Affectionately this little gem of an artifact is known around the museum collections offices as “The Petrified Bagel.” It is one of the few food items we have in the collection–not surprisingly as food does not normally put up with being preserved for decades (with the exception perhaps of hard tack and Nebraskits, which may pop up in a future blog post). It is said this peculiar piece of history started its journey to the Nebraska State Historical Society in the 1870s when members of the Heinrich family of Sutton, Nebraska made their trek from Germany to the United States and packed bagels as a seafaring snack. While the rest of the bagels brethren were consumed this one made it through and was saved as a family heirloom.
If you’d like to see more of our petrified bagel–and a few other oddities from our collection–take a look at the online exhibit Weird Nebraska: Strange Stories and Amazing Facts here: www.nebraskahistory.org/sites/mnh/weird_nebraska/index.htm
Deb Arenz, Senior Museum Curator