Homestead Heritage Center

Beatrice, NE

Exhibits, multipurpose room, gift shop, land record research area, curatorial spaces
160-foot exterior exhibit showcasing homesteading in each state, tented gathering plaza
One acre square parking lot, representative of 1/160th of an original homestead
Sustainable design features
National Park Service, Homestead National Monument of America
Programming, Cost Estimating, Sustainable Design, Full Design Services, Construction Administration

Inspired by the homesteading experience, the design of the Homestead Heritage Center creates a distinguishable form on the landscape, and the building appears to grow from the land. Simple yet evocative, the roof form suggests imagery associated with the American frontier: a plowshare, the billowing canvas of a covered wagon, a furrow in the earth.  

The visitor experience parallels that of the historic migration.  Moving east to west, like the original settlers, visitors embark on a metaphorical journey traveling backwards to the virgin prairie that was the destination for so many courageous and tenacious homesteaders.  Visitors park their cars in the one-acre square parking lot (1/160th of a homestead) and approach on foot, symbolic of the struggle the homesteaders faced as they neared their new homes.  

A site wall binds the path to the building and provides protection against the whipping prairie winds.  Silhouettes of each of the homesteading states adorn the wall, each depicting a visual representation of the percentage of land successfully homesteaded in each state.  Ever present, the wall continues into the building, a constant reminder of the homesteading journey.

As one enters the center, an expansive view of the restored prairie dominates—the same view that greeted the homesteaders 150 years ago—emphasizing the untouched vastness that was the West.  From this vantage point, visitors recognize the challenges the homesteaders faced and the immense influence they had on farming and the development of the American Midwest.


AIA Baltimore Design Award
Sika Sarnafil Décor Design Award
NEBRASKALand Foundation Rising Star Award
Nebraska Travel Industry Outstanding Tourist Attraction

What Our Clients Say

“The Heritage Center makes Homestead National Monument of America a must-see USA destination!”

—Visitor from London, England, Guest Register Comment