The Mari Sandoz High Plains Heritage Center on the Chadron State College campus is featured in the 2013 Nebraska Tourism Commission Passport program.
The program features 10 themed tours so travelers can plan trips across Nebraska tailored to match their interests. Tourists who have their passport stamped for all sites within one theme earn a t-shirt and their name is entered into drawing for a chance to win larger prizes.
Center director Sarah Polak said the center was involved in the Passport program for the first time in 2011, but has taken a more active role in the program this year.
“Social media has helped. I went on the tour of other ‘Turn the Page’ Passport participants including museums, book stores, libraries and historic sites. I blogged my 1,400 mile tour on Facebook and this promoted the center in a new way,” Polak said.
“The Literary Tour helped educate me about the other sites and I gave away Sandoz books as promotional items. I saw a lot of CSC alums on the tour. I was able to facilitate as others discovered connections between Mari Sandoz and other better known Nebraska authors,” Polak said.
The center has free admission and is open Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., and Saturday 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Polak said the center is located within a nice cluster of other Passport destinations in northwest Nebraska including the High Plains Homestead home of the Drifter Cookshack and Bunkhouse, Fort Robinson, and the Museum of the Fur Trade. Polak said she has seen more people coming to the area and they are seeing more sites while they are here.
Visitors to the center are given flyers about the natural plant gardens around the center and native and adapted plantings across campus.
The Blue Star Museums is another program in which the center participates. It is collaboration among the National Endowment for the Arts, Blue Star Families, the Department of Defense, and more than 2,000 museums across America.
First launched in the summer of 2010, Blue Star Museums offer free admission to all active duty military personnel and their families from Memorial Day through Labor Day 2013. To see the Sandoz Center and other area attractions that participate, click on the online map.
The Chadron Area Chamber of Commerce recently hosted a group of 20 travel writers. Fifteen visited the center while others went to alternative nearby Passport locations. They all received packets of information about the center. The writers represented regional, byways, RV and other types of magazines from many states including Virginia, Colorado, Wyoming and Utah.
“They were a lot of fun. They visit places for a living so they ask different questions. For example, they wanted to know about RV hookups in the area and similar information. They spent about 90 minutes learning about the center. I’m so grateful to Colette and the Chamber for promoting the center and helping us gain increased recognition,” Polak said.
In April, Polak initiated a cell phone and brochures about it are available at the center and in the Admissions Office in Crites Hall.
“We are continuing to develop the information contained in the audio tour. We have also found some archival film footage that will be used in the future on a website enhancement to the tour,” Polak said.
To access the CSC audio tour, visitors should call 408-794-7782, and then select one of following extensions for the corresponding location.
*1000 Mari Sandoz Center
*2000 Edna Work Hall
*3000 Memorial Hall
*4000 West Court Apartments
*5000 Brooks Hall
*6000 Crites Hall
*7000 Administration Building
*8000 Sparks Hall
*9000 Reta E. King Library
*10000 Kline Campus Center
*11000 Student Center
*12000 Lindeken Clock tower
*13000 Residence Hall Complex
*14000 Math and Science Building
*15000 Burkhiser Technology Complex
*16000 Eagle Ridge
*17000 Rangeland Complex
*18000 Softball Field (coming soon)
*19000 Army National Guard Armory (coming soon)
*20000 Armstrong Gym
*21000 Chadron State College Events Center
*22000 Elliot Field, Con Marshall Press Box, Don Beebe Stadium (coming soon)
*23000 Miller Hall
*24000 Boiler House
*25000 Nelson Physical Activity Center
*26000 "C" on C Hill
*27000 Maintenance Service Building (coming soon)
*28000 Harold and Laverne Thompson Natural History Preserve
*29000 Hildreth Education Building
—Tena L. Cook, Interim Marketing Coordinator