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Hastings Museum is filled with thousands of amazing artifacts to ponder – but here are a few of the most popular, the ones we hear “Wow!” from members and visitors alike.

This is a great list for those who have limited time or for experienced Museum visitors who may have overlooked a “Wow!” component in one of our exhibits. Sometimes it’s little things, the hidden gems, that bring Life Up Close.


Martin Brothers Arrow

In a Sioux and Cheyenne uprising in 1864, the young Martin brothers were returning home when they were attacked. They jumped onto a single horse and fled – but not before an arrow went through one and into the other, pinning them together. See the arrow and full story in Lock, Stock and Barrel.

Electric car

Rouch and Lang electric car. Hastings Nebraska MuseumYou thought electric cars were just invented? We have one that dates back to 1912! Check out the Rauch and Lang in the Traveling in Style: Antique Vehicles exhibit. Can you guess how much the batteries weighed?

William Jennings Bryan’s 1900 Brougham

William Jenings Bryan - 1900 Brougham carriageWith more than 500 speeches given in 1896 alone, Bryan invented what is known as a stump tour! He served in Congress and ran for President. Traveling frequently required a sound vehicle, and his exquisite carriage is on display in Traveling in Style: Antique Vehicles exhibit.

Bison mount

Bison by Lewis DycheLewis Dyche (1857-1915) was an explorer, an adventurer, and a taxidermist. His most famous taxidermy work included a horse, Comanche, that survived the Battle of Little Big Horn. Another piece of Dyche’s work is a bison from 1890 on display at Hastings Museum! Find it in Wildlife Diorama Hall.

Mosasaur skull

tylosaurus skullTylosaur was the T-rex of the Mosasaurs. This life-sized replica, created by award-winning paleo-artist Gary Staab, shows just how massive this creature really was. Find out more in the Cretaceous sea exhibit! 

A Ballpoint pen (shown here), walking cane and a jack knife

Ball point pen pistol jack knife pistol cane gunThey all sound relatively ordinary, right? Or are they? Find out in Lock, Stock and Barrel!

Passenger pigeons

Passenger pigeon extinct This social bird may have numbered in the billions in the 19th Century but they were extinct by the early 20th Century. Hastings Museum is fortunate enough to have several mounted specimens on display in the Bird Habitat Dioramas area.

Pawnee clay pot

Pawnee Clay Pot Native American potteryThe Pawnee began to develop pottery when they began to have more permanent settlements. Hastings Museum’s pottery dates back some 500-600 years! Find it in People on the Plains.

Twisted fence

Tornado twists wire fence in HildrethA tornado roars through farm land near Hildreth, Nebraska, and turns what was a 26 inch high wire fence into a single twisted piece. See it in People on the Plains.

Giant quartz crystal

Giant quartz crystal at Hastings MuseumDirect from an Arkansas cave – notorious for producing crystals even today – is this giant, 16-inch high specimen. While quartz crystals may be common, you won’t find ones of this stature too often! Check it out in Rocks, Minerals and Fossils.