Wednesday, August 08, 2012

US Hwy 30: A National Treasure In Minden, NE

A few miles south of US Hwy 30 (and I-80) in Minden, NE, is a place called Pioneer Village. I'd seen a number of advertisements for it, but I was a little concerned that it would turn out to be a tourist trap. Here's the opening blurb from the website, see what you think:
"You have to see it to believe it! The largest private collection of Americana anywhere. The Pioneer Village complex comprises 28 buildings on 20 acres housing over 50,000 irreplaceable items of historical value, restored to operating order, arranged in groups and also in the chronological order of their development."
Sounds a little hinky, right? Well, as an ardent explorer I was undeterred and made the detour. When I got there and first saw the outside of the main building, however, it did occur to me that I might have made a mistake.

The moment I stepped inside, though, I knew I'd made the right move. Pioneer Village is for real, and it is truly a national treasure. Without doubt, it is the most awesome, astonishing collection of Americana I've ever seen. The first building alone is amazing, with row after row of vintage cars arranged in chronological order of development. Corresponding eras of old planes hang overhead.

As you leave the first room, you see this sign. In any other place you'd have to think they're kidding, but here there really are hundreds and hundreds of cars!

The next room continues your odyssey through time, with carriages, carts, wagons and wheelchairs. Every item has a descriptive placard, most including an original bill of sale, title, source, etc.

And the beat goes on, through all 28 buildings. There are buildings for farm equipment, tractors and trucks. There are trains and steam engines. Horse livery, a pony express station, a fully equipped school house and even a church. Room after room of period furniture and furnishings. Toys, tools and weapons. The telephone display alone is priceless, and in many buildings there are decade-by-decade displays like this collection of 50's dresses! (How many of these did you have, Mom?)

Being able to browse each extensive collection in chronological order provides a context that is unique and truly extraordinary. The place is so awesome that I had to take a few breaks during my visit. Sitting on a bench in the lovely green, you're still surrounded by incredible Americana.

If you are ever driving US Hwy 30 or I-80 through Nebraska, you absolutely must make a visit to Pioneer Village. If you're as astonished by it as I am and want to spend longer than a day there, don't worry… There's a little motel and RV Park right next to the facility!

You know that I've been to many, many museums all over the world. Without question, Pioneer Village is the most incredible collection I have ever seen anywhere!

Click here to see exactly where Pioneer Village is on Google Maps.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I think they have some of my dresses! At least many look familiar... Mom