To learn more about the history of Omaha, Nebraska, and surrounding regions, check out the Durham Museum. The museum is housed in what used to be Union Station, which was built in 1931 and once served millions of rail travelers on their way out West or East. The building itself is a cool, fine example of Art Deco architecture and was well-known for its modern style and amenities. In 1973, Union Pacific Corporation gifted Union to the City of Omaha. The building then housed the Western Heritage Museum until 1975 when it was restored and then renamed as the Durham Western Heritage Museum in 1997.
Today, the museum has a number of permanent exhibits that feature the history of Omaha and surrounding regions. Its impressive photo archives chronicle Omaha’s history from its days as a small frontier town to a bustling city. Acknowledging Omaha’s importance in the transcontinental railroad system, there is an exhibit where visitors can step inside real train cars (steam engine, Pullman Car, lounge car, and caboose) and experience real railroad travel. In the Kimmel Orchard area of the museum, there is a real hand-painted mural, two-story farmhouse façade, as well as a apple tree replicas, all of which celebrate the history of the Kimmel Orchard in Nebraska. The Byron Reed Gallery of Coins and Documents has an impressive collection of coins and documents, all of which Omaha real estate agent Byron Reed gradually put together in the 19th century. Also be sure to check out the museum’s authentic 1931 soda fountain and candy shop and enjoy malts, sundaes, and sodas made the old-fashioned way. The museum also hosts impressive traveling exhibitions from renowned institutions including the Smithsonian, the National Archives, and the Library of Congress.
The Durham is located in Omaha’s historic Old Market district on South 10th street. For directions, hours, and other information, visit the museum’s website by clicking here.