Imagine yourself as an artist exploring the western American frontier. You’ve never seen anything like it. What would you choose to show? And if you were hearing amazing tales about the West in an era before cameras, movies or smartphones, what would you seek out for yourself?

Explore these questions and more in a new temporary exhibit, Imprinting the West: Manifest Destiny, Real and Imagined, November 13 through January 6, 2018, at the Nebraska History Museum in Lincoln.

Prints and engravings by Frederic Remington, John J. Audubon, and Albert Bierstadt show how some of America’s most influential artists saw the West, and how they shaped public perceptions of the region and its people. These forty-eight hand-colored engravings and lithographs include works by George Catlin and Frederic Remington, who documented native peoples and westward migration. Other artists sold fanciful engravings to popular periodicals such as Harper’s Weekly, or to the mass market.

Whether real or imagined, these images show the birth of the West as an idea in American popular culture. The temporary exhibition is provided by ExhibitsUSA, a division of the Mid-American Arts Alliance.


Special event: “Looking at Manifest Destiny,” Wednesday, November 15, 2017 – 5:30 pm to 6:30 pm, Nebraska History Museum

Join Nancy Gillis for an examination of “Manifest Destiny” and its impact on Nebraskans, both native and immigrant. The free public talk is offered in conjunction with the traveling exhibit, Imprinting the West: Manifest Destiny, Real and Imagined, on exhibit from November 13-January 8. Of Cherokee and Choctaw heritage, Nancy was the executive director at the NSHS’s John G. Neihardt State Historic Site and offers talks on Nebraska tribes and settlement through the Humanities Nebraska speakers’ bureau.

Learn more about NSHS events.


Above: Karl Bodmer, Missouri Indian, Oto Indian, Chief of the Puncus, n.d., hand-colored engraving, 21 x 25, private collection. Photo: E.G. Schempf. Bodmer traveled up the Missouri River in 1833-34; the Ponca and Otoe-Missouria tribes have Nebraska ties.