour tasty phosphate (the original soda).

The soda fountain at The Durham Museum in downtown Omaha.

The soda fountain at The Durham Museum in downtown Omaha.

We ordered a chocolate malt, vanilla coke phosphate soda, and a rootbeer float during our recent visit. The malt and rootbeer float were hits with the kids

A mug of love.

A mug of love.

Kids can also order at the candy counter.

"I'll take one of everything."

“I’ll take one of everything.”

3. Check out the teepee and earth lodge – Brummer said both are popular exhibits. My kids enjoyed running in and out of them several times.

4. Pose with the statues – Come on, everybody does it. The Durham’s gorgeous main hall features several statues of people doing what you’d expect people would be doing at a train station: Checking out departure times, saying their goodbyes, waiting for a loved one.

The grand hall is the first thing you see when you enter the museum. Look for statues scattered around the hall and proceed to pose like a fool with each of them. You know it's fun.

The grand hall is the first thing you see when you enter the museum. Look for statues scattered around the hall and proceed to pose like a fool with each of them. You know it’s fun.

5. Head to the “Coin Room” – Brummer has noticed kids like looking at the ancient coins in the Byron Reed Exhibit.

6. Look for Scout the Buffalo – He’s pretty easy to find, actually, but he’s cool to see up close. Since you can’t touch Scout, the museum thoughtfully put a coat on display that you can touch.

More things to look for

A museum docent tried explaining to Farley how buildings and bridges just like the ones in this display once were real and existed for a short time in Omaha. The Durham Museum has a room dedicated to The Trans-Mississippi & International Exposition of 1898.

A museum docent tried explaining to Farley how buildings and bridges just like the ones in this display once were real and existed for a short time in Omaha. The Durham Museum has a room dedicated to The Trans-Mississippi & International Exposition of 1898.


There are few vehicles in the museum in addition to trains.

There are few vehicles in the museum in addition to trains.

Try to find the one-room schoolhouse in the lower level of the museum.

Try to find the one-room schoolhouse in the lower level of the museum.

Look for this big guy in the museum. He's not hard to find.

Look for this big guy in the museum. He’s not hard to find.

Hidden gems

There’s a photo archive in the basement that is open to the public. You can purchase prints there, or just take a look at really old photos of Omaha. It’s probably more interesting to adults to see what familiar haunts used to look like, though.

2018 Events

Feb. 17 through July 15, 2018 – “Fighting For The Right To Fight: African American Experiences in WWII”

March 17 through July 29, 2018 – “American Adventure.” Blending historical accuracy and the complexities of real life and death decisions, American Adventure delivers a truly unique and effective learning experience. Visitors choose a unique identity of one the Jamestown colonists and track a series of life choices on an easy to use abacus representing “life points” for health, wealth, food, and morale. You have to maintain all of them to “survive” the exhibit. Visitors will encounter four content-rich “Season Galleries” and engage in hands-on activities that result in choices relevant to their character.

In July – Railroad Days. Durham Museum is one of five participating venues and you can get up close to train on the railroad tracks outside.

Get up close to real trains during Railroad Days in July.

Get up close to real trains during Railroad Days on July 11 and 12. Photo courtesy the Durham Musem

In July – Wild Wild West Days. Celebrate all things Wild West, and learn to lasso, watch a shootout and other fun activities.

In August – Root Beer Float Day. FREE root beer floats at the soda fountain!

Sept. 1 through Jan. 6, 2019 – “Thomas D. Mangelsen: A Life in the Wild”

In October – Great Halloween Haunt. Trick or treat to historical figures, join in a dance party, and make crafts. It ties in Halloween fun with a little historical education.

Nov. 23 through early January 2019 – Christmas at Union Station kicks off with the area’s largest indoor tree lighting celebration the day after Thanksgiving, and continues through the holiday season with family-friendly events like visits from Santa, concerts, the Ethnic Holiday Festival, the popular Noon Year’s Eve and many more.

Balloons are about to drop down on the crowd below during Noon Year's Eve. Photo courtesy The Durham Museum

Balloons are about to drop down on the crowd below during Noon Year’s Eve. Photo courtesy The Durham Museum

If you go

The Durham Museum


Where: 801 S. 10th St.

When: Tuesday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Wednesday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sunday, 1 to 5 p.m. Closed Mondays and major holidays.

Cost: Adults, $9; Seniors (62+), $7; Children (ages 3 – 12), $6; children 2 years and under, FREE; Members, FREE.

A note on memberships: If you’re going to visit the Durham Museum more than once a year, it pays to get a family membership. It’s $60 for 12 months, and includes admission to the special events like the Great Halloween Haunt and all the Christmas festivities. It also gets you discounts to the gift shop, soda fountain and summer camps.



Disclaimer: The Durham Museum provided complimentary admission for my family so we could explore the museum, and I could tell you about it. They also gave us some comp passes to try some food at the soda fountain, but truth be told, we would’ve totally stopped there for to have a malt even without the passes!

Fifth Anniversary Giveaway!

Look at you. You found the Oh My! Omaha fifth anniversary giveaway post!

Enter to win a Family Day Pass for four to visit the museum AND four treat vouchers to redeem at the museum’s awesome soda fountain (root beer float, anyone?). Day pass must be redeemed by Aug. 1, 2018. Day pass admits two adults and all dependent children’ (or up to four grandchildren), and has no cash value. This giveaway ends March 12, 2018 at 11:59 p.m. Must be 18 or older to enter and live in the U.S.

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