OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — The Great Plains Black History Museum in north Omaha near 24th and Grant is open.
It's a place that highlights the history of the United States through the lens of African Americans. Those stores are told through various exhibits.
"One of the exhibits that we recently opened is the black citizenship in the 80s in the age of Jim Crowe," said executive director Eric Ewing. "We have an exhibit called Hate and Hope. We have an exhibit focused on a gentleman by the name of Rudy Smith; he was a former board member and a photojournalist for the Omaha World Herald."
Because of the pandemic and social distancing guidelines Ewing says he had to find new ways to continue sharing the history from inside the museum.
"I decided that maybe we could start holding virtual events, and so we decided to start conducting virtual tours, virtual workshops," Ewing explained. "Our virtual tours and workshops, we've been able to reach over 2,000 people throughout the time in which the pandemic occurred, and we've been able to reach students throughout 19 different states throughout America."
Ewing adds this new concept of virtual tours has helped them educate not only local youth, but people throughout the country by sharing artifacts and photos centered around Omaha history like the display of Johnny Rodgers Heisman trophy.
He says the virtual tours also help make Omaha a traveling destination.
"It'll give them a chance to say, 'Hey, let's go to Omaha; it has this to offer,' because through our virtual tours, we've reached people as far as Hawaii and Alaska just this year," Ewing said. "And so, I think, even though, it's in the virtual world, it'll have an impact once people start traveling and driving around looking for vacation spots, and I think it will bring in more people into the city."
For those wanting to still come in, Ewing says they are allowing people to visit.
"We've been allowing people in on two-three individuals at a time, face-mask required, practicing social distancing," Ewing said. "But after the 4th of July, we plan on opening, and we'll be open again face-mask required, social distancing, and limiting the amount of people inside the space up to eight people at a time."
Ewing says given everything going on in the world, he's seeing more interest in black history.
"This month alone we've conducted about 10 virtual tours, we've conducted about four presentations, we had about 77 individuals on a virtual presentation that was given discussing five things you wish you had learned about black history in school."
Great Plains Black History Museum
2221 N. 24th St. Omaha, NE 68110
Thursday - Saturday: 1-5PM
*Private tours available by appointment