Bison Society

The MONA Bison Society is dedicated to inspiring a deep understanding of life in 19th century Nebraska by furthering research into this important era of American artistic discovery and revelation. Through its activities, the Bison Society supports MONA’s endeavors to acquire, preserve, research, exhibit, and interpret works of artistic excellence and historic significance as the Museum continues to build a collection that reflects the full measure of Nebraska’s rich cultural heritage. For information, call the MONA Development Office at (308) 865-8167.

Beginning shortly after the turn of the 19th century, Nebraska Territory became the gateway to the American West, attracting countless European explorers into the vast and exotic land of the Great Plains. The artists who accompanied these expeditions were inspired by the landscape, the wildlife, and the culture of the Native Americans they encountered in what to them was a new world. Using sketches and studies made on the trail, the famous artists of the day returned to their studios to create works now on exhibit in museums across America.

MONA’s acquisitions are rare examples of field sketches by widely noted artists like Albert Bierstadt and Alfred Jacob Miller along with fascinating works by the equally intrepid H. Balduin Möllhausen, Jules Tavernier, Sanford Gifford, and Stanislas Schimonsky. These works, often created on-the-spot, offer intimate insights into the artist’s experiences in the land that was later to become Nebraska.

The Bison Society supports scholarly research into the lives and work of artist explorers like H. Balduin Möllhausen. His Counter-fire on the Plains, a rare original drawing that depicts an episode from the artist’s 1849 trip in Nebraska which he described in his own words in Die Gartenlaube, a popular German publication in 1860. His initial sojourn in Nebraska lasted for over a year and provided Möllhausen with material, not only for a considerable body of graphic work, but for over 45 novels about life in the American West. His books were a sensation in his native Germany and he was dubbed the German (James Fenimore) “Cooper.”

We invite you to join the MONA Bison Society and to support our mission to celebrate Nebraska’s heritage through notable works by 19th century artist explorers. For information, call the MONA Development Office at (308) 865-8167 or email

Bison Society Member Benefits:

• Receive a newsletter specifically designed for the Bison Society featuring research and news about 19th century Nebraska art and artists.
• Receive complimentary copies of additional Bison Society publications.
• Receive invitations to special programs designed specifically for the Bison Society.
• Enjoy travel opportunities designed to suit the interests of Bison Society Members.
• Be recognized in the Bison Society and MONA newsletters and annual reports.

Your membership. . .

Provides support to the Museum of Nebraska Art’s efforts to research the lives of 19th century artist explorers and to acquire, preserve, exhibit, and interpret the work of these artists for the benefit of Nebraskans and Nebraska visitors now, and for generations to come.

Get on the Bison Bus to South Dakota – May 11-17, 2020

Join us for a wonderful week in the Black Hills mesmerized by the art and legends of the First Peoples of South Dakota.


Monday, May 11
• 8:00 am – Depart Kearney from MONA parking lot, bus to Chamberlain, South Dakota.
Box lunch en route (included).
• 1:00 pm – Tour Akta Lakota Museum and Cultural Center and Vault. Meet with Native American artist.
• 4:00 pm – Visit Dignity by Dale Lamphere.
• 5:00 pm – Arrive at Arrowwood Resort at Cedar Shore.
• 7:00 pm – Dinner at hotel (included).

Tuesday, May 12
• Breakfast at hotel (included).
• 9:00 am – Travel to Rapid City via the Badlands.
• 1:30 pm – Lunch at Wall Drug on your own.
• 4:00 pm – Check in to Rushmore Hotel and Suites.
• 6:00 pm – Dinner on your own.

Wednesday, May 13
• 9:00 am – Breakfast at hotel (included).
Depart Rapid City.
Visit two holy sites of the Lakota: Devils Tower and Bear Butte. Donovin Sprague, Lakota historian, will be our guide for the day to share the history, myth, and life of the Lakota.
Box lunch en route (included).
• 6:00 pm – Dinner in Rapid City on your own.

Thursday, May 14
• Breakfast at hotel (included).
• 9:00 am – Travel to Red Cloud School Heritage Center and Wounded Knee with Donovin Sprague learning about the tragedy of Wounded Knee.
Box lunch (included).
• 1:00 pm – Afternoon tour the Red Cloud School. Return to Rapid City for dinner on your own.

Friday, May 15
• Breakfast at hotel (included).
• 8:00 am – Depart hotel.
• 9:00 am – Arrive for tour of Crazy Horse Memorial.
• 11:00 am – Lunch at Crazy Horse site on your own.
• 2:00 pm – Return to Rapid City, visit Racing Magpie.
Meet artists: Don Montileaux, Dwayne Wilcox, Roger Broer (Roger will conduct a demonstration on monotypes). Melina Park, Lakota Quilting Circle.
• 6:00 pm – Dinner to be determined.

Saturday, May 16
• Breakfast at hotel (included).
• 9:00 am – Visit Borglun Museum and Mount Rushmore.
Lunch at Mound Rushmore on your own.
• 2:00 pm – Visit Journey Museum and Dahl Art Center.
• 4:00 pm – Prairie Edge.
• 6:00 pm – Going Away Dinner at hotel (included).

Sunday, May 17
• Breakfast at hotel (included).
• 9:00 am – to Kearney via Custer State Park.
Lunch en route on your own.


• $1450 for Bison members
• $1550 for non Bison members
• $1950 single supplement Bison member
• $2050 single supplement non Bison member

Price Includes:

• Round Trip transportation in a luxury motor coach
• Hotel for 6 nights
• Admission to all museums, galleries, and attractions
• Breakfast – 6 days / Lunch – 3 days / Dinner – 2 days


• A 50% deposit is required at time of reservation prior to February 14, 2020
• Full payment of is due when registration closes on March 6, 2020
• Limited Capacity of 20
• After March 6 a partial refund will be available after deduction of non-recoverable costs and bus expenses.

To make your reservations, please contact the Museum at (308) 865-8559.