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Meet ‘Archie’ at Morrill Hall

Down the Road: Archie, the world’s largest Columbian mammoth skeleton, stands more than 15 feet tall and is on display in Lincoln, Neb.

Curt Arens, Editor, Nebraska Farmer

May 17, 2024

3 Min Read
15.5 feet tall, the skeleton named Archie is the world’s largest skeleton of a Columbian mammoth,
STAR ATTRACTION: At 15½ feet tall, “Archie” is the world’s largest skeleton of a Columbian mammoth. Archie was found in Lincoln County in 1922 and was moved to the University of Nebraska State Museum at Morrill Hall on the UNL City Campus in Lincoln in 1933. He resides in a room aptly called Elephant Hall. Photos by Curt Arens

It’s hard to miss “Archie.” When you enter the University of Nebraska State Museum at Morrill Hall on the UNL City Campus in Lincoln, a life-sized bronze statue of him greets you on the plaza outside.

As you enter the museum, there is a room called Elephant Hall containing fossilized skeletons of prehistoric creatures depicting the natural history of Nebraska, including Archie.

His skeleton, found in Lincoln County in 1922, stands more than 15½ feet tall and is the world’s largest Columbian mammoth skeleton, brought to Morrill Hall in 1933. Remains of mastodons and mammoths have been found in every Nebraska county, so having the world’s largest on display should be of no surprise.

saber-toothed cat

Paleontologists believe that Archie roamed Nebraska during an ice age between 2 million and 10,000 years ago, along with other prehistoric animals like camels, bison, saber-toothed cats and rhinoceroses, to name just a few. But Archie isn’t the only attraction at Morrill Hall. Each floor of the museum reveals another layer of the state’s natural history.

Floor by floor

On the main floor where visitors enter, displays cover paleontology of the state, with specialized rooms of bizarre beasts, fossil rhinos and horses, Elephant Hall, a gift shop, and the Mueller Planetarium.

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The first floor in the basement holds displays of Nebraska wildlife, along with a classroom, Marx Discovery Center, an educator’s resource center and an auditorium. If you head up to the third floor, you will see displays on dinosaurs, weapons throughout time and the first people of the Plains.

Visitors to the gallery at Morrill Hall have the opportunity to visit paleontologists

The fourth floor is called “Cherish Nebraska,” with exhibits on the state’s landscapes over time, including the evolution of the state’s prairies.

Hosting hundreds of schoolchildren each year, the museum offers gallery tours on the prehistory of the state; or scientific movies with a full dome experience in the planetarium, with titles such as “Solar Superstorms” or “Dinosaurs at Dusk.”

fossilized skeletons , showcasing the prehistoric wildlife of the state.

Guests can also talk directly with paleontologists working on-site, and ask questions about the natural history of Nebraska and current research going on around the state.

Archie may be the star attraction at Morrill Hall, but there is more to see and plenty of things to do during a visit to the State Museum on campus.

Learn more about Morrill Hall and the UNL State Museum at

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About the Author(s)

Curt Arens

Editor, Nebraska Farmer

Curt Arens began writing about Nebraska’s farm families when he was in high school. Before joining Farm Progress as a field editor in April 2010, he had worked as a freelance farm writer for 27 years, first for newspapers and then for farm magazines, including Nebraska Farmer.

His real full-time career, however, during that same period was farming his family’s fourth generation land in northeast Nebraska. He also operated his Christmas tree farm and grew black oil sunflowers for wild birdseed. Curt continues to raise corn, soybeans and alfalfa and runs a cow-calf herd.

Curt and his wife Donna have four children, Lauren, Taylor, Zachary and Benjamin. They are active in their church and St. Rose School in Crofton, where Donna teaches and their children attend classes.

Previously, the 1986 University of Nebraska animal science graduate wrote a weekly rural life column, developed a farm radio program and wrote books about farm direct marketing and farmers markets. He received media honors from the Nebraska Forest Service, Center for Rural Affairs and Northeast Nebraska Experimental Farm Association.

He wrote about the spiritual side of farming in his 2008 book, “Down to Earth: Celebrating a Blessed Life on the Land,” garnering a Catholic Press Association award.

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