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Criss Library Archives & Special Collections

Criss Library Archives & Special Collections ensures UNO’s unique, rare, and specialized collections of institutional archives, personal papers, organizational records, rare books, and other material is available for public use.

Current Exhibits

Criss Library has an active exhibit program and material from Archives & Special Collections can frequently be found on display throughout the library. Exhibits are on display in Criss Library Archives & Special Collections Monday-Friday 8am-5pm.

IN THE NEWS: Press, Media, and Speeches in the Chuck Hagel Archives, January 30-May 12, 2017: The exhibit begins with press and campaign materials from his successful run for office in 1996 and continues with a look at how Senator Hagel and his staff settled into their new press and media responsibilities the following year. A large part of the exhibit shows how Hagel juggled interviews from national and local news outlets and responded publicly to military and veterans issues throughout his twelve years in office. Finally, it looks at the end of Hagel’s time in office as he reflected on his service and looked forward. 

Online Exhibits

The UNO Criss Library Flickr account has organized several albums of images related to UNO history by topic. 

  • Harry Duncan
  • Aerial views of UNO
  • Aviation at UNO
  • UNO campus buildings
  • UNO construction and remodeling
  • Allwine Farm
  • Arts and Science Hall
  • Campanile Construction
  • UNO's downtown Omaha campus
  • UNO Library
  • North Omaha campus
  • Residence halls
  • The Shack aka the Snack Shack
  • West campus houses
  • UNO Air Force ROTC
  • UNO Bootstrappers
  • UNO campus computing
  • UNO campus guests
  • UNO cartoons
  • UNO cheerleaders
  • And many more!

Past Exhibits

Senate Artifacts from the U.S. Senator Chuck Hagel Archives, September 12, 2016 - January 20, 2017Every item on display is from Secretary Hagel’s twelve years in the U.S. Senate, including twenty-one artifacts given to him by Nebraskans. These items demonstrate Hagel’s connection to Nebraskans from all over the state and from all walks of life. One of those items—shown here—is a dreamcatcherwith the inscription “Honorable Senator Hagel in Appreciation for all Your Assistance to the Ponca Tribe of Nebraska.”

Life of a Senator, May 2-September 2, 2016: How does a U.S. Senator fill a day? A month? Easily. Through schedules, photos, and other documents from the career of U.S. Senator Chuck Hagel (1997-2009), visitors will learn about the varied work of a U.S. Senator one month at a time. Some months kick off a new president. Others bring tragedy or controversy. Still others show the normal rhythm of politicians at work. For a more in-depth version of the exhibit, please visit: 

Inspired by Shakespeare’s Work: The 30th Anniversary of Nebraska Shakespeare, June 1-August 12, 2016: Celebrate the 30th anniversary of Nebraska Shakespeare through photographs, programs, costume designs, scenic designs, memorabilia, and more from Criss Library Archives & Special Collections. The exhibit “Inspired by Shakespeare’s Work: The 30th Anniversary of Nebraska Shakespeare” on display in Criss Library Archives & Special Collections provides insight into the planning, educating, and entertaining undertaken by Nebraska Shakespeare.

Architectural Studies of H. A. Raapke, January 12-April 30, 2016: On display on the first floor of Criss Library is the new exhibit, "The Architectural Studies of H. A. Raapke," featuring works produced during H. A. Raapke's student years, circa 1899-1907. Many of these drawings were part of his coursework for two schools in Paris: Altier Préparatoire D'Architecture and École Nationale des Beaux-Arts. Sixteen of Raapke's original drawings are on display in the windows of the Archives & Special Collections area of Criss Library. The exhibit will run through the end of April 2016. All 59 extant drawings in the library's collection may be viewed in the Criss Library Online Exhibit space at

