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 Museum of Nebraska Art at (308) 865-8559

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 Museum of Nebraska Art at (308) 865-8559 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.