The Genoa Indian School was in operation from 1884 until its closing in 1934, and was one of the nation’s 16 Indian Boarding Schools established by the federal government. The school was declared a State Historical Site in 1976 and a National Historical Site in 1978. Today the museum attracts nearly 3,000 visitors per year from all over the world; visitors have come from 60 Nebraska counties, 46 states and 22 foreign countries.
The Indian School was one of the largest and longest-lived of the Federal Indian Schools. At one time, the campus encompassed over 30 buildings on 630 acres with enrollment at nearly 600 students. Students from over 20 different tribes took classes that emphasized manual training and skills that helped assimilate them into a new cultural setting.
Genoa prides itself in having the only U.S. Industrial Indian School in the state of Nebraska. A group of citizens who are dedicated to the preservation of the rich legacy of this site have formed the Indian School Foundation and completed a number of on-site projects. Their most recent undertaking was the remodeling of the Indian School campus.
The Indian School Foundation collaborated with the Nebraska Department of Economic Development, school alumni and friends, organizations, corporations, foundations and individuals to complete a restoration project of the Indian School Industrial Arts building that was built in 1907. Improvements included 48 new windows and two doors, a heating and cooling system, tuck-pointed brick, handicap accessible second floor, cleaned and preserved wall murals, and repaired floors and ceilings. The successful completion of this rehabilitation project can largely be attributed to the work of more than 45 volunteers who contributed over 2,300 hours of ‘in-kind’ labor.
The Indian School Foundation uses this facility year-around for Indian cultural and research programs. The museum offers public classes and seminars with speakers from the University of Nebraska, the Nebraska State Historical Society, Native American organizations, and special guest speakers including former students and their descendants. Other museum activities include Genoa Indian School Reunions, tours, and `hands-on’ craft tables and archeology workshops.
Genoa – U.S. Indian School Museum