Charles Timothy Hagel: A Life in Photographs, January 15-April 22, 2016Traverse the public and private life of U.S. Secretary of Defense and U.S. Senator Chuck Hagel through photographs, discovering his roots in Nebraska and his family's commitment to service. They will see images of his first campaign, his early work in Washington, D.C., and his rise from U.S. Senator to Secretary of Defense under President Obama. Finally, they will glimpse him in his roles of son, brother, husband, father, and leader. A more in-depth version of the exhibit is available at

UNO versus Manitoba 1997 hockey game ticketNCAA Division I Hockey: Beginnings, October 5, 2015-January 7, 2016: Relive the excitement of UNO Hockey! UNO began its NCAA Division I hockey program in the fall of 1997. The first Maverick hockey contest was on October 17, 1997 at the Omaha Civic Auditorium – a 3-2 loss to the University of Manitoba Bisons. The display includes memorabilia from the first game including a game-worn jersey from the first Maverick to score a goal, programs, tickets, and photographs along with a signed puck, cowbell, and programs signed by the 2015 Frozen Four Mavericks Hockey team. Video clips from the game can also be viewed in the lobby of Archives & Special Collections. Autographed hockey sticks are on display on the library's main level near the entrance. 

Criss Library will replay UNO’s sold out first hockey game against the University of Manitoba from 1997 on Saturday, October 17, at 1:30 P.M. in celebration of the first hockey game at Baxter Arena. The event is free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be served. For more information, contact Amy Schindler at, 402-554-6046. Share the event flier with friends.

Students on Clyde Baller's hazard course at the University of Omaha, 1942UNO Physical Education & Athletic Facilities, 1940s-1970s, October 20, 2015-January 7, 2016: This display is a look back at some of UNO's physical education & athletic facilities from the 20th century in photos to coincide with the dedication of Baxter Arena. Sapp Fieldhouse's improvements after its cornerstone was laid in 1949 are featured in the display along with the former gyms and locker room in Arts & Sciences Hall and post-World War II Quonset huts.

Chuck HagelIn Service to his Country: Chuck Hagel and Vietnam, October 16, 2015-January 6, 2016: The exhibit of material from the U.S. Senator Chuck Hagel Archive focuses on his military service in Vietnam and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall in Washington, D.C. from its dedication in 1982 to more recent ceremonies through photographs, memorabilia, and other material. 

Images of Afghanistan The Afghan Folio by Luke Powell, September 24-November 12, 2015: The Afghan Folio features 32 Kodak Dye Transfer prints of Afghanistan by photographer Luke Powell. Powell, a graduate of Yale University, traveled to Afghanistan during the 1970s and early 1980s to document the beauty and peace of Afghanistan.  His photographs show farmlands, villages, and daily lives of Afghans prior to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979. This exhibit is on display in the Criss Library Osborne Family Gallery on the main level.

Professor Chritian Jung and Ghulam Safdar Panjshairi June 1973Center for Afghanistan Studies, September 24-November 12, 2015: In 1972, the University of Nebraska at Omaha founded the Center for Afghanistan Studies, a research center devoted entirely to the study of Afghanistan’s history, geography, culture, and people. Christian Jung, professor of Geography and Geology at UNO was the initial head of the Center. This display highlights the people pivotal to the center's founding. 

Due Attention: Small Books from Criss Library Archives & Special Collections, June 24-October 18, 2015: Books are printed in a variety of sizes to fit the needs of the reader and the interests of the publisher. The small books in this display can provide a window into both, from the daily prayer book small enough for one’s pocket to the artist’s book utilizing a concertina style. The small and miniature books displayed date from 1685 to 2010 and include travel guides, individual titles from large sets, as well as small press and artists’ books. A few of the books are small enough to qualify as miniature books, that is, books smaller than 3 inches in size. The slip cases of selected titles are also displayed. 

