MISSION STATEMENT — In keeping with the research, teaching, and outreach missions of the Center for Great Plains Studies and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, the mission of the Great Plains Art Museum is to collect, preserve, research, and interpret the art and literature of the Great Plains region and to foster study and enhance appreciation, through changing exhibits and public programs, the history and creative spirit of the Great Plains of North America.
OUR HISTORY — The Great Plains Art Museum opened in 1981 after a generous donation from Dr. John and Elizabeth Christlieb of Bellevue, Nebraska. The Christliebs donated to the Center for the Great Plains Studies at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln their valued collection of western art, library of western Americana, and provided an endowment for the care and maintenance of the Collection.
The Christlieb Collection serves as the foundation of the Great Plains Art Museum’s permanent collection. The Collection consists of bronze sculptures, paintings and drawings, other works on paper, and photographs, and includes artwork by Albert Bierstadt, William de la Montagne Cary, Robert F. Gilder, William Henry Jackson, Frederic Remington, Charles M. Russell, and Olaf Wieghorst. The library contains an impressive 7,500 volumes, consisting of several Western novels and many other fiction and nonfiction books about the West and the Great Plains.
Since 1980, many generous donors have helped to enlarge the collection with additional gifts, including twentieth-century Native American paintings from Patricia J. and Stanley H. Broder, the Richard Lane collection of western fiction and history, and the Regina Collection of Canadian Plains literature. The Great Plains Art Museum is the home to many works of art by such artists as Lyman Byxbe, Ray Ellis, John Falter, Michael Forsberg, Charles Guildner, Veryl Goodnight, Cliff Hollestelle, Laurie Houseman-Whitehawk, Keith Jacobshagen, Ted Long, Herb Mignery, Andrew Peters, Martha and Del Pettigrew, Jackson Pollock, Norman Rockwell, and Grant Wood.
Exhibits are typically rotated every two months and include artwork from the permanent collection, guest curated exhibitions, and traveling exhibits.