Day 6: Inside the Archway Museum

Mum pushes Trixie in her cart through the Archway Museum's realistic displays.

Mum pushes Trixie in her cart through the Archway Museum’s realistic displays.

Pops ascended the escalator (the second largest in the state of Nebraska we were told) to the start of the museum – it is contained within the arch going over the highways, perhaps 30 feet wide all the way across, with a gentle rise to give the impression of the rolling hills the pioneers went over. Equipped with headsets, and instructed by one of the proprietors who was delighted to talk to people from the far away and exotic land of Greenland, NH, we went through the museum, starting at a diorama of Fort Kearney, past the wagon and handcart trains, and viewing the way the land may have looked in a sanitized wax-museum way. A sprinkling of artifacts lined some rooms, with quotes and pictures of the dispossessed Native Americans, and a video wall of buffalo racing across the grassland in a stampede and a pony express station were all part of the long journey across the bridge, which saw the end of Kearney’s heyday with the arrival of the railroad.

Then, up another elevator to the next floor to walk back, past the railroad, and the coming of the dreaded American tourist and their cars, going on road trips, and finally a slice of Americana, with a drive-in theater and diner – which had a window and radar detector looking out at the highway below.

We descended to the ground floor in the elevator happy to have made the stop, and after perusing the gift shop and avoiding a swarm of children arriving to tour the place, left. We paused at the Nebraska Fire Museum to pick up a couple trinkets, and by another souvenir & gift shop in town before rejoining the highway and speeding on west.

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