The Hastings Museum of Natural and Cultural History


If you dig history, Hastings Museum is the place to be.

You never know what you'll find.

One girl visits everyday. What did she find this day?

"Fossils," she added, after conferring with grandpa.

Museum Director Becky Matticks said, "If your family has a history lover, we have Native American history, pioneer history. If you like natural history we have rocks, we have fossils, we have animals."

That includes one of the largest displays of Sandhill cranes you'll find anywhere. Like many exhibits, the cranes have been there for generations.

"The museum is celebrating its 80th anniversary this year, so a lot of exhibits were things people could've seen 80 years ago, 50 years ago," Matticks said. "Cranes are popular, as well as the snake."

They joke the old rattlesnake was the first hands-on display. Newer features include a water exhibit.

"Case exhibits are wonderful, but people are needing more hands on, more do-it activities," Matticks said.

History comes alive on the Super Screen Theater. Even the family films can be a learning experience. For example, a sleepover follows a showing of the Ben Stiller flick "Night at the Museum".

"We show second run films, so it's cheaper if people want to wait, see it on the large screen, and when they're here they peek in and say we haven't been at the museum in a while, so they come and take in the museum as well," Matticks said.

Kool-Aid's hometown is proud of where it all started.

Matticks said, "I like to go back and watch the old commercials."

A $40 membership lets families in year round. The museum closes only two days a year. And the kids say it's worth coming back to day after day.

The guys might like a new exhibit that's under construction. It's called "Lock, Stock and Barrel." It's a history of guns.

Plus there's the planetarium and new exhibits come all the time.

Reporter's Notes by Steve White:
Museum membership also works at Stuhr Museum. Daily passes are available too.

The museum is celebrating its 80th anniversary. Many items in the collection date back to the beginning.

The theater shows large format films. In addition, it shows 35mm features.

For more information, visit {A href="" target=_blank}Hastings Museum of Natural and Cultural History.

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