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Osborne Is Unveiled As Henri Museum Director

Thursday, November 15, 2018

EXCITED IS Peter Osborne about being named as the Executive Director of the Robert Henri Museum and Art Gallery in Cozad. 

Peter Osborne has been hired to become the Executive Director of the Robert Henri Museum and Art Gallery in Cozad. Osborne began his new position on November 6th.
Osborne is an independent historian, writer and lecturer who has worked in the public history field for more than thirty-five years.
Osborne was born in Paterson, New Jersey and spent his childhood years in Clifton, New Jersey.
Osborne graduated from Rutgers, the State University, Newark, New Jersey with a BA in American History in 1982.
From 1981 – 2009 Osborne served as Executive Director at the Minisink Valley Historical Society in Port Jervis, New York.
Osborne then was the Curator of Education and Special Events at the Red Mill Museum Village in Clinton, New Jersey from 2010 – 2011.
From 2011 – Present he has worked as an Indepndent Historian, Writer and Lecturer at The Pienpack Company in Easton, Pennsylvania and since 2016 at the Wild Horse Creek Company in Red Cloud, Nebraska.
He is presently commuting to Cozad from Red Cloud, NE where he also established an independent bookstore in the town that revered Nebraska author Willa Cather made famous in her novels and short stories, The Moonstone Bookstore and Emporium.
Osborne moved to Nebraska because of Willa Cather. He had read her books since the 1980s and loved the stories of the Great Plains and prairies.
“Even though I am an Easterner, I absolutely love living in Nebraska,” Osborne said.
Osborne moved to Red Cloud in 2016 and purchased a house in Red Cloud that was the former parsonage for the Cowles Methodist Church.
Osborne was married to Janis Curry McCann who was from Port Jervis, New York for twenty-six years. She was the editor of the Union-Gazette and he was the director of the Minisink Valley Historical Society.
“My wife was a terrific writer who wrote a weekly column,” Osborne said. “A compilation of her columns was put together and called Put the Dog on the Phone: The Collected Newspaper Columns of Janis Osborne,” he continued.
Osborne and his wife had many adventures together and it was Janis who gave him the love for Willa Cather when she gave him one of her books for Christmas one year. They often traveled across the country and made stops on their itineraries at places that had ties to Cather. Janis died in 2008.
Osborne has a son Ryan who lives in New Windsor, New York with his wife Kristina and their son Mason.
He also has a stepdaughter, Megan who lives with her children in Broadway, Virginia and two stepsons, Tom and his wife Gina and their children who live in Port Jervis, New York and Michael McCann who lives with his wife Kristina in Warwick, New York.
Osborn actually had a tie to Robert Henri long before he moved to Nebraska as he wrote the biography of one of his students, Elizabeth Grandin who was from Hunterdon County in New Jersey. Grandin was prominent in women’s artist circles and had also traveled with the Henri family when they were in Europe.
“I had stopped at the museum twice before, but it was during the offseason so it was closed,” Osborne said. “When I was hired as director I could finally give the museum my biography of Grandin,” Osborne explained.
When asked about his goals for the Robert Henri Museum Osborne answered, “It is my intent for us to build on the wonderful work that has been done by previous boards, volunteers and staff members. Collectively, since the mid-1980s, they have done a tremendous job preserving the legacy of Robert Henri. I am so proud to b this important institution’s next director and it is my belief that the museum is ready to had into the next chapter. I am presently working on a listing of everything that we could do even better to tell this fabulous story to a wider audience. We will use those past efforts as a basis to move forward.”
Osborne was totally ‘wowed’ by the collection of Henri’s works when he walked into the Robert Henri Art Gallery.
“I hope that the people of this area realize what a treasure they have in the Henri collection,” Osborne said.
“I have been to other museums which have just one or two of his paintings but we have this amazing collection that is the best there is anywhere, and in the middle of Nebraska of all places!” he continued.
Osborne’s hobbies include traveling, reading, writing books, working on his historic house and ‘breaking bread’ with friends and colleagues.
He supervised five historic restoration and renovation projects and the creation of three war memorials.
Osborne has published numerous articles on local history, and written or compiled seventeen books.

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