Joe Voges (1913-2012) was born March 15th, 1913 in Nebraska City, NE. He graduated from Nebraska City High School in 1930. Joe served in the United States Navy during World War II, returning home in 1945. Joe was a member and officer of Otoe County Wildlife Club for many years and operated various businesses in Nebraska City, including Schneider Cabin Camp and Otoe Market & Motel. Joe's lifelong