Street Address
1000 Main Street
Chadron, NE 69337
Mailing Address
1000 Main Street
Chadron, NE 69337
phone: 308-432-6401
Monday - Friday8 AM - 12 PM & 1 PM - 4 PM
Saturday9 AM - 12 PM & 1 PM - 4 PM
Closed Sundays and College Holidays
Gift Shop
Special Event Rental
Group Tours
Sarah Polak, Director
phone: 308-432-6401


The Center is a landmark on the Chadron State College that features displays that celebrate the life and literature of Mari Sandoz as well as the culture of the High Plains. The Chicoine Atrium is also part of the Center and is a beautiful events space.

Carmen and John Gottschalk Mari Sandoz Exhibition Gallery

This permanent exhibit space tells the story of the life and literature of Mari Sandoz. Using photographs and objects from the Center’s Collection, the exhibit is a great introduction to an often-underestimated author and a way to delve deeper into an author you may already be familiar with. The exhibit looks at the topics of her writing using her person experience – landscape, advocacy for Native Americans, writing style, and her dedication to research.

C.F. Coffee Gallery

The C. F. Coffee Gallery is dedicated to the history of Cattle Ranching on the High Plains. Exhibits in the gallery space begin with the movement of cattle from Texas the High Plains, the open range era, and the transition to the ranching system we know today. The Coffee Gallery is the newest of the exhibit spaces and is still in development. The primary focus of the Gallery’s work has been on collecting archival resources for use by not only the students at Chadron State College, but for researchers from around the world. For more information about the archival resources available, please contact the Center

E.H. Barbour Paleontology Exhibit

The middle 20th century was a time of scientific exploration in the West, and the Nebraska Sand Hills was no exception. One particular Sand Hills scientific resource was instrumental in bringing together two legendary figures: E.H. Barbour, founder of the University of Nebraska State Museum, and “Old Jules” Sandoz. The exhibit, " Who lived here before?," highlights this exchange. Sandoz discovered fossils on his land and he brought these to the attention of Barbour in a series of letters. Copies of these letters can be seen in the kiosk. Barbour arrived at Sandoz’s doorstep several times only to find Sandoz gone. After they finally met, years later, Barbour realized that Sandoz had discovered a new species of giant beaver, Castoroides.

Flora Sandoz, The Wild Flowers of Nebraska

Flora Rosa Sandoz, named by her older sister Marie (Mari), was born May 12, 1906 to parents Jules and Mary Sandoz. She was born on the Old River Place south of Hay Springs, NE but would spend much of her life on the Sandhill Ranch south of Gordon. In the fall of 1929 she enrolled in the Botany program at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. In three years she finished her degree and returned to her home, unfortunately due to the Depression not many jobs were available. In 1934 she married a musician by the name of Boris Kicken. They worked very hard on the Home Place, taking care of the cattle as well as the orchards. Their marriage, however, did not end well. Flora continued to tend to her cattle, her fruit trees, and those trees left by her father.

Heritage Gardens

The Heritage Gardens project began in the spring of 2006 to reflect the region’s prairie, native, and ranching cultures and to be a living teaching collection on the campus of and for Chadron State College. The Gardens are not only a cultural and historic learning space, but have become an environmental learning space

The High Plains World of Claude A. Barr

Claude A. Barr (1887-1982) was a South Dakota cattle rancher who attained international acclaim as an eminent plantsman of the plains. Through his Prairie Gem Ranch, he supplied Great Plains seeds, plants, and information to the scientific and gardening world for many years. His achievements inspired formation of the Great Plains Native Plant Society in 1984. Barr’s lifework is depicted in his posthumously published book “Jewels of the Plains” which is still the best reference to the plains wildflowers and their cultivation. With original photographs, the hardback edition of “Jewels of the Plains” is now out of print and the copies that can be found are a prized possession of gardeners around the world.

Peter Kiewit Temporary Exhibition Gallery

This exhibition space is located on the Main floor of the Sandoz Center and hosts up to eight temporary exhibits per year. Please see our website for current information.

Exhibitions Available for Travel

We have 6 exhibitions that travel.

Virtual Gallery

The Virtual Gallery will feature items from the Center’s collections in a 3-D format which will allow the Center to exhibit pieces from the collection that are not currently on display or items which are considered pieces of distinction. The Gallery is currently under construction and will be available soon


The Mari Sandoz High Plains Heritage Center will celebrate the life and literature of Mari Sandoz and the culture, history and ecology of the High Plains. The Center will be integral to Chadron State College and serve its academic, social and cultural needs. The Center?s collections will reflect the culture and history of the myriad, diverse people who have encountered this region and the ecology of the High Plains.


The idea for the Center was originally conceived in 1971, but finally came to fuition in 2001. During that time, the Center's concept as a place for learning and preservation was fully formed. Since 2001, the Center has become a dynamic part of Chadron State College and a leader in history on Mari Sandoz, as well as the Cattle Ranching Industry of the High Plains.

Artifacts Collections

As new items are being added to the Center, please visit the Center's website for details.

Research Collections

As new items are being added to the Center, please visit the Center's website for details.


The Mari Sandoz High Plains Heritage Center is a component of Chadron State College. Primary governance is overseen by the College with imput from the Center's advisory groups


Access: General Public

Appointment required: Yes


Wheelchair Accessible


Gift Shop

Special Event Rental

Group Tours