Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Homesteading by the Numbers

April 24, 2007

1: Number of National Park Service sites dedicated to the commemoration and interpretation of the Homestead Act of 1862 and the many changes it initiated in the United States and the world.

10: Percentage of U.S. land given away under the Homestead Act.

24: Presidential administrations during which the Homestead Act was in effect (Lincoln to Reagan).

30: Number of states in which homestead lands were located.

40: Percentage of homesteaders that “proved up” on their claims and earned the deed from the federal government.

45: Percentage of Nebraska’s acres distributed under the Homestead Act.

71: Years Homestead National Monument of America has existed (created March 19, 1936).

123: Years the Homestead Act was in effect (1863-1986).

160: Number of acres in a typical homestead claim.

2,000,000: Number of claims made under the Homestead Act.

11,000,000: Acres claimed in 1913, the peak year of homestead claims.

93,000,000: Estimated number of homesteader descendants alive today.

270,000,000: Total number of acres distributed by the Homestead Act.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Black History Month

Homestead National Monument of America will host a special program on Sunday, February 10 in recognition of February’s designation as Black History Month. The Cable Ace Award-winning documentary The Untold West: The Black West, narrated by noted actor Danny Glover, will be shown at the Homestead Heritage Center at 1:00 p.m. and will be repeated at 3:00 p.m.

Between the two showings, at 2:00 p.m., the monument will use its cutting-edge fiber optic distance learning technology to “visit” Nicodemus National Historic Site, a National Park Service site located in northwest Kansas. A national park ranger from Nicodemus will speak about the all-black town’s founding after the Civil War and the settlers there who used the Homestead Act to acquire land, farms, and opportunities for better lives away from the racism of the post-Reconstruction South.

Homestead National Monument of America is a unit of the National Park System located four miles west of Beatrice, Nebraska on State Highway 4. Admission to all events, displays, and exhibits is free of charge.

Hours of operation are Monday-Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.; Saturday-Sunday, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. For additional information, please call 402-223-3514 or visit

The Art of Bobbin Lace Making

National Endowment for the Arts National Heritage Fellow
at Homestead National Monument of America

On Saturday, January 26, 2008, National Endowment for the Arts National Heritage Fellow Sonia Domsch will demonstrate the art of bobbin lace making from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. at the Education Center at Homestead National Monument of America. A National Heritage Fellowship is the nation's highest honor in the folk and traditional arts. Ms. Domsch is from Atwood, Kansas and enjoys teaching people the skill of bobbin lace making.

National Heritage Fellowships are awarded by the National Endowment for the Arts. The National Endowment for the Arts is a public agency dedicated to supporting excellence in the arts, both new and established; bringing the arts to all Americans; and providing leadership in arts education. As part of its efforts to honor and preserve our nation's diverse cultural heritage, the National Endowment for the Arts annually awards one-time-only National Heritage Fellowships for master folk and traditional artists. These fellowships are intended to recognize the recipients' artistic excellence and support their continuing contributions to our nation's traditional arts heritage. Sonia Domsch was named a National Endowment for the Arts National Heritage Fellow in 1986.

Ms. Domsch appears at Homestead National Monument in support of the Smithsonian traveling exhibition entitled “Inspirations from the Forest.” The exhibition is on display at the Homestead Education Center through Sunday, February 24. The exhibition demonstrates how nature serves as inspiration for creating works of artistic and musical expression. The themes include poetry, song, paintings, sculpture, instrument making, basketry, photography, weaving, and quilting.

Homestead National Monument of America is located on Nebraska State Highway 4, four miles west of the Highway 136/Highway 77 junction in Beatrice, Nebraska. The monument is open 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday, and from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. All programs are free of charge. For more information, please phone 402-223-3514 or visit our website at