Nebraska Foundation hosting Burlington Route exhibit, rail conference

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RED CLOUD, Neb. — The Willa Cather Foundation is sponsoring a new exhibit, “Western Wonderlands: The Burlington Railroad in the American West” at the Red Cloud Opera House Gallery. This curated exhibit highlights the ways that railroads — especially the Burlington — have changed the culture of the American West. Land posters, excursion advertising, depictions of immigrant labor and African-American porter culture, and memorabilia collections reflect the lasting influence of railroads on the lands and people of the West.

The exhibit will run May 30 to July 31. It is free and open to the public and is funded in part by Humanities Nebraska and the Nebraska Cultural Endowment.

In addition to the exhibit, the foundation’s spring conference will highlight railroads. Running June 1 to 3, the conference is titled “Picturing the American West: The Railroad and Popular Imagination.” It looks broadly at the changes brought by the railroad to the physical and cultural landscape of the West, with special emphasis on its role in the arts, music, and literature.

Presentations include:

June 1: Brent D. Glass, Director Emeritus of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History and author of 50 Great American Places will present “The Public Memory of Railroads: Preserving and Presenting America’s Defining Technology.”

June 2: A. James Reisdorff: “Pulling Up Stakes: When Trains Leave Town” at the Burlington Depot in Red Cloud. Reisdorff is a well-known Nebraska rail historian and owner of South Plate Press. The Red Cloud Cannonball, a vaudeville-inspired variety bill featuring classic railroad tunes and comedy. The Red Cloud Cannonball is a tribute to the Opera House’s early days, when traveling troupes arrived by train to entertain the local crowds.

June 3: The Passing Show “Red Cloud’s Railroads: Myth and Metaphor” moderated by Dr. Ann Tschetter with panelists: Dr. Elissa Sartwell, Ann Satterthwaite, Dr. Mark Facknitz.

NEWSWIRETrains News Wire

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