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Office of Governor Pete Ricketts

Gov. Ricketts, First Lady Shore Thank Nebraskans for a Successful Nebraska150 Celebration

Media Contacts:  

Luke Robson, Governor’s Office, 402-471-1967

Regan Anson, Nebraska150, 402-440-4451




LINCOLN – Today, Governor Pete Ricketts and First Lady Susanne Shore thanked Nebraskans for a successful year of sesquicentennial programs and events.  Nebraska’s 150th anniversary of statehood was celebrated throughout 2017.


“Thank you to the numerous individuals who stepped up and helped make Nebraska’s sesquicentennial celebration successful over the past year,” said Governor Ricketts.  “Nebraska is the best place in the world to live, work, and raise a family.  The Nebraska150 Celebration helped bring people together to celebrate and build on this legacy.”

“The Nebraska150 Celebration set out to accomplish three goals: bridge communities across the state, connect Nebraskans with one another, and enhance state pride,” said First Lady Shore.  “We worked to implement meaningful programming that would leave a legacy beyond 2017 and that gave every Nebraskan the opportunity to engage in the celebration at no cost.  I want to thank our donors, sponsors and partners for their generous support of our efforts.”


The Nebraska150 Celebration implemented 13 programs and events in 2017, including: the NE150 Challenge, Truckin’ Through Nebraska: A Mobile Children’s Museum, Now You Know Nebraska, Nebraska Impact, Salute to the Good Life, I Am Nebraska, The Nebraska Atlas Project, One State One Book, The Nebraska Experience, The Tree Planting Initiative, Painting the Legacy of Nebraska, the Statehood Day Celebration, and the Nebraska150 Express Whistle Stop Tour.


Following are more details and statistics for four of the programs and one event.  Additional information about all of the programs and events will be released in a final report later this year.


  • Now You Know Nebraska is a series of 180 engaging video shorts that chronicle some of the Cornhusker State's most compelling and entertaining little-known historical facts and stories.  The videos, each lasting one to two minutes, were created by Lincoln-based production firm V2 Content and released on the Nebraska150 Celebration’s YouTube channel over the course of 36 weeks.  The primary goal of the Now You Know Nebraska video series was to supplement history lessons already being taught in the classroom.  Videos addressed a wide variety of topics and time periods, incorporated all parts of the state, and included education on a variety of cultures, ethnicities and races.  Each video begins with a story or fact and then provides background, context and detail, defining the significance of each topic.


As of December 31, 2017, the Now You Know Nebraska videos had been viewed nearly 120,000 times, though the actual number of views is far greater as classrooms, nursing homes and assisted living facilities watch the videos as groups.  The videos are available for viewing here.


  • The NE150 Challenge is a web-based fitness program that challenged Nebraskans to engage in 150 miles or more of physical activity in 2017.  The program allows registrants to log miles, track progress and earn digital badges for achieving specific milestones and participating in events.  The NE150 Challenge is designed to promote health and wellness while also building a sense of community by providing encouragement, social interaction and recognition as Nebraskans worked toward common goals.


As of December 31, 2017, a total of 5,143 Nebraskans had registered as participants and logged more than 918,000 miles.  The largest group to register was the University of Nebraska Medical Center with 323 participants who logged a total of 159,901 miles.  The program will continue throughout 2018 with partnering organization, the Nebraska Sports Council.


  • Nebraska Impact presented a way to highlight the state’s history of volunteerism, which consistently ranks in the top 10 nationally.  The program challenged Nebraskans to volunteer 150 hours or more either as an individual or as part of a group.  Utilizing an online platform, the initiative allowed participants to discover volunteer opportunities, connect with other Nebraskans and track progress.  Nebraska Impact also provided small non-profit organizations the opportunity to have a free, well-structured web presence to post important information about their organization.

More than 98,000 volunteer hours were recorded by 356 groups and individuals through December 31, 2017.  The estimated economic impact of their efforts is $2,182,871.  The program will continue throughout 2018 with partnering organization ServeNebraska.


  • Truckin’ Through Nebraska: A Mobile Children’s Museum was a state-of-the art, hands-on children’s museum created to provide a unique, entertaining learning experience to youth living in areas of the state without their own children’s museum.  The goal of the project was to instill a sense of pride and wonder in Nebraska children and inspire them to make their own place in the future of the state.


The museum traveled to 42 communities in 185 days, logging a total of 5,890 miles. Nearly 38,000 people visited the museum, including 157 field trips with 4,900 students.  More than 2,100 community volunteers assisted in its operation. 


  • Salute to the Good Life was an outdoor gala that honored the state’s heritage, active duty military personnel and veterans.  The event, held Friday, September 22, 2017, on Centennial Mall South in Lincoln, featured live music, food trucks/vendors, a laser light show projected onto the Nebraska State Capitol, fireworks, an exhibit by Patriotic Productions titled “Remembering Our Fallen,” and Truckin’ Through Nebraska: A Mobile Children’s Museum.  An estimated 7,000-10,000 people attended the free event.  


In additional to the above events, the Nebraska150 Celebration lent its support to 364 events, programs, and projects planned by communities, organizations, schools, businesses and government entities across the state following an application and approval process.  Annually occurring events and programs themed for the NE150, such as parades, festivals and fairs, were given “official” status and given access to the celebration’s official logo and listed on its website.  One-time special events or projects planned specifically to commemorate the sesquicentennial were given “signature” status.  Events and projects that met signature criteria and left a something lasting for the state were given “legacy” status.  A total of 319 events and program were given official status, 28 signature status and 17 legacy status.