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Nevada Historical Society celebrates 120 years of operations (sponsored)

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Since 1904, the State’s oldest museum has served Nevadans by keeping history alive

RENO – For 120 years, the Nevada Historical Society has been the caretaker of Nevada’s history, and the public is invited to join them for a special celebration on Saturday, May 4 from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. 

The free event will be held in the front lawn and parking lot, featuring living history demonstrations and local educational groups. Inside the museum, docents will share their knowledge of the gallery artifacts and answer questions. The event also includes a special lecture on NHS founder, Dr. Jeanne Elizabeth Wier, by Dr. Su Kim Chung, Head of Special Collections Public Services, University Libraries at UNLV. Lastly, a celebration is not complete without cake.

Coinciding with the 120th birthday, the Friends of the Nevada Historical Society received a gift of $120,000 from the trust of Greg Nelson, of the Warren Nelson family. “Greg loved history and Nevada” said Trustee Frankie Sue Del Papa. Dr. Catherine Magee, Director of the Nevada Historical Society, also noted, “this amazing donation honors our work and celebrates our continued commitment to preserve our state’s cultural heritage to make it accessible to everyone for the next 120 years.” 

Schedule of NHS Birthday Celebration Event 

  • 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Living History Groups, outside
  • 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Educational Groups, outside
  • 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. NHS Gallery Guides in the History Galleries to answer questions about history and artifacts, inside
  • 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. NHS Gallery Scavenger Hunts, available for families and kids of all ages, inside
  • 12:00 – 12:30 p.m. Welcome to NHS Birthday, brief speeches from dignitaries, Friends of NHS, and director Dr. Catherine Magee to celebrate NHS’ 120th birthday, outside
  • 12:30 – 1:00pm Birthday Cake (a party isn’t complete without birthday cake), outside
  • 1:30 – 2:30 pm NHS History Lecture, inside 

About the Special NHS History Lecture 

“The Woman Who Saved History: Jeanne Wier and the Nevada Historical Society”

For nearly 50 years, Jeanne Wier advocated for the preservation of Nevada’s history through her tireless work on behalf of the Nevada Historical Society. From her professional struggles in obtaining financial support for the collections, to conflicts with various state agencies and officials, and the strain of balancing two full-time careers and caretaking for her elderly parents, Wier faced no shortage of challenges in her work to preserve the history of the Silver State. In this anniversary lecture, learn more about Wier’s personality and how she persevered through these difficulties, inspired supporters throughout the State, collected some of Nevada’s unique treasures, and left a valuable legacy for historians and residents alike.

About Dr. Su Kim Chung 

Su Kim Chung has been immersed in the history of Las Vegas since she began work in the UNLV Libraries’ Special Collections Division in 1999. As head of public services, she oversees reference, outreach, and instruction for archival materials on Las Vegas and Southern Nevada history. Chung also serves as curator for Las Vegas and Southern Nevada-related collections on entertainment, LGBT, and women’s history.

Chung holds a BA and MA in history from CSU Fresno, along with an MLIS and Ph.D. from UCLA’s Department of Information Studies. Her doctoral dissertation “‘We Seek to Be Patient’: Jeanne Wier and the Nevada Historical Society, 1904-1950,” was focused on the life and work of Jeanne Wier. A small portion of this work was published in the Nevada Historical Society Quarterly as “‘Flies Millions Thick’: A Diary of Jeanne Wier’s Collecting Trip to Southern Nevada, July-August 1908” in 2013. She also wrote and edited the popular photo book Las Vegas Then and Now, which documents the changing nature of the built landscape in Las Vegas.

As part of the non-profit organization Women of Diversity, Inc., Chung conceived the idea for the 2024 “Women Who Saved History” podcast series and profiled Wier for the first episode.

About the Nevada Historical Society

Founded in 1904, the Nevada Historical Society is Nevada’s oldest museum. Its mission is to collect, preserve, and educate the public about our shared history through exhibitions, artifacts, books, photographs, and manuscript materials relating to the state of Nevada, the Great Basin, and the West. The Nevada Historical Society also houses a research library and produces the Nevada Historical Society Q, Nevada’s oldest academic publication. For more information, visit https://www.nvhistoricalsociety.org/ 

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