Treasures from Nebraska Museums: The Mari Sandoz High Plains Heritage Center

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Selected items from the Mari Sandoz High Plains Heritage Center in Chadron are currently on display at the Nebraska History Museum through July 1, 2013. The Center celebrates the life and literature of Mari Sandoz and the culture of the High Plains through the acquisition, preservation, display, and interpretation of archival materials, records, documents, books, specimens, and artifacts of this region. The Center features exhibit galleries, a preservation/preparation workroom equipped with a digital imaging laboratory, and an archival library. It is a part of and supported by Chadron State College.

Items on display include Mari Sandoz’ book, Cheyenne Autumn, which was first published in 1953, and celebrates it’s 60th anniversary this year.

The book was made into a movie, directed by John Ford, in 1964. Photo stills from the film are displayed. The film was nominated for an Oscar, but Mari Sandoz hated it. She asked to have her name removed from the credits and refused to allow any of her other works to be made into movies.

In 1964 she wrote: “Another company was going to make the movie from the newspaper accounts of ‘blood-thirsty Indians’ killing settlers, etc. and so in desperation we accepted the change to have John Ford make the picture. Authors seldom have any control over what is done in Hollywood and never in a case like this. Our copyright laws don’t cover book titles, to protect me from seeing the most ghastly bloody picture appearing under the title CHEYEENE AUTUMN. At least we avoided that.”


Visitors will see this maquette of a Mari Sandoz sculpture by George W. Lundeen. The sculpture is installed in front of the Sandoz Center, and was dedicated in 2002.

The Mari Sandoz High Plains Heritage Center is located at 1000 Main Street, on the Chadron State College campus. Hours are Monday–Friday 8:00 to 12:00 and 1:00 to 4:00; and Saturday 9:00 to 12:00 and 1:00 to 4:00. The Center is closed on Chadron State College holidays. There is no admission fee, however donations are welcomed. For more information contact the Center at 308-432-6401 or visit

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