“Forty pioneers representing all sections of Sarpy County met at Papillion,” April 28, 1934, to form to the Sarpy County Historical Society. At the time, concerns included saving the Moses Merrill Mission built by Rev. Moses Merrill, which was, “almost in ruins,” and other historical sites, according to the Nebraska History Magazine published in June, 1934. Several of those gathered detailed their own history at the meeting.
Today, the society’s mission: to preserve and protect Sarpy County History as well as to educate others about that history remains virtually the same. The backbone of the organization continues to be its volunteers led by a board of directors.
About 30 volunteers regularly help with events, programming and maintenance throughout the year, Ben Justman, museum director, said. Some put in hundreds of hours a year. About 300 members support the museum through annual donations.
“Volunteers just finished digitizing 7,000 immigration records from the turn of the 19th century,” Justman said. “Making these records searchable is important to genealogists, but it is also a vital record of our shared past. A complete immigration record includes 12 documents containing information about ports of origin, ships traveled on, occupations and more.”
The museum plans to carry the 80th anniversary theme through several of its activities this year, including the annual quilt show: “Depression to Digital: 80 Years of Quilting, a 1930s-themed volunteer luncheon in April and a $80 for 80 years fundraising effort. The Sarpy County Historical Society is supported by the county, membership and donations. Admission to the museum, which officially opened its doors Oct. 4, 1970, on Mission Street and moved to its present location at 2402 Clay Street in 1978, is free.