Public River City History Tours
The past comes alive during River City History Tours at The Durham Museum! River City History Tours are historically accurate and entertaining tours that share the fascinating history of Omaha. Explore the city’s vibrant past aboard Ollie the Trolley and hear stories from knowledgeable tour guides.
Private River City History Tours
Available year-round for groups of up to 42
Grab your friends, co-workers or family members and hit the streets for a private River City History tour. Pick your date and time (subject to availability) and the tour of your choice and have the whole trolley to yourself!
For both public and private tours, select from the following seven choices– each offering a unique viewpoint into the early years of the city. For more information on reserving your space on a public tour or scheduling a private tour, please contact The Durham Museum Education Department at 402-444-5027 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
New in 2017: Tablet-Enhanced tours with historic photos! This feature is available for On Tap! Omaha’s Brewing History, Gritty City, and Expositions to Jazz Musicians. Each guest on one of these tours will receive a voucher for 10% off one digital image from The Durham Museum Photo Archive.
On Tap! Omaha’s Brewing History
Public Tour Offered: Sunday, July 2 and Sunday, August 27
Omaha’s rich brewing traditions started in 1858 when Nebraska’s first brewer, Fredrick Krug, settled in our riverfront town and started his company. Over time the breweries that helped put Omaha on the map have come and gone, but that rich history and passion has remained and made resurgence in our city. This tour will take you to the locations of these past breweries and share the stories that made them unique to our city.
Last Call for Alcohol: Omaha’s Bootlegging History
Public Tour Offered: Sunday, September 17 and Sunday, October 15
Public Tour Offered: Tuesday, June 13 and Tuesday, October 10
The 18th Amendment to the Constitution did not stop people’s thirst for alcohol. By the time prohibition was the law of the land in 1919, Nebraska had been “dry” for two years. Organized crime syndicates had established a well-oiled machine to profit from those wanting to purchase illegal drink and be a part of the activities associated with it. The local and federal authorities spent years putting together a case that ultimately brought down the “kingpin” of Omaha’s crime scene, Tom Dennison. The information presented on this tour is based off of the 1931 federal indictment brought against some of Omaha’s largest bootleggers.
The Gritty City tour takes visitors through downtown Omaha, pointing out several historic sites, including the former home of Madame Anna Wilson, The Brandeis Building and the Paxton Hotel. This tour will highlight the impact of noted individuals and events in our city’s sometimes turbulent history.
Millionaires & Mansions - North Gold Coast
Public Tour Offered: Sunday, May 28 and Sunday, September 10
Explore the neighborhoods north of Dodge Street in mid-town Omaha. Along the way, learn about the Mercer Mansion, Joslyn Castle and the Louis Nash residence. The trolley will drive on the first curved street in the city and visitors will see many stately homes in the original “West Omaha.”
Millionaires & Mansions - South Gold Coast
Public Tour Offered: Tuesday, August 15 and Sunday, October 8
Take a trip to the early 1900s in the area south of Dodge Street in mid-town Omaha. Many landmarks in the city are located here including the Blackstone Hotel, the Storz Mansion and the home of Arthur and Zerlina Brandeis. Visitors will see the beauty of traditional architecture and hear the stories of the people who built these magnificent homes.
From Expositions to Jazz Musicians
Public Tour Offered: Sunday, June 4 and Sunday, August 6
In 1898, North Omaha hosted the Trans-Mississippi International Exposition, which celebrated technology and showed that life was civilized west of the Mississippi River. Following the Exposition, stately homes, parks and jazz halls made this area a cultural center of Omaha. On this trolley ride, the trolley will even stop at the historic Florence Mill for a tour!
Public Tour Offered: Tuesday, July 25 and Tuesday, September 12
Discover the rich history of South Omaha, founded in 1884 as a result of the Union Stockyards. Waves of immigrants flocked to the community to carve out a new life while working in the packinghouses, breweries, smelting plants and other businesses that grew in the area. By 1890, South Omaha was the fastest growing city in the country, earning the nickname, “Magic City,” with a truly unique history.