Stuhr Museum of the Prairie Pioneer is a museum in Nebraska…not really near me because let’s face it, Nebraska is HUGE.
But it’s near enough that I’ve gotten there a couple of times.
It’s absolutely fascinating. A laid-out circle of buildings that have been brought it, that date to the 1800s.
I may write five blogs about it because there is SO MUCH. I could spend days there and just look and read and look and read.
But today I’m writing about the recreated Earthen Lodge built there.
In the early 1800s the Pawnee lived mainly in only a few towns. Six or seven.
In each town were 40 to 200 of these earthen lodges.
Each lodge held around 20 Pawnee and each village could contain from 800 to 3500 tribal members.
These were big towns.
The smallest one is larger than my hometown.
This first picture is a diagram of the lodge. It’s laid out to respect the power the Native people gave to the earth. It was called The Circle of Life. Both symbolic and literally the source of their family, their safety, their food, their shelter. Truly a circle of life for them.
For me, museums are most fun when there are lots of words. This picture above is for the Pawnee History that is celebrated with this earthen lodge. I hope you can read it. I spend more time READING in museums than looking at the objects contained there.
This is the side view of the lodge from outside. It’s exactly as you’d think it would be. A hole dug into a hill. Remember this is Nebraska. It gets cold! The insulation from dirt is excellent, though it still seems like it’s be a little cold to me.
Here it is from the front, this is the entrance. It’s full size and we were able to go inside.
This is the inside edge of the lodge. You can see there is a layer of grassy seating off the ground. The Pawnee would sit here, around the fire, and could sleep here at night. A single lodge could house dozens of tribal members.
Here you can see the tree trunks that support the ceiling, even though it’s inside an earthen mount it is hollowed out and they need to keep the ceiling up. Note the opening in the ceiling. A fire was built in the center of the lodge and it would warm everyone, the smoke would rise up through the hole, they could cook over it and heat water to wash.
Stuhr Museum of the Prairie Pioneer. A fascinating slice of history in Minden Nebraska in the heart of the Nebraska prairie.