Pawnee Earth Lodge

Category: Exhibitions

Exhibition Summary

Included with Basic admission

All ages


Included with Basic admission

All ages

About the Exhibit

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

Step into 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.

Three adults gather around a small child, who looks at the model hearth in the center of the Pawnee Earth Lodge.

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

Morgan Anderson

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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