kearney archway logo

Spanning I-80 at Exit 275, the Archway offers a unique historical exhibit that brings American history to life and so much more.

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About Us


Since it opened in the year 2000, the Archway has stood as an enduring tribute to the adventurers who traveled the Great Platte River Road though Nebraska and helped to build America. Over the years, we have welcomed and inspired over 1.5 million visitors with our story.

The Archway celebrates the American spirit of adventure.

Our Mission

The Archway preserves our history, shares our story, and inspires our visitors to participate in the American adventure of discovery, innovation, and leadership.

Staff Members

Kellie Risk
Guest Services/Volunteer Coordinator
JoAnne Hoatson
Executive Director
Amber Clement
Marketing/Event Coordinator

What’s Happening

Need the latest on The Archway? With our newsletter, guests and supporters can read about the latest events The Archway hosted as well as upcoming events, recent press releases and announcements. Please contact Marketing / Event Coordinator Amber Clement (308.237.1000 | with any questions.


Let’s Fly a Kite

Date: July 21, 2022
Time: 11:00 am - 1:00 pm
Location: The Archway

Let’s fly a kite! Join us for a fun day of building, decorating, and flying your own kite! Learn how to fly your kite correctly and safely and then take it home to keep the fun going! Enjoy a meal of hotdogs, chips, lemonade, and popsicles! Ticket price of 12 per child! Registration is required!

Soda Fountain Sundae – Deborah Greenblatt

Date: July 24, 2022
Time: 2:30 pm - 3:30 pm
Location: The Archway

Join us for a FREE event! Deborah Greenblatt presents James Whitecomb Riley, the Riddling Childrens Poet. Following the program, join us for root beer floats. Presented with the support of Humanities Nebraska.

Fishing with First Responders – Reels and Rescues

Date: July 26, 2022
Time: 5:30 pm - 7:30 pm
Location: Nebraska Firefighters Museum Pond
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Come fishing with us and your local First Responders at the Nebraska Firefighters Museum’s pond! No experience required and we offer all of the fishing equipment needed. AT&T Wireless will also be providing food for the day. Just come out and join us in conjunction with EMS and AirCare!

Summerfest – A Family Celebration

Date: July 30, 2022
Time: 11:00 am - 4:00 pm
Location: The Archway
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Gather family and friends together to join us for Summerfest! We’ll have a bounce house, trackless train ride, giant slide, bungy trampoline, food trucks, and so much more! A group ticket for Summerfest covers admission for groups of 2-4 people for $25.

Click the link to the left to register.

Soda Fountain Sundae – Dan Holtz

Date: August 21, 2022
Time: 2:30 pm - 3:30 pm
Location: The Archway

Join us for a FREE event at the Archway! Dan Holtz presents Nebraska Through Song and Story. Following the program, join us for root beer floats. Presented with the support of Humanities Nebraska.


Date: October 23, 2022
Time: 2:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Location: The Archway

Join us as we partner with Kearney Park and Recreation for the family-friendly afternoon packed with Halloween fun! Paint a funny face on a pumpkin, race through the creepy obstacle course, try your hand at the spooky carnival games and enjoy a festive day! The cost is $5/person. Pre-registration is not required but is encouraged. Purchase tickets at


Experience the American Spirit of Adventure

Since prehistoric times, the path along the Platte River through Nebraska, once known as the Great Platte River Road, has served as a migratory route across the continent. From the Oregon Trail era to today, the Archway brings the story of the Great Platte River Road to life.

The heart of the Archway experience is our historical exhibit that pays tribute to the American spirit of adventure. Using life size figures and personal audio guides, the Archway tells the story of the building of America. At the Archway, you’ll walk with the pioneers over the Oregon Trail. Watch a rider switch horses at a Pony Express Station. Hear Mark Twain’s account of a cross country stage coach trip. Relive the driving of the “Golden Spike” that united the nation’s railroads. Visit a traveler’s campground to hear stories of life on “America’s Main Street,” the Lincoln Highway.

Spanning I-80, today’s coast-to-coast travel corridor, at Exit 275, the Archway celebrates the lives of all of the adventurers who follow the river’s path, those of the past, who helped to build our nation, and those of today, who will shape our future.

Archway Origins

The Archway was originally conceived by Frank Morrison, the 31st Governor of Nebraska, who served from 1961-1967. It was his dream to create an enduring monument to the adventurers who followed the Great Platte River Road and helped to build America.

Imagine the daring and determination of the people who first traveled the Oregon Trail, the high-spirited adventure of racing to California during the Gold Rush of 1849, the devotion of the Mormons who moved west in search of religious freedom, the entrepreneurial spirit that lead to the creation of the Pony Express, the industry that built the Transcontinental Railroad and the cooperative effort that lead to the creation of “America’s Main Street,” the Lincoln Highway and the Interstate Highway System. Individuals of vision and courage found ways to work together to turn their dreams into reality and to contribute to an enterprise that was much bigger than themselves. The Archway tells this evocative story and seeks to inspire current day adventurers to face today’s challenges with courage and tenacity in order to continue to build a nation in which we can all take justifiable pride.

The Archway’s Innovative Structure

The Archway’s historical exhibit, shop, theater and event room are housed in a dramatic structure that spans I-80 at Exit 275. The building’s exterior was designed to emulate a covered bridge. The colors on the arch’s surface represent those of a Midwest sunrise.

Talk about American ingenuity! The engineers in charge of building the Archway were faced with the challenge of erecting a 1,500 ton structure that would eventually be suspended above one of the most heavily traveled highways in the Midwest without impeding the regular flow of traffic.

They decided that the best way to accomplish their task would be to build the two supporting towers on either side of the highway and build the arch portion of the structure separately, at ground level, near the highway. When all of the elements were ready, the most complex segment of the project was implemented. First, using hydraulic jacks, the arch section of the building was lifted 22.5 feet in the air. Then, it was jacked horizontally on to heavy duty, self-propelled modular transporters that would carry the structure across the highway. The process of lifting the structure on to the transporters took eight days.

On August 16, 1999, a section of the interstate was closed and at 10:00pm, the transporters began their work of slowly moving the structure across the highway. By 6:00am on August 17, the arch segment was in place over concrete abutment walls that are 60 feet long, 25 feet tall and 2 feet thick.   The arch segment was welded into place and finishing work began. The Archway opened for visitors on June 9, 2000. Since that time, over 1.5 million visitors have toured the historic exhibit and have been inspired by the Archway spirit of adventure.

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