View of the circular interior of the Pawnee Earth Lodge, with various replica objects displayed around the circular hearth in the center and on the walls.

Pawnee Earth Lodge

Category: Exhibitions

Exhibition Summary


Included with Basic admission

Targeted age groups

All ages


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Experience Native American life in the 1800s under a blanket of stars.

Step into in a full-size replica of an earth lodge, a traditional circular dwelling that was the center of life for the Pawnee people on the Great Plains in the 19th century. Settlements of up to 50 of these structures would form a community of nearby families on the prairies of what is now Nebraska. The dwelling’s round, domed shape symbolizes the belief that the stars and planets represented celestial beings. Look up for a peek at a few of the constellations the Pawnee most revered. Members of the Pawnee nation served as advisors in designing this earth lodge and its furnishings for the Museum—including a sacred area that was blessed by a Pawnee holy man when it was built.

Visitors of all ages can engage with objects from everyday Pawnee life in the 1800s, including buffalo horn spoons.

Through tools and textiles, learn how the Pawnee lived.

Exhibition highlights:

  • Touch replicas of pottery, weaponry, and beadwork made from the same kinds of materials Native Americans used in the 1800s
  • Play with replicas of Pawnee children’s toys
  • Wonder at the constellations twinkling overhead
  • Soak up knowledge from docents about the life and legends of the Pawnee

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