Cherish Nebraska Team

The Cherish Nebraska Team at the University of Nebraska State Museum
October 25, 2019

The Board of Regents is pleased to present a KUDOS award to The Cherish Nebraska Team at the University of Nebraska State Museum.

The Cherish Nebraska Team at the University of Nebraska state Museum receiving KUDO's award.
Front Row Left to Right: Mike Zeleny, Associate to the Chancellor; Gabor Racz, Collection Manager; West Schomer, Exhibit Fabrication coordinator; Mandy Hasse-Thomas, Chief Communications Officer; Susan Weller, Director; Interim President Susan Fritz; Angie Fox, Exhibit Designer/Coordinator; Matt Joeckel, School of Natural Resources Associate Director; Alan Osborn, Sociology & Anthropology Associate Professor.
Middle Row Left to Right: Ross Secord, Curator & Associate Professor; Chancellor Ronnie Green; Kathy French Education Coordinator; Missi Paul, representing Prem Paul; Alison Stevens, Claire M. Hubbard Research Assistant Professor of Environmental Curriculum; Judy Diamond, UNL Professor; Regent Ayu Yousuf.
Back Row Left to Right: Mark Harris, Associate Director; Shane Tucker, Highway Salvage Paleontologist.

This is the team of individuals who led the renovation and opening of the Cherish Nebraska exhibition on the fourth floor at Morrill Hall in February 2019. The original visionary team, who saw potential in the long-closed fourth floor, and imagined and pursued a bold and audacious vision for its future, included: Priscilla Grew, Prem Paul, Judy Diamond, Jason Head, Matt Joeckel, Alan Osborn and Mike Zeleny.

This undertaking required the absolute highest levels of organization and project management to meet deadlines and keep the project on track toward completion. In addition to managing design and installation, the team created the original and research-based content that makes up the exhibits, which accurately and effectively bring Nebraska's natural history to life.

Planning and fundraising for the privately funded $11.4 million, 11,000-square-foot expansion began as part of the strategic planning for the museum in 2007. After being closed to the public for more than 50 years, the fourth floor of the historic Morrill Hall has been transformed into state-of-the-art exhibits using modern technology. As many in the museum world would attest, in terms of staff time and commitment, the scale of the expansion, with nine new exhibits, is akin to opening a brand-new museum.

Without the dedication and hard work of these outstanding professionals, the fourth-floor renovation at Morrill Hall and its impact on visitors would not have been possible. Together with private philanthropy, they made the vision for this space a reality and developed a previously untapped university resource into the "Smithsonian of the Plains."

The following Cherish Nebraska Team representatives with us today are:

  • Angie Fox, Project Manager
  • Kathy French, Education Coordinator
  • Mandy Haase-Thomas, Chief Communications Officer
  • Gabor Racz, Collection Manager
  • West Schomer, Exhibits Specialist
  • Ross Secord, Curator and Associate Professor
  • Alison Pearce Stevens, Claire M. Hubbard Research Assistant Professor of Environmental Curriculum
  • Shane Tucker, Highway Salvage Paleontologist
  • Susan Weller, Director
  • Mark Harris, Associate Director

Members of the Visionary Team with us are:

  • Judy Diamond
  • Matt Joeckel
  • Alan Osborn
  • Mike Zeleny
  • Missi Paul, representing Prem Paul

Also attending from the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Economic Development:

  • Becky Zavala, Assistant Vice Chancellor for Research
  • Bob Wilhelm, Vice Chancellor for Research and Economic Development

Please join me in thanking The Cherish Nebraska Team for their dedication to the University of Nebraska State Museum.