Bone Creek Museum of Agrarian Art is the only museum in North America devoted exclusively to Agrarian Art. In 2007, the museum began as a group of art enthusiasts who were looking for a way to expand visual arts exposure in the Butler County community.
The building that became the museum was previously M & M Refrigeration and Plumbing. It was thought the space could be used as a studio by local artist and teacher Ruth Nichols. Once renovated, the privately owned space became vacant and needed a new purpose. When asked by her husband, Allen Covault, what she now wanted to do with the building, founding president, Anna Nolan responded, “Wouldn’t it be neat to have an art museum in David City?” As word spread about this idea, others wanted to become part of this effort so a founding board was created. In February 2007 Bone Creek Art Museum was granted 501(c)(3) status as a nonprofit art museum. As the founding board looked closely at the priorities of this new museum Vice President Mark Moseman honed the focus of the mission statement which led to the business name of Bone Creek Museum of Agrarian Art. The museum got its name from a creek in Butler County that runs through some farm land of founding board member Allen Covault.
David City is the hometown of nationally known artist Dale Nichols (1904-1995). Four paintings by Dale Nichols were commissioned for the city bank over three decades ago. Bone Creek Museum had the opportunity to preserve these treasures for the public. The acquisition of these artworks by Nichols was one of the first important actions of the founding board and they remain the cornerstone of the collection. The building was renovated with climate control and security features to provide a safe place for these and other artworks to be preserved, displayed and studied. The museum serves as a vital place in the community to view, appreciate and learn about art of the land; imagery and themes that are strongly rooted in this country’s culture and heritage.
Bone Creek Museum was founded with the idea that our heritage deserves great art. The museum prides itself on providing an opportunity for the public to celebrate the agrarian roots through exceptional art. Bone Creek Museum of Agrarian Art has been built through the creative and insightful vision of the members of the founding Board of Directors. The museum has continued to grow and present high quality artworks with a strong educational impact about the art of the land.
The museum has seasonal exhibitions in a second gallery space in another building on the block, formerly the American Legion post. Today the art museum shares its resource of space and volunteers in this building with the Butler County Veterans Museum.
American Association of Museums
Mountain-Plains Museums Association
Nebraska Museums Association
Awards and Recognition:
2011 Outstanding Website award from the Nebraska Department of Travel & Tourism 2011 MPMA Publication Design Award for museums under $250,000 budget for Dale Nichols: Transcending Regionalism 2012 MPMA Publication Design Award for museums under $250,000 budget for Robert Lougheed: Before Coyboys, Fields of the Heart (designed by A. Mobley Guenther) 2012 MPMA Magazines, Newsletter, Publication Award for museums under $250,000 budge for quarterly Agrarian Art Newsletter (designed by Ashley Cameron)
Hands-On Experiential Learning Project (HELP):
Mid-America Arts Alliance, a regional arts organization serving cultural organizations in its memberstates of Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and Texas, has selected Bone Creek Museum of Agrarian Art as one of twenty museums to participate in the Hands-On Experiential Learning Project (HELP). In Nebraska, HELP is implemented in partnership with the Nebraska Arts Council and made possible through the generosity of the Nebraska Arts Council, the Cooper Foundation, Sue Renken, the Institute of Museum and Library Services, and Senator Ben Nelson. HELP provides museums with on-site, affordable learning opportunities that further skills in areas critical to successful museums today. HELP is a program of Mid-America Arts Alliance’s (Mid-America) Professional Development division that provides institutional advancement, capacity building and professional development opportunities for Mid-America’s constituents. Participating museums are concentrating on improvements related to nonprofit governance. Training is directed to museum trustees as well as museum staff, paid or unpaid, and focuses on essential components of good governance.