The University of Nebraska State Museum is the largest museum dedicated to natural history in the state of Nebraska. The museum is home to the world’s leading collection of fossil elephants. There are also several interactive exhibits about paleontology, as well as Native American exhibits, a planetarium, an interactive discovery room, wildlife exhibits, and more throughout the museum.

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The Tree of Life exhibit at the University of Nebraska State Museum aims allows visitors to explore the answers to questions like how humans are related to other forms of life, what traits bats and bananas have in common, and if beetles and fish share a common ancestry. The exhibit explores the complex relationships between more than seventy thousand different species with simply a touch of one finger on the interactive Tree of Life, the newest installation in the State Museum’s Explore Evolution exhibit gallery.

The engaging Tree of Life provides a visual look at evolutionary history that spans 3.5 billion years. Visitors can just swipe their finger across the touchscreen table to zoom in and out through the DeepTree, the phylogenetic tree, to discover how the countless species of life on this planet are related through shared ancestry. Visitors can explore how bananas share traits with different species of animals, how bald eagles are related to giraffes, and so many more unexpected relationships. This exhibit is incorporated into the education programs offered by the State Museum for both the public and schools.

The First Peoples of the Great Plains exhibit at the University of Nebraska State Museum shares the story of how the First Peoples who inhabited the Great Plains area of the country lived and moved across this area known as the “land beneath the sky.” The Native Americans transformed the this diverse region’s natural products into shelter, clothing, food, and tools. These solutions to the many challenges they faced living within the expansive grasslands turned into cultural traditions, which also in turn shaped religion, artistic expression, marriage, and language. This fascinating exhibit that celebrates the cultures of these Native Americans allows visitors to broaden their understanding of the enduring traditions of the FIrst Peoples of the Great Plains.

One of the State Museum’s newer exhibits, Bizarre Beasts explores more about several of the planet’s strangest creatures to have inhabited it, both in the past and today.

Bizarre Beats. This exhibit guides guests on an adventure to the past as they encounter some of nature’s most interesting animals, and explore how the environments in which these creatures live have shaped their curious features. Educational and interactive displays within the exhibit feature life-size replicas of natural oddities and cast skeletons.

The Weapons Throughout Time exhibit showcases a wide variety of weapons that span a historical time period of more than nine thousand years. Located in the Cooper Gallery, the exhibit displays various weapons once used for ceremonies, survival, and defense. Weapons in the exhibit include Samurai swords dating back to the thirteenth century to the automatic weapons of World War I.

645 North 14th Street, Lincoln, Nebraska, Phone: 402-472-2642

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