top of page




Expressing human emotions through the arts has always been an important part of American culture. In many respects, art is a cultural expression that can be found all across the world in numerous ways. For this week's lesson/activities, we are learning about some of the artists connected to our National Parks, investigating some of Buffalo County's own artistic past, and creating a Cornhusk Doll,

National Park Service - Arts, Culture, and Education: People:

A great source from the National Parks Service describes various important artists, writers, sculptors, and many others that had a lasting legacy because of their contributions to art and culture in the United States. This source is interactive and accompanied by pictures and quotes on each page. We ask our students to investigate the National Park Service website for an interesting artist that caught their interest. Then please share one piece of art, music, poetry, etc. with your parents, teachers, and the Trails & Museum! Use the National Park Service webpage.



Having an opera house in Ravenna, Kearney, and other Buffalo County communities held an important role in establishing a town. Not only was an opera house a place where plays and concerts could be performed but also established the community as an "uptown" place to be. In many cases, the Kearney and Ravenna Opera Houses were important community spaces where other businesses and transactions took place. For this lesson/activity, please click the timeline button that has notes from (Ravenna) and a newspaper article from the Kearney HUB (Kearney) and answer the following questions, here


Also, be sure to check out Buffalo Tales, Part I and Part II, for more information about the Kearney Opera House.

The Arts in Early Kearney (Part I)
The Arts in Early Kearney (Part II)


Local Artist - The Wood Wizard

Local artist Doyle Howitt (right) had a special talent in working with wood (one-piece here at Trails & Rails Museum). A special program from the Musem of Nebraska Art program on October 23, 2019, highlighted his career and the significance of his special craft:

"Self-taught artist Doyle Howitt felt a connection with the energy and beauty of natural wood from an early age. His expert woodturning skills are a labor of love, working with brilliantly colored exotic wood in this manner is a process that involves years to complete one piece."

"After the initial turning on the lathe, recently cut green wood can take up to three years to dry out before it is stable enough for final shaping. The wood is then finished by applying many layers of old-world paste wax. It is an approach to making objects that requires a masterful consummate understanding of a laborious, unique, and exquisite material."

"Dr. Doyle Howitt graduated from the Nebraska State Teachers College at Kearney with a degree in business administration and communications in 1956. After obtaining his doctorate, he worked as a school principal, and school superintendent, before returning to the now Kearney State College (renamed the University of Nebraska at Kearney in 1991) to become the Director of Housing from 1965-1972. Further positions at UNK included the Director of the Elderhostel Program."

Making your own Corn Husk Doll:

A Corn Husk Doll is a Native American toy made out of the husks of corn a corn cob. Making Corn Husk Dolls were then adopted by the early European settlers in the United States, who then added their own garments similar to that of a European settler. These homemade toys are a great project for kids and adults to take a step back in time. Trails & Rails Museum has several kits available in the gift shop with the necessary materials to construct these dolls. See these instructions and pictures below to make your own doll!

bottom of page