KEARNEY – April White wants the G.W. Frank Museum of History and Culture to be a seasonal destination for Kearney-area residents.
She believes the 129-year-old residence on the west side of the University of Nebraska at Kearney campus can be a traditional stop for families looking for a unique holiday display.
“The Frank Museum is such a stunning place,” said White, the museum’s interim director. “The holiday decorations heighten its overall splendor and ambiance.”
The museum offers a festive and elegant-yet-cozy feeling during the holiday season, according to White, who is inviting the public to drop by and check out the décor.
Located at 2010 University Drive, the Frank Museum will be decorated through Jan. 4. Holiday hours are 1-5 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays and noon to 5 p.m. on weekends, with hot cocoa and apple cider available for guests each Saturday. Admission is free. The museum is closed on Mondays, as well as Nov. 28-29, Dec. 24-25 and Jan. 1.
This year’s holiday display features a classic American theme in the main floor’s grand hall, with the drawing room reflecting an upper-class Christmas from the 1890s Victorian era. The display includes three full-size trees decorated with ornaments from each period.
“We want to give visitors an opportunity to experience both the classic American style and a style the represents how the Frank family likely decorated for the holidays,” White said. “Visitors will be able to see and compare firsthand how Christmas decorating traditions have changed over time.”
Placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1973, the Frank Museum’s first floor showcases the home as it looked in the early 1890s.
The second and third floors, which aren’t included in the holiday display, represent the property’s 60-year history (1912-72) as part of the Nebraska State Hospital for Tuberculosis. A permanent exhibit on the hospital was added last year on the second floor, where a collection of decorative arts dating from roughly 1740 to the early 1900s is also displayed.
Architect George William Frank Jr. designed the house – one of the earliest in the Great Plains with electricity – for his parents, George Sr. and Phoebe Frank. Completed in 1890, it was an extravagant home for the era, with a pink Colorado sandstone exterior, several fireplaces made with imported tile, handcarved oak woodwork and a large stained-glass window.