Friday Dec 02, 2022

History Nebraska CEO who evoked praise and criticism to leave this summer – Kearney Hub


Trevor Jones, who worked aggressively to digitize Nebraska historical records and made other major changes at the state’s premier historical organization, is leaving this summer.

Jones, who is CEO and executive director of History Nebraska, departs his post July 1.

Among the many changes during Jones’ tenure was the name of the organization. It previously had been known as the Nebraska State Historical Society. The organization is an independent Nebraska state agency that is governed by a 15-member board of trustees.

A major conflict that erupted during Jones’ tenure centered on how to spend donations, with Jones emphasizing a digital transformation of records. The acrimony became so intense that History Nebraska formed its own foundation, independent of the Nebraska State Historical Society Foundation. Jones also was criticized for requiring frequent performance reviews. While he was criticized, he was also supported by board members who said Jones had enacted much-needed changes that led to increased use by the public and improved revenues.

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David Levy, president of the board, announced Jones’ departure in a statement Wednesday afternoon. He said Jones would be spending time with family traveling and exploring.

Neither Jones nor Levy could be reached for comment. In the statement, Levy said the board would meet to determine next steps.

Jones came to the organization in May 2016.

Prior to leading History Nebraska, Jones managed the Historical Resources division at the Kentucky Historical Society.

History Nebraska employs more than 75 employees and manages seven historic sites and more than 30 buildings and properties.

150 Notable Nebraskans

2. Standing Bear

2. Standing Bear

c. 1829-1908

Native leader

A renowned Ponca chief, Standing Bear, in 1879, became the first Native to be legally recognized as a person.

In 1877, the federal government forced the Ponca from their northeast Nebraska land to Indian Territory in what is now Oklahoma. A year later, honoring the wish of his 16-year-old son to be buried along the Niobrara River, Standing Bear led a band of tribe members back to Nebraska.

Arrested for leaving the reservation, Standing Bear stood trial at Fort Omaha, his lawyers filing a writ of habeas corpus contesting the detention. The judge ruled in favor of Standing Bear and the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the ruling.

4. George Norris

4. George W. Norris



Called “the very perfect, gentle knight of American progressive ideals” by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, Norris served five terms in the U.S. House of Representatives (1903-13) and five terms in the U.S. Senate (1913-43), all save the final term as a Republican.

An Ohio native, Norris moved to Beaver City in 1885 to practice law. He established an office in McCook in 1899, practicing law before beginning his political career.

Norris promoted the unicameral Legislature in Nebraska, approved by voters in 1934, and led the creation of the Tennessee Valley Authority, and the Rural Electrification Act, both championing public power.


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