Chuck Hagel marching in a parade in North Platte while campaigning for the U.S. SenateParading Around: Chuck Hagel Campaign Parades and Events, July 13-September 30, 2015: The newest exhibit in Archives & Special Collections at Criss Library gives visitors a glimpse into the life of Chuck Hagel on the campaign trail in Nebraska in 1996 and 2002. When Hagel decided to run for U.S. Senate in 1996 he was virtually unknown to most Nebraskans. As such, Hagel needed to reach out to communities across the state if he intended to win the election. One way Hagel gained support was through local parades and events. This approach helped Hagel win the election and maintain his seat when he ran again in 2002. The photos on display provide a look into the many events, parades, and other local activities that Hagel, his family, his campaign staff, and his volunteers participated in across Nebraska to garner support for Hagel in his two runs for public office. 

Cover of Municipal University of Omaha Tomahawk Yearbook, 1961From Gateway to Maverick: The OU and UNO Yearbooks, 1915-1975, July 23-September 24, 2015: The University of Nebraska at Omaha yearbook or annual went by several names, beginning as the Gateway in 1915 and then becoming the OmahanTomahawk, and Breakaway before ending as the Maverick in 1973-1975. Through the yearbooks themselves, the exhibit highlights the university’s response to World War II; images of the growing and changing campus, especially Arts & Sciences Hall; and changes in the content and appearance of the yearbook. The exhibit marks 100 years since the publication of the university’s first yearbook and the free online access to UNO’s yearbook first available in 2015 from Criss Library.

Arthur Paul Afghanistan Collection Display​, July 23-September 24, 2015: The current exhibit in Archives & Special Collections has a display of Afghan art dating from the 1st century B.C.E. to the present. Items on display reveal information on Greco-Bactrian art, contemporary art, popular art, and miniature paintings by Bihzad, a famous Afghan painter from the late 15th and early 16th centuries. Also included in the display are handmade pottery works from Afghanistan, produced in Istalif, a small town north of Kabul during the mid-twentieth century. 

Coffee House Press logo

The Impulse to Publish: Selections from Allan Kornblum’s Coffee House Press, 1984-1989, March 26-July 6, 2015: The Coffee House Press published several titles each year beginning in 1984, and the titles here showcase the variety of its output from its earliest days. There is variety to be found in the physical design and construction of the volumes as well as the output, which includes prose, poetry, a play, a book intended for children, and even a humorous volume filled with advice. Publisher Allan Kornblum produced his first publication, Toothpaste, while a graduate student at the University of Iowa in 1970. After taking a typography course under Harry Duncan, who would later establish the book arts program at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, Kornblum launched Toothpaste Press, a small press producing poetry pamphlets and letterpress books. The press was reopened in 1984 as Coffee House Press, a nonprofit organization that initially combined letterpress printing with a small, rapidly growing literary publishing house. Coffee House Press published its final letterpress title in 1994, but continues today as one of the country’s top independent presses.

Lippincott’s Legacy, April 23-July 15, 2015: On the evening of August 30 1889, J.M. Stoddard, the American editor of Lippincott’s Monthly Magazine, sat down to dinner at London’s Langham Hotel with some rather unlikely dinner companions: Oscar Wilde and Arthur Conan Doyle. Following that “golden evening” (as Doyle would later recall it), Wilde and Doyle were both commissioned to write novels to be published in their entirety in Lippincott’s Monthly Magazine. The results were the second appearance of Sherlock Holmes in Doyle’s The Sign of the Four (also called the Sign of Four) and Wilde’s only novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray. The University of Nebraska at Omaha is sponsoring a Lippincott’s Legacy Conference on May 30, 2015 celebrating the 125th anniversary of the publication of both novels.

Exhibit: Chuck Hagel: Gifts to the Secretary of Defense

Chuck Hagel: Gifts to the Secretary of Defense, April 2-July 13, 2015: On display are the colorful and, often, unique gifts Hagel received in 2013 and 2014, mostly from his counterparts in other countries while on official travel. The exhibit opens in time for Congress Week, an annual celebration in April to promote an appreciation for the role of Congress in our representative democracy and encourage study of the U.S. House and Senate. A 1971 graduate of UNO, Hagel represented Nebraskans in the U.S. Senate from 1997 to 2009. Archives & Special Collections holds Hagel’s records from these years. Congress Week commemorates the month in which Congress achieved its first quorums in 1789. 

