1:00–4:00 p.m., Thursday thru Saturday afternoons from April thru September.

1:00–4:00 p.m., Thursday thru Saturday afternoons from April thru September.

The Opera House
Midway School
Pioneer Crossing

Our Mission Statement:

Proving a pleasant place to reflect on the history and people of Harlan County Nebraska

See How it All Began

The Harlan County Historical Society Museum is presently located in Orleans, Nebraska, and has been there since the 1970’s.   Some of the artifacts from the area were previously stored in the basement of the local library.   There came a time when the then library board wanted to take back their space for library activities.   Local citizens joined with the Nebraska State Historical Society to form a board to create a county museum in the former Opera House/Movie theater which is its present location.  The original planners of this project were Winnie Kuhl,  Ernie Kuhl, his son and William Dunlay. During the process they formed the Harlan County Historical Society, a branch of the state group of the same name.

The main towns and villages that make up Harlan County and the displays at The Harlan County Museum are: Alma, Republican City, Ragan, Carter, Mascot, Huntley, Orleans, Stamford, and East Oxford.  Rural areas are included as well.

The Hufnagel "Pieta"

Commissioned by Frank Hufnagel (of Orleans) circa 1878

The The Hufnagel Pieta is a nineteenth century work of art depicting the Virgin Mary holding the dead body of Jesus in her arms. The Pieta statue was recently been restored, and is housed in the main building of the Harlan County museum, just before entering the Opera House.  The Pieta originally came from St. Mary’s Church in Orleans.  Mr. Hufnagel ordered this piece from Germany and donated it to the church in about 1878.  A successful bachelor farmer also donated the land for the first Catholic cemetery west of Orleans.


Ruben Log Cabin

Outside the main building, there are several other structures that have been preserved.  The Ruben Log Cabin that was built by Andrew Ruben on his homestead west of Orleans is set up there.  School District 76 was organized in 1893. The school was located west of Alma on the Conrad and Jack Boehler ground.  This building is part of the Harlan County Museum complex.  The Harlan County Historical Society purchased this building in 1976 for $1,000.00

Harlan County Museum Hours

Memorial Day through Labor Day
1:00–4:00 p.m., Thursday thru Saturday afternoons

Harlan County Museum Location

420 S. Harlan Ave
Orleans, Nebraska 68966

Appointments Welcomed  Call the Harlan County Historical Society Museum at (308) 928-2110 to schedule a private tour of the museum during off season hours.

Museum Hours

1:00–4:00 p.m., Thursday thru Saturday afternoons from April thru September

Museum Location

424 Harlan Avenue Orleans, Nebraska

The Harlan County Museum welcomes you to their online experience. Please visit us when you can to enjoy the history of our county,