Omaha- Where's the corn?

This was our final stop after St Louis and Kansas City and we didn't know what to expect. It turned out to be far more diverse than we ever expected.

Omaha- Where's the corn?

Member Rating 0 out of 5 by zabelle on August 1, 2001

I don't know where I got the idea that Omaha was surrounded by corn fields with stalks reaching as high as an elephants eye, but I was amazed to find a modern city with a first class zoo and a wonderful art museum.

A beautiful Renaissance style Cathedral St Cecilia's graces 40th St and Boys Town, made famous by Spencer Tracy in his 1938 movie is just outside town. There are all the usual mall shops but for a different experience you can stroll the historic Old Market. ${QuickSuggestions} We visited everything in one day but I would suggest you have 2, we had no choice since we had a party our first day there and we were flying out on the third day. Omaha has its own version of the cow parade. There are Does (I assume as in John Doe) all over town, decorated by local artists and as usual going up for auction this fall. It was an intersting idea but not as effective as the cows.${BestWay} This is a city where you need to drive. We did most of our visiting on Sunday so parking was not a problem, however there are a lot of one way streets and you need to know where they are. The streets are numbers beginning downtown and going outward north to south so while the western Heritage Museum is at 10th St, Boys Town is about 250th.

Joslyn Art Museum

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by zabelle on August 1, 2001

The Joslyn Museum was a gift to the people of Omaha from Sarah Joslyn in memory of her husband George. The Joslyns had moved to Omaha from the East and made their money there. They had no surviving children so this museum is their legacy. It is a beautiful art deco building with a magnificent fountain court. In many ways the building is as interesting as the eclectic collection it houses.

There are works by Titian (man with a falcon, formerly from the collection at Castle Howard), El Greco (St Francis in prayer) and a haunting realistic St Jerome by Ribera showing the aesthetic saint cradling a skull in his hands with his eyes uplifted to heaven. Claude Lorraine's "Rest on the Flight to Egypt", Tiepolo (the son) St Joseph and the Christ Child done in wonderful soft pastels.

There is a beautiful Nattier of the Duchese Lambese, she is wearing a red sash that compliments her rosy lips and silver dress. There is a strangely gray portrait by Reynolds (he experimented with pigments and some of them changed over the years) alongside a beautiful Hoppner and a Raeburn. There is lovely American furniture spaced throughout the rooms.

Impressionist’s works by Degas, Monet, Pissarro and Renoir. Americans Mary Cassatt, James Peale and Childe Hassam are also represented. There is a small but poignant Winslow Homer of a soldier meditating beside a grave, a silent testimonial to the tragedy of the Civil War.

For those who prefer something a bit more modern there is Jackson Pollock, Hans Hofmann and George Segal.

One area of particular note is the Western Art Collection which includes the watercolors and prints of Karl Bodmer done on his journey from 1832-34 on the Missouri River frontier. There is also a beautiful Remington Bronze "Bronco Buster". Included in this same area are some fine examples of native bead work moccasins and leggings, some over 100 years old.

This museum has something for everyone including a nice cafe and a very nice gift shop.

The museum is open Tues-Sat. 10-4. Sun Noon-4. Entrance is $6.

Joslyn Art Museum
2200 Dodge St
Omaha, Nebraska, 68102
+1 402 342 3300

Durham Western Heritage Museum

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by zabelle on August 1, 2001

This is an amazing place from the moment you enter the restored rail station. There are wooden people sitting and standing around and they are your headphone tour. If you sit next to them or walk past they begin to interact with each other or with you. There are young men who are going off to fight in the Second World War. There is an immigrant boy, there is an older man who is visiting the station for the last time. It is an ingenius way to tell the story and very effective. We loved it.

From the lobby you take an elevator down to the other displays. There is a large model train set up and running. There are several railcars that you get to walk through to get a feel for what travel would have been like in times past. We were delighted and frankly I wished I had a child with me to share it. There is a audio/visual show that runs every few minutes and you can sit through it to learn about the history of Omaha. It was very interesting.

Our favorite, except for the ice cream soda was the recreated rooms. Its as if the walls have been cut off one side of homes and you get to see how a family would have lived starting in Victorian Times until the 50's. There is even a Indian Lodge that you get to walk through.

Another fascinating collection was a hugh collection of lunch boxes, yes, all those ones we took as kids whether it was the Lone Ranger, Power Ranger, Holly Hobby or Bionic Man. We spent quite a while reminscing at this display. Allow yourself several hours to enjoy this museum, it's well worth it.

Durham Western Heritage Museum
801 South 10th St
Omaha, Nebraska, 68108
(402) 444 5071

St Cecilia's Cathedral

Member Rating 0 out of 5 by zabelle on August 1, 2001

Located at 701 N. 40th St., this is a landmark that is hard to miss, as the beautiful twin towers dominate the skyline as you drive out of Omaha on Dodge Street. The cathedral was built in the Spanish Renaissance style, which is much more common in the southwestern United States and Mexico than in the Midwest.

Among the cathedral's outstanding features are the Carrara marble altar and beautiful carved pulpit of mahogany. In the chapel there is a 16th-century stained glass window from Spain.

In 1901, plans began to construct a cathedral in Omaha. Prominent Omaha architect Thomas Rogers Kimball took on the task. Construction began in 1905 and continued through 1958. In 1916, enough had been completed to allow services to begin being performed.

St Cecelia's was added to the National Historic Register in 1979. Beyond just being a Catholic cathedral, they have become an active part in the community. Every year they host the Annual Flower Show and other community activities. Docents from the parish conduct guided tours for over 60,000 tourists a year.

If you are Catholic, this is a lovely place to go to Mass on Sunday, and they have a 5:30pm Mass. Even if you're not Catholic, it is architecturally exciting.

Boys Town

Member Rating 0 out of 5 by zabelle on August 1, 2001

Located on Dodge St about 7 miles outside downtown, Omaha Boys Town (now Boys and Girls Town) has been helping troubled children since it was founded by Father Flanagan in 1917. Tours are offered from the visitors center.

Unfortunately we arrived too late for a tour but with a little luck and much persistence we were able to find Father Flanagan's grave and enter the Shrine. This is a beautiful campus and just driving through makes you appreciate the work and dedication that went into making it a reality. We need to thank Spencer Tracy for making Father Flanagan and Boys Town household words. The famous statue "He's not heavy, he's my Brother" is the first thing that greets you as you enter the campus and the last thing you see when you leave.

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