It’s hard to miss the Archway Monument in Kearney, Nebraska. The archway spans over 300-feet, covering I-80 in the heart of Nebraska. It’s perfect for that spur-of-the-moment decision that defines a road trip.
Walking Through The Museum
I’m a sucker for kitschy roadside attractions but when we pulled over for the Archway Monument in Kearney, Nebraska, I was completely blown away. The monument houses a multistory immersive museum with an full sized replicas from the history of westward expansion and settlement through time. Visitors walk start at Fort Kearny in 1848 with settlers in covered wagons encountering the rigors of the western trail. The museum winds past 49ers looking for gold, the Pony Express, stage coaches, railway workers, early automotive travel, and exits at the dawn of the highways system and a digitally connected country. Not only is it a fantastic history lesson but you leave with a special appreciation your own part in the rich history of exploration throughout the United States.
A Practical Note
One thing struck us immediately upon entering: this location has had a very recent infusion of cash. While the arch was first opened on 16 July 2000, the models and displays are remarkably well crafted and special effects from lighting and audio background make the walkthrough a truly immersive experience. So please forgive me for a short bit of financial nerdery around the failure and success of the Archway. The current state of the Archway can be explained back in 2013 when the original management filed for bankruptcy. As part of the following restructuring the park came under the ownership fo the City of Kearney. A highway exit allowing for easier access to the archway was built and the museum closed at the close of 2013 for restructuring. The result is what we see today and, I’ve got to say, they’ve done an excellent job.