Margre H. Durham Center for Western Studies

The Margre H. Durham Center for Western Studies engages the arts, peoples, and landscapes of the Missouri River Basin. Through exhibitions, publications, and public programs that reflect our region and collections, the Durham Center emphasizes the history of western exploration of Indigenous homelands and its ongoing legacy.

The Durham Center was established in 1980 to support research and exhibitions devoted to art and culture of the American West. Joslyn's exceptional holdings of watercolors and drawings by nineteenth-century artist-explorers Alfred Jacob Miller and Karl Bodmer form the core of the Durham Center collection, along with the three-volume Tagebuch, or journal, of Bodmer’s sponsor, Prince Maximilian of Wied, who traveled up the Missouri River in company with the artist in 1832–34.

The Durham Center has published a number of major volumes on American Western art, including Karl Bodmer’s America (1984), Karl Bodmer’s North American Prints (2004), and Joni L. Kinsey’s study Thomas Moran's West: Chromolithography, High Art, and Popular Taste (2005).

In 2012, Joslyn Art Museum recently announced the milestone publication of the third and final volume of the English translation of The North American Journals of Prince Maximilian of Wied, one of the most important documents of the nineteenth-century American West. Volumes 1 and 2 were published in 2008 and 2010 respectively. In 2008, Volume 1 was named the “Outstanding Nonfiction Book” of the year by National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum. In the fall of 2011, Volume 1 received the Western History Association’s Dwight L. Smith Award, a biennial award recognizing outstanding bibliographic or research work. Earlier in 2011, Volumes 1 and 2 were reviewed by Stuart Ferguson of The Wall Street Journal, who called the works a “magnificent chronicle.”

The North American Journals of Prince Maximilian of Wied — Volume 1: May 1832–April 1833; Volume 2: April–September 1833; and Volume 3: September 1833–August 1834 are available in Joslyn Art Museum’s Hitchcock Museum Shop for $85 per volume. The Journals are edited by Stephen S. Witte and Marsha V. Gallagher. Volumes 1 and 2 are translated by William J. Orr, Paul Schach, and Dieter Karch with forewords by John Wilson. Volume 3 is translated by Dieter Karch with a foreword by Joslyn’s Executive Director and CEO Jack Becker.

Exhibitions, lectures, and events sponsored by the Margre H. Durham Center for Western Studies will be listed on our website.

What's Pictured: Karl Bodmer (Swiss, 1809-1893), The White Castles on the Missouri, watercolor on paper, 9 x 16 3/8, Collection of Joslyn Art Museum, Gift of Enron Art Foundation, 1986