For fifty years the Missouri Valley History Conference has been an annual rite of spring for the midwestern historical community. Founded and organized by the Department of History, the conference is the longest standing professional gathering of historians in our region. With panels on all time periods of history, from the classical era to the modern, and with all topical emphases, from political history to newer social and cultural approaches, the conference allows scholars to exchange ideas and advance historical knowledge. Presentations often have a lasting impact on the field. There have been many papers presented at the Missouri Valley which were eventually published, history professor Bill Pratt noted. The conference has a number of longstanding traditions. Each year there is a Friday luncheon that features a prominent historian as speaker. George Tindall, Robin Winks, Linda Kerber, Leon Fink, and Tamara Haraven are examples of the groundbreaking historians who have come to Omaha over the years. The conference also seeks to feature local institutions. The Friday evening main reception has been held at places such as the Durham Western Heritage Museum, the Joslyn Art Museum, and the Gerald R. Ford Conservation Center. Local historical societies, such as the Nebraska State Historical Society, and museums, such as Great Plains Black Museum, have gained valuable exposure by displaying exhibits. Another theme in the history of the conference is the prominent place of military history. Each year the Society for Military History, a national organization of military history scholars, organizes several panels around military topics. The inclusion of publishers in conference events is also an established practice. Editors from scholarly journals and university presses are often on the program in order to dialogue with historians about the field and to facilitate the publication process. These contacts are nurtured at publisher displays where historians can be exposed to recent literature while discussing their own scholarly projects.