Skip to main content

Great Plains Black History Museum Collection

 Collection — Box: 1-16
Identifier: GPBHM

Scope and Contents

Archival material from the Great Plains Black History Museum (GPBHM) consists of over 200 document boxes of letters, photographs, clippings, artifacts, and other collection material. An archivist for the GPBHM inventoried the material and identified potential series for the collection, including Local Histories, Black Institutions, Family Papers, Rare Books, Musical Scores, Bertha Calloway’s Research Collection, Photographs, Artifacts, and Unknown or Miscellaneous documents.

Documented here is a limited amount of that material, with 16 document boxes measuring 6.4 cubic feet. They include many interesting documents ranging from flyers to events held on campus to meeting minutes of the African Support Committee of Omaha to photographs from the early 20th century. This material is organized into eight series: Black History, Black Studies at the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO), Education (College), Education (PreK-12), Museum Administration, Military, Sports, and Miscellaneous. A description of each series is available by clicking on each series.


  • Creation: 1906 - 1997

Conditions Governing Access

This material is temporarily in the custody of UNO Libraries Archives and Special Collections. Access to this material requires permission from staff of the Great Plains Black History Museum.

Biographical / Historical

The Great Plains Black History Museum officially opened in February 1976. In its early years, it received funding from the city of Omaha and private and corporate foundations. They operated on a shoe-string budget with founder Bertha Calloway often working without a salary. Calloway was always gathering artifacts, stories, and papers relating to Black History, and sought to share the rich history of African Americans with the Omaha community. As during these early years, the Museum's mission today is to "preserve, educate, and exhibit the contributions and achievements of African Americans with an emphasis on the Great Plains region, as well as provide a space to learn, explore, reflect and remember our history" (


6.4 Cubic Feet (This material is held temporarily at UNO Libraries' Archives & Special Collections for processing and digitization. In total, the GPBHM collection is over 100 cubic feet and in GPBHM's custody.)

Language of Materials


Custodial History

UNO archivists picked up 22 document boxes of GPBHM material from Omaha Public Library's downtown branch in December 2021 and March 2022 for processing and digitization. The processed material, along with duplicates and non-relevant material, will be returned at the conclusion of the work.

Preservation note

Staff copied original newspaper clippings onto bond paper for preservation purposes when the physical state of the clippings necessitated it. Staff then placed those copies in the collection folders, and stored the originals separately.

Great Plains Black History Museum Collection
Holly Timmerman, student employee (2022); Lori Schwartz, Hagel and Technical Services Archivist (2022)
May 2022
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Processing of this material was made possible through the Eugene S. and Sunny M. Thomas Endowed Fund for Innovation.

Repository Details

Part of the University of Nebraska at Omaha Archives & Special Collections Repository

Archives & Special Collections
Dr. C.C. and Mabel L. Criss Library
6001 Dodge St.
Omaha Nebraska 68182-0237 United States