Omaha museum opens basement vault collections to public
OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — A history museum in Omaha is opening its vaults to visitors this month for a viewing of carefully preserved items normally unavailable to the public.
The Durham Museum is allowing the public to view delicate items stored in basement collection vaults through its new “Museum Insider” series, the Omaha World-Herald reported .
The series begins April 21 with a tour of the museum’s collection on Byron Reed, one of the founders of Omaha. The series will continue next month with basement tours of its permanent collection.
“This is the first time for us to be opening this up,” said Carrie Meyer, the museum’s director of curatorial and education services. “People want to know what goes on behind the closed doors.”
Attendance is limited on each tour, but the museum will hold extra sessions depending on interest, Meyer said. Visitors will tour signage from Peony Park, World War II memorabilia and vintage coronation gowns from the Aksarben Coronation and Scholarship Ball.
A silk Aksarben coronation gown is an example of a fragile item that requires attentive preservation. The gowns cannot be hung or placed on a mannequin because they will likely dry out over time and tear under its own weight.
Groups of 10 or more can request private viewings of certain museum collections, including items from Byron Reed, Union Station or the 1898 Trans-Mississippi Exposition.
Some items in the basement vaults will visit the exhibit floor at times. Others must stay to keep intact, even if visitors never get to view them.
“If you look up ‘museum’ in the dictionary, it is a collection,” Meyer said. “The exhibiting is not what makes the museum. The collecting makes the museum.”
Information from: Omaha World-Herald, http://www.omaha.com