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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 visitors to the Archway will experience the courageous adventure of the Great Platte River Road in the settlement of the American West.

Staff Members

Kellie Risk
Guest Services/Volunteer Coordinator
krisk@archway.org
Jill Epley
Event Coordinator
jepley@archway.org
Sharmond R. Loeffler
Assistant Director
sloeffler@archway.org
Mark Foradori
Marketing Coordinator
mforadori@archway.org

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 Coordinator Mark Foradori (308.237.1000 | mforadori@archway.org) with any questions.

6 days ago

Kearney Archway

The pioneers who traveled the Great Platte River Road encountered hardships, faced up to many challenges and made tremendous sacrifices to reach their destination. In the end, they found ways to work together to achieve their goals. Together, they built America. At the Archway in Kearney, Nebraska, we celebrate the spirit of the pioneers and send our best wishes to everyone during this difficult time. ... See MoreSee Less

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1 week ago

Kearney Archway

In 1849, when Sallie Hester was just 14 years old, she and her family began their journey from Indiana to California on the California Trail. Though this was the time of the Gold Rush, Sallie’s family traveled west because they hoped a change of climate might help improve her mother’s health. In her diary, Sallie wrote, “The last hours were spent bidding goodbye to old friends. Giving up old associations. For what? Good health perhaps.” Her family spent the next 7 months enduring the challenges and overcoming the obstacles that came with traveling 2,000 miles to California in a covered wagon. On the trail, Sallie’s mother’s health gradually improved. The Hester family began a new life in California on July 2, 1849. At the Archway In Kearney, Nebraska, we salute the spirit of the pioneers who helped to build America and send our best wishes to everyone during this difficult time. ... See MoreSee Less

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2 weeks ago

Kearney Archway

The pioneers who traveled the Great Platte River Road encountered hardships, faced up to many challenges and made tremendous sacrifices to reach their destination. In the end, they found ways to work together to achieve their goals. Together, they built America. At the Archway, we celebrate the spirit of the pioneers and send our best wishes to everyone during this difficult time. ... See MoreSee Less

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UPCOMING EVENTS

Archie’s Adventure Camp

Date: May 6, 2020

Time: 8:00am - 3:00pm

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For Archie’s Adventure Camps, the Archway teams up with the Buffalo County 4-H Extension Service and the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission to develop exciting learning adventures on days when Kearney Public Schools have the day off. Archie’s Adventure Camp is open to children in grades K-5. Snacks and lunch are included. For information, call the Archway at (308) 237-1000 or register online by clicking the link on the left.

Art at the Arch – Door Charms

Date: June 14, 2020

Time: 2:30pm

Rustic Patch Both Door Charms

Get your home ready for summer entertaining.  Greet visitors with a beautiful door charm that you create yourself at this Door Charm Workshop, presented in partnership with Kearney’s Rustic Patch. The workshop is designed for participants of all ages and skill levels and all the supplies you need are included.  Rustic Patch instructors will guide you every step of the way and you get to display the results!  Call (308) 237-1000 for more information.

Art at the Arch – Watercolor with Kellie

Date: July 19, 2020

Time: 2:30pm

Art Instructor Kellie Jo Risk

Discover your creative side with watercolor artist Kellie Jo Risk. Kellie is an accomplished artist who taught at the University of Nebraska Kearney for over 20 years.  In this class, adult students will learn basic watercolor techniques while they are guided in completing paintings on prairie landscape and wildlife themes. No previous experience is needed and all the materials will be provided by the Archway. The cost of the workshop is $25 per student. Call (308) 237-1000 for information.

Art at the Arch – Creating with Unicorn Spit

Date: August 16, 2020

Time: 2:30pm

Single Unicorn Spit Vase

Unicorn Spit is all the rage! Learn to create dazzling images, patterns, and designs with this multi-colored staining technique.  Trust us, it looks much better than it sounds.  The workshop is designed for children in grades K-6 and is presented in partnership with the Buffalo County 4-H Extension Service.  Call (308) 237-1000 for information.

MOST RECENT NEWSLETTER

Experience the American Spirit of Adventure

Since prehistoric times, the path along the Platte River through Nebraska, once known as the Great Platter 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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