The Velma Armstrong Homestead Collection
It is a privilege and an honor to have my paintings selected to help commemorate pioneer history. Giving up possession of the paintings well afforded me a 'good cry' –for they are a portrait of my personal heritage. However above all sentimental reasons, I realize because of their nature, the paintings are at last- 'Going Home'.
Velma Armstrong, 1961
Capturing the spirit of nineteenth-century Homesteading, Velma Armstrong's paintings have been a mainstay of Homestead National Monument of America's collection since 1961. Armstrong's works were inspired by her parents' pioneering experiences and recollections as homesteaders in Nebraska.
The child of Czech immigrants, Armstrong was born in 1913 the youngest of nine children and grew up on a successful homestead near Diller, Nebraska. As the youngest child, Armstrong was free to pursue her artistic interests before leaving home and becoming a teacher near Beatrice. Armstrong began painting homestead scenes in the 1950s. Homestead National Monument of America acquired the collection in 1961, anticipating the celebration of the Homestead Act Centennial and the opening of a new visitor center (this facility) in 1962.
[Exhibition Note: The exhibit text accompanying the paintings was written by Thelma Armstrong when Homestead National Monument of America acquired them. They have been left largely unedited.]