Research Center

The Elkhorn Valley Museum Research Center includes many photographs, historical documents, files, and books relating to local topics.

We have:

  • Family histories
  • Cemetery records
  • Obituaries
  • Manuscripts
  • Maps
  • Plat Books
  • And more

Access to the Research Center is included with Museum Admission ($6 for adults, $5 for seniors). There is a $0.25 fee for each copy and $20 for each high resolution digital image.

If you cannot come to the Museum to conduct your own research, our researchers will complete your research request. There is a $10 initial fee for all research requests and an additional $10/hr for more involved requests. All copies are $0.25 each and high resolution digital images are $20 each.

Research requests must be submitted in writing along with the $10 research fee. Click here for the Research Request Form.

Mail completed research request forms to:
Elkhorn Valley Museum
515 Queen City Blvd
Norfolk, NE 68701

or e-mail: info@elkhornvalleymuseum.org

Teamwork during the Flood of 1949
Johnny Carson

Johnny Carson

Heeeeere’s Johnny!

The Johnny Carson Gallery opened in September 2002. It contains items that Johnny himself chose to exhibit in his hometown of Norfolk, Nebraska. The gallery is a showcase of Johnny’s formative years, his 30 years on the Tonight Show, and the six Emmys he received during that time.

Johnny was born on October 23, 1925 in Corning, Iowa. Although born in Iowa, Johnny moved to Norfolk, NE at age 8 and always considered it his hometown. He graduated from Norfolk Senior High and the University of Nebraska, Lincoln. In 1946, he joined the Navy where he entertained many people including the Secretary of the Navy.

His career in show business began by performing his magic act for many local organizations in Norfolk! Later, he worked at KFAB Radio in Lincoln, NE and WOW Radio in Omaha, NE before moving to California. He started on The Tonight Show on October 1, 1962 and continued for 30 years until his last show on May 22, 1992. Johnny passed away January 23, 2005.

Johnny Carson’s childhood home is located at 306 S. 13th St., Norfolk, NE. It is a private residence, but there is a large sign in the front yard.

Johnny Carson videos are available in the Museum Gift Shop.

Exhibits

The Elkhorn Valley Museum is home to many permanent exhibits including the Square Turn Tractor, the Johnny Carson Gallery, Notable Locals, a historical timeline, the Children’s Discovery Zone and the Double K Chicken.

The LaBarre Gallery is a temporary exhibit gallery with changing exhibits 1-2 times each year. The current exhibit, on view from January 2017 – October 2017 is “Celebrating Our Past: Norfolk at 150”

We also have 3 small cases in the front of the museum that change every 2-6 months.

"In the Kitchen" exhibit at the Elkhorn Valley Museum
Discovery Zone

Children's Discovery Zone

The Children’s Discovery Zone consists of hands-on activity areas, each with a separate and unique focus, but all designed to give children the opportunity to learn by doing and exploring. The Discovery Zone is designed specifically for children ages 2 to 8 and their families.

Some highlights include:

  • Creation Station – an arts and crafts area.
  • Grocery Store – an interactive child-size grocery store, complete with carts, groceries, a price scanner, and a cash register.
  • The Granada Stage & Puppet Theater – The stage, costumes, puppets, and props give every child the chance to be a star!
  • Model train that runs the perimeter of the room
  • Toy train table with a full-size railroad crossing sign
  • Life-size dinosaur skeleton peeking out above a tunnel for children to crawl through to the Creation Station
  • …and much more!
Children’s Discovery Zone Birthday Parties!!

The Elkhorn Valley Museum’s Children’s Discovery Zone is very excited to be part of your child’s birthday celebration! Celebrate your child’s next birthday at the Children’s Discovery Zone and let us assist you in making it a memorable one! Click here for more information.

Verges Park

Owned by the Elkhorn Valley Museum, Verges Park is a beautiful place full of nature and rich in history.

  • The garden in Verges Park, located directly west of the Lueshen Bird Library, is maintained by the Master Gardeners.
  • The Dederman Cabin is one of the oldest buildings in Norfolk! Some of the original settlers to the area, the Dederman family, constructed the building in 1868-69.
  • The Dederman Schoolhouse is a one-room country schoolhouse that was in use until 2006!
  • Much lore exists around the creation of The Cave, but we do know that it was dug in the first half of the 1900s and was used for parties and meetings during the mid-1900s!

The Cabin, Schoolhouse, and Cave are open during special events.
Check our calendar of events for more information!

Verges Park is a lovely place for a picnic or a stroll.
Please enjoy it with respect.
Dogs must be on leashes.

Verges Park is available to rent for photo shoots and events.
Click Here for more information about photography.

Verges Park
Lueshen Bird Library

Lueshen Bird Library

The Lueshen Bird Library houses hundreds of books relating to ornithology and the study of nature. There is also a large viewing window overlooking bird feeders in the Verges Park garden and family-friendly nature activities.

Endowed by the estate of the late John and Willetta Lueshen, the Bird Library was organized on June 19, 1989. Willetta was a friend and teacher of the art of “birding.” She taught classes on birds at Northeast Community College in Norfolk.

The Lueshen Bird Library is open Saturdays 10am-5pm and during the week by request. Available on a computer in the front of the Museum, the public has the opportunity to view photos of many bird prints taken from nine volumes of “The Natural History of Birds of the United States,” created from 1808 – 1814 by Alexander Wilson of Philadelphia, PA. Our museum is one of very few who have this rare collection.

The Lueshen’s Birders Club meets in the Lueshen Bird Library at 7:00pm on the second Tuesday of April, May, June, September, and October. For more information about Lueshen’s Birders, visit their website.

Artifacts

The Elkhorn Valley Museum has over 10,000 artifacts in its collection, including everything from postcards and photographs to dresses and uniforms to kitchen utensils and farm implements!

Most of the artifacts in the Elkhorn Valley Museum’s collection were donated. The Museum continues to collect artifacts that directly relate to the daily life of people in the 22 counties of Northeast Nebraska.

If you have something that fits these criteria and you would like to donate it to the Elkhorn Valley Museum, please email your contact information and as many details as possible about the object. We are especially interested in who owned the object, where it was used, and when it was made and used. If you have pictures of the object, please email them, too. All potential donations will be reviewed during monthly meetings of the Artifact Committee, and the Committee will decide if your object is a good fit for the Museum’s collection. After the meeting, the Museum will contact you with the Committee’s decision.

Thank you for your interest in the Elkhorn Valley Museum!