Re-opening June 2

June Hours: Tues-Fri 9-5

Step Back in Time With Us

The history of Washington County is as rich and varied as its people.

Our history starts with fur trading posts, Native tribes, and Lewis & Clark, who held their first meeting with the Otoe here. Fifteen years later Fort Atkinson was established, the first military presence west of the Missouri River.  Home to the 6th Infantry and housing over 20% of the United States Army, this outpost on “earth’s remotest bounds” became the site of the first school, library, hospital and large-scale agricultural operation in what would later become the state of Nebraska. Fort Atkinson projected the might of the military into the growing fur trade and kept the peace with local tribes.  Within a few years, Brigham Young established a farming operation here called “Summer Quarters” to feed the influx of Mormon emigrants, using the bricks and land once used by the frontier army. The door to western settlement flew open and within a few years, towns such as De Soto, Rockport, Cuming City and Fort Calhoun were being platted and families were establishing homes and businesses.

These early settlers and pioneers built on what was before them, just as we have built on what they did.  The Washington County Historical Association was established to preserve the history of these early pioneers and to honor their memories.

The Washington County Historical Association has been operating since 1925 in the heart of historic Fort Calhoun, just a short drive on Highway 75 north of Omaha.  We are caretakers of the oldest county museum in the state, housed in the historic Fort Calhoun State Bank building. See artifacts from the excavation of Fort Atkinson, then go 3 blocks east to tour the rebuilt fort and 1820’s military life.

See the history of this county that welcomed famous mountain men, Mormon Pioneers, and early homesteaders to Nebraska. The museum tells the story through Lewis & Clark’s visit here, Native American artifacts, military relics, and stories of the early pioneers.

Researching your ancestors from Washington County? Our library contains thousands of genealogical records, old newspapers and maps, court records and more.  We can assist you with your family records.

While you are here, visit the 1905 Frahm House and see the story of the Frahm Family, early Fort Calhoun pioneers. This lovely Victorian Home is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is available for tours by appointment and for rental.  Whether you are a Nebraska native wanting to see something new, or an out-of-state traveler looking for historic stops, call us today and we can help make your visit a step back in time.

Our Latest News & Events

To see more of our Latest News and Events, click below.

Vintage Bathing Costumes

and other unmentionables! On display at the Frahm House August 11-Aug 15 12-4 pm each day Bloomers, skirts, stockings and hats! All to go swimming! See this wonderful collection of Victorian and Edwardian swim fashion for men and women. Other “dainties” also on display – undergarments, union suits, loungewear and more. Friday: ice cream on

WCHAT: The Plains Tribes and the Homestead Act

by Nancy Gillis Sponsored by Humanities Nebraska Tuesday, Aug. 4 @ 6:30 pm Location: Cherry Hill Church (across from the museum, next to the Longhorn) Native American tribes have always inhabited the immense tract of land called the Great Plains. They interacted with their environment, neighboring tribes, and European trappers and explorers for centuries. The

FREE Admission Days for Families with Kids

Friday, July 17 Friday, August 14 Bring out the kiddos – whether you have 1 or 10 – the whole family is FREE. Plenty of hands-on activities – be a soldier, mountain man or pioneer, old-fashioned bank teller or archaeologist. Explorer our Pioneer History exhibit while on a museum scavenger hunt. Museum open 9-5. July

Virtual Tour of our Basement

Join Curator Faith as she introduces us to little known items in our collection. Medical devices, cooking utensils, clothing and interesting artifacts from our vault. check back often – new videos posted daily

Museum Re-opening June 2

After being closed to the public since March, we are looking forward to re-opening on Tuesday, June 2. We will be open Tuesday through Friday from 9-5 pm. Saturdays will remain closed for the immediate future. During this time “off”, we have been upgrading our exhibits, our facilities and ensuring that YOU have a interesting

Pioneer Exhibit Opening

Our Pioneer Memorial Gallery is now open. Come experience the history of Washington County – early fur traders and Mormon pioneers, the building of towns, businesses and farms. Experience the stories of our earliest pioneers and homesteaders, and see the transition from horse power to nuclear power.

Contact us

Washington County Historical Association
102 N. 14th Street
P.O. Box 25
Fort Calhoun, NE 68023

Museum Hours

Sunday: Closed
Monday: Closed
T – F: 9 to 5
Saturday: 9am – 1pm
Frahm House: By Appointment