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About Us

Founded by Harold Warp in 1953

Warp was born in 1903 on a Nebraska homestead and in 1924 went to Chicago to manufacture Warp’s Plastics products. The construction of the Pioneer Village was actually triggered by the sale in 1948 of the country school Mr. Warp had attended as a child. With the help of his sister Clara and her husband Col. T.C. Jensen, Harold built the collection showing “How America Grew.”

How We Got Started

In Harold’s words from his book The History of Man’s Progress:
I was born of pioneering parents on a homestead just a few miles from the site of the Pioneer Village. Among my earliest recollections are the stories of the trials and tribulations of my parents and their neighbors during the period that they were contributing so much to the expansion of our great nation. Having, like most small boys, a curious nature, I asked questions and the answers I received have stayed with me all of my adult life. At the Pioneer Village I have tried to perpetuate your memories, and my memories, through this collection of everyday items and mementos of a bygone day.
In 1924, I moved to Chicago where I commenced manufacturing Flex-O-Glass. Every winter for many years the Warp family and their offspring would all get together for Christmas dinner at our old homestead 9 miles southeast of Minden, Nebraska.
In 1948, while home for Christmas, I learned the old schoolhouse we attended as children was to be sold at auction. I purchased it with the understanding that all school records would be left intact. Then the first church in Minden was to be disposed of, as well as the old B & M Depot that was at the end of the railroad in homesteading days. To save them from destruction, I purchased these also, as well as the original U.S. Government Land Office, Elm Creek [Native American] Fort, Bridgeport Pony Express Station, and other historic buildings. I then had to find a place to put them. From this small beginning the Pioneer Village has grown to its present size.
Why was 1830 selected as the year our mechanical age commenced? It was after 1830 that man learned to roll steel, draw wire, and hold steam under pressure. Our progress since then has been based on these fundamental developments. Our mechanical development is based on the rolling and drawing of steel. Our electrical development is based on being able to draw wire. Our cultural development is the end result.
It is my sincere hope that our generation, our children, and our children’s children will realize and appreciate the sacrifices that our forebears made in establishing and expanding our country. We hope that by displaying the items in the Pioneer Village, we will all come to realize the great amount of hard work done by these people of the past, so that we of this generation and children of future generations have a better understanding of the hardships endured in the founding of our great country.
Yours very sincerely,

Many folks linger longer than planned, so allow at least half a day for your visit. Stay as many days as you please, multiple day admission tickets are available. Pioneer Village is one of the nation’s best-planned and most comprehensive collections of Americana, covering the period from 1830 to the mid-1980s. Originally started as a private endeavor, the museum is now operated as a 501(c)(3) Foundation, able to receive tax-deductible donations.

Our Mission

The desire of Harold Warp was to create a place where people of all ages could witness the incredible progress that took place in our country from the 1830s until the 1980s. His passion for the ingenuity of the human spirit can be felt throughout the entire facility. The mission of the Pioneer Village is to continue to uphold Harold’s vision and his desire to share this impressive collection with generations to come.

Our Programs

Plan a trip today!

Pioneer Village has something to fascinate every member of the family… Your visit will be HIGHLY EDUCATIONAL, INTERESTING, and ENTERTAINING. It’s the only Museum of Progress in the United States where you can “See How America Grew.” This wonderful museum includes thousands of items placed in their chronological order of development.  Planning a group visit?  Contact us for additional details.

Take a short survey

You are invited to participate in a research study because you are connected to the Harold Warp Pioneer Village as visitor of the museum or website.  Please click this link to help us learn more about your experience.  

Thank you!


Over 50,000 items, large and small, are grouped chronologically in several large buildings. Harold Warp chose the year 1830 for the beginning of each exhibit, corresponding to when man learned to roll steel, draw wire and hold steam under pressure.

In these exhibits are most of the important scientific inventions used every day in homes, transportation, communications and agriculture. Signs which give facts about each exhibit and its place in history aid viewers.

Buffalo Bill's Saddle

See a Pony Express station where Buffalo Bill’s saddle rests in a glass case.

The Power of Steam

Farmers—see one of the largest farm-tractor exhibit in the world. Start with an 1830 treadmill and follow the development, including some of the largest steam tractors and earth-moving machines. See the evolution of plows, planters, cultivators, harvesters, threshers, shellers, and haying equipment, too.

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