Campus Computing, 1960s-1970s, March 26-July 6, 2015: Learn about the University of Nebraska at Omaha's early computing years in this display. Through photographs and documents you will get a sense of what computers were like when they took up the better part of rooms rather than fitting in our backpacks and pockets.

What's Cooking: Cookbooks from Criss Library's Archives & Special Collections, March 9, 2015-June 21, 2015: Trans-Mississippi Home-MakerA cookbook collects recipes and provides directions about how to prepare and cook food. The contents of cookbooks also tell us about the eating habits and culinary practices of a people, region, or time period. These texts can also serve to educate the reader or share an appreciation of a particular cuisine. Some of the cookbooks on display here are also examples of the celebration of communities: work colleagues, a religious community, the state of Nebraska, the nations of Afghanistan and the United States, and more. Additional examples from Archives & Special Collections’ Arthur Paul Afghanistan Collection, Rare Books, and University Archives collections are available in Archives & Special Collections.

Icarian Collection, January 21, 2015-March 30, 2015: The Criss Library’s Icarian Collection consists of more than 800 volumes of books and journals previously owned by a 19th century utopian socialist community in Corning, Iowa. The Icarian movement was founded in France by Étienne Cabet (1788-1856).  His novel, Voyage en Icarie, first published in 1840, served as the inspiration for the movement. In 1848, several hundred Icarians immigrated to the United States where they established various colonies, including the one in Corning, Iowa. Although most of the publications in the library’s Icarian Collection are in French, there are also works in English, German, Italian, and Spanish. The collection is supplemented by documents and secondary literature on the Icarians.

Chuck T. Hagel: The 1996 Campaign, January 16, 2015-March 30, 2015: Nebraskans elected Chuck Hagel to represent them in the United States Senate in 1996. His opponent in that race was sitting Governor Ben Nelson. Sworn into office in 1997, Hagel served 2 terms before stepping down in 2008. The display includes campaign signs and other memorabilia. 

Omaha University Football Team, 1954-1955

60th Anniversary of the Tangerine Bowl, January 13, 2015-March 24, 2015: January 2015 marks the 60th anniversary of OU (as UNO was then known) football's 7-6 victory over Eastern Kentucky in the Tangerine Bowl in Orlando, Florida. The display includes the Tangerine Bowl championship trophy, Most Valuable Player trophy awarded to Bill Engelhardt, President Milo Bail's Tangerine Bowl watch, Pete Rigatuso's letter jacket, photographs, and other memorabilia. 


Covering Up: Selections from Criss Library's Fine Arts Press Collection, December 15, 2014-March 5, 2015: Book covers serve a functional purpose: to cover and bind the pages of a book, while the design can identify and promote the volume. The cover offers protection to the book, but it is also another canvas for the book artist.  The private press books on display include a range of cover materials and styles, from the typical, handmade papers, to the unusual, such as a manila envelope or corrugated cardboard. When is the cover of a book more than just a wrapper for the pages inside?

Arthur Paul Afghanistan Collection, October 2014-February 2015: Selected items from the Arthur Paul Afghanistan Collection are on display near the Library Cafe.

UNO Campus Computing, 1960s-1970s: On display for Archives Month 2014.

Campaign 1996: Hagel for Senate, 2012.

A Senator’s Walls: A Selection of Photographs and Artifacts from the Offices of Senator Chuck Hagel, 2010: The exhibit featured more than 300 items from Hagel’s offices in Washington, DC; Omaha; Lincoln; Kearney; and Scottsbluff. The items on display included photographs, awards, gifts, cartoons, newspapers and magazines, presenting a visual history of the senator’s activities during his two, six-year terms in office.