Durham Museum

Located in Omaha, Nebraska

Scope of Work

CAP Assessment

Berggren Architects performed a CAP Assessment (Collections Assessment for Preservation) for the Durham Museum.

Project Completion


This project was completed in 2013.

The History

Built in 1931.

The museum was built in 1931 by Gilbert Stanley Underwood. 


Omaha, Nebraska

The Durham Museum is located in Omaha, Nebraska.

CAP Assessment

Durham Museum

Berggren Architects has performed three Collections Assessments for Preservation (CAP) for the Durham Museum in Omaha, Nebraska in the years 1990, 2005, and 2013. The museum, formerly known as the Western Heritage Museum, began operation in 1973 and is housed in Omaha’s historic Union Station. The station was designed by architect Gilbert Stanley Underwood in the Art Deco Style and completed in 1930. The station was owned by Union Pacific before becoming defunct in 1971. Shortly The station was donated to the City of Omaha, and the museum  opened shortly afterwards. 

In 1990, Berggren Architects, alongside conservator Mayda Jensen, performed our first CAP Assessment for the museum. We identified appropriate exclusion of water, protection of exhibits next to steam mains, and light levels as a few primary concerns for the museum.

In 1995–1996, the museum undertook a $22 million renovation project and was renamed the Durham Western Heritage Museum.. Berggren Architects returned with conservator Julie Reilly in 2005 to perform a Conservation Reassessment (Re-CAP) of the building. We identified three serious structural issues: the deterioration of iron columns in the old boiler house basement, the weakening of a structural tile vault ceiling, and building code compliance of a new room created. We also reported upon issues of moisture intrusion and security.

In 2008, the museum was renamed the Durham Museum. In 2013, Berggren Architects and conservator Julie Reilly returned to perform another Re-CAP. We were impressed to find that the museum staff had addressed most of the major structural issues. Unfortunately, we found that the tile vault ceiling had collapsed. We also noted that water was leaking through the membrane roof and causing the deterioration of the interior plaster and paint.