Skip to main content Official Nebraska Government Website

Nebraska Capitol Collections

Formally organized in 1991, the Nebraska Capitol Collections is a valuable tool for preservation architects at the State Capitol as they undertake renovation and restoration projects. Equally important, the Capitol Collections also provide information about the building for Capitol staff in their daily operation and maintenance of the systems in the building.

Nebraska Capitol Collections

Indian Tapestry Maquette

The Nebraska Capitol Collections consist of an Archival Collection, a Permanent Collection and a Circulating Collection. The Capitol Archive holds architectural drawings, correspondence, photographs and records relating to the construction of the present Capitol and the ongoing preservation, restoration and maintenance of the building.

The Circulating and Permanent Collections hold furnishings, light fixtures, hardware and other elements of the building not currently in use or retired from active use. The staff of the Nebraska Capitol Collections serves the Office of the Capitol Commission by collecting, preserving, researching and interpreting documents and objects related to the Capitol and its environs.

The Capitol Commission, during their oversight of the competition and construction of the new Capitol, maintained thousands of pieces of correspondence and drawings, beginning in 1920 with the competition documents and concluding with the final report to the House and Senate in 1935. Since that time other items have been added to the collections, including documents relating to subsequent renovations. Today the Capitol Archival Collection includes more than 8,000 architectural drawings and blueprints, 2,500 photographs and more than 250,000 pieces of correspondence and related records. The Circulating and Permanent Collections contains more than 10,000 three-dimensional items.

Ongoing projects include the organization and preservation of the blueprint collection and the creation of a database to catalog the collection. Staff continues to research the collections in support of current restoration projects. Because of the recent organization of the Nebraska Capitol Collections, long term goals include organizing the correspondence, creating databases for the correspondence and the photograph collection, and reorganizing the three-dimensional objects in the collection in renovated storage areas.

Additional information about the Nebraska Capitol Collection can be obtained from the Office of the Capitol Commission, Attn: Capitol Archivist, P.O. Box 94696, Lincoln, Ne 68509-4696. Or e-mail the Capitol Archivist.

Mission Statement

Office of the Capitol Commission
Nebraska Capitol Collections OCC/NCC

Recognizing that the Office of the Capitol Commission is the main institution charged with the restoration, preservation, maintenance, and promotion of the Nebraska State Capitol building, and that the Capitol Collections are indispensable for such work, the OCC/NCC has adopted the following mission statement to define its role, and guide its efforts, in the overall program to preserve and maintain the Capitol.

The OCC/NCC exists to collect, preserve, research, and interpret objects, documentation, and information significantly related to the Capitol. The Capitol is defined as the present building and its landscape, designed by architect Bertram Grosvenor Goodhue and built from 1922 to 1932. The site is bound by 14th, 16th, H, and K streets. The Nebraska Capitol Collections consist of three separate groups: the Archival Collections, the Permanent Collections and the Circulating Collections. The Archival Collections serve as an architectural archive, designed to collect, maintain, and study documentary materials concerning the Capitol, its construction, preservation, maintenance, and history.

Tower elevation architectural drawing

The Circulating Collections also extend these services to natural and synthetic objects removed from service, which are elements of the Capitol’s architecture. When feasible, such objects are returned to functional use within the Capitol or its environs. The Permanent Collections exist to preserve objects permanently retired from use. These objects are used for research and reference purposes; documenting original finishes, construction techniques and other aspects important to the accurate restoration and preservation of pieces in the Circulating Collections and of the Capitol itself. The mission of the OCC/NCC is further defined as follows:

Collecting

The collections are the foundation of the OCC/NCC program. The program’s first responsibility, therefore, is to create and maintain systematic collections of objects, documentation, and information regarding the Capitol, its development, and history. The OCC/NCC focuses mainly on collecting pertinent documentation from the state institutions that are, and have been, responsible for the care of the Capitol. The OCC/NCC also focuses on collecting original components of the building which must be removed and might otherwise be lost.

The OCC/NCC will also collect objects, documentation, and information from sources outside of state government. In such cases, planning and research as required to secure and authenticate the origin and history of the material in question will occur. The OCC/NCC shall use all legal means of collecting, and shall give due consideration to all ethical matters that may arise during these pursuits.

Preservation

The second responsibility of the OCC/NCC program is to preserve the materials within its collections. Preservation of artifacts shall include appropriate storage, conservation, and cataloguing as accepted by the museum profession. Preservation of documents and related materials will include proper storage, conservation, processing, and, when applicable, reproduction as accepted by the archival profession.


Conserving stencils for ceiling artwork in West chamber

Preservation of original stencil pattern for West Chamber ceiling

Research

To a great extent, the OCC/NCC mission depends upon adequate research, which is the third responsibility of the program. The collections exist, and are preserved, in order to support the restoration, preservation, maintenance, and promotion of the Capitol. The OCC/NCC will, therefore, usually limit its research activities to one or more of these areas. Although this research will be based primarily on OCC/NCC holdings, it may also draw upon outside collections and resources as situations warrant.

Interpretation

The fourth responsibility of the program is the interpretation and promotion of the Capitol. The OCC/NCC may choose to interpret any aspect of the Capitol, its construction, and history. This may take the form of tours, presentations, publications, exhibits, and outreach programs.

Are You Interested in Seeing the Building in Person?

We're open 7 days a week, so plan a visit here. Then, explore some photos and perhaps read more about the Memorial Chamber.

Historic Rooms

The architect who designed the Nebraska State Capitol was Bertram Goodhue. The thematic program of the Capitol was developed by Dr. Hartley Burr Alexander. Sculptor for the Capitol was Lee Lawrie, and Hildreth Meiere designed all the floor and ceiling mosaics. The building was constructed over a ten year period in four building phases. Construction began in 1922 and was completed in 1932. Total cost of the building was just under $10 million.


Take the Online Tour   »

Capitol quick facts

  • Construction started in 1922, completed in 1932.
  • The architect was Bertram G. Goodhue.
  • There are 15 floors above ground.
  • The building is 400 feet tall.
  • It is the third Nebraska State Capitol.
  • It cost $9.8 million in 1932 dollars.

Discover the American architectural masterpiece

Small Google Map

Find us

1445 K Street
We’re on K, between 14th and 16th Streets
Lincoln, Nebraska 68509–4696
.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) · (402) 471–0448

Getting Here »

Building hours

  • Monday ‐ Friday: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Saturday ⁄ Holidays: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Sunday: 1 to 5 p.m.
  • Tours Available on the Hour
    (Except at Noon)
  • Open every day except Thanksgiving Day, the Friday after, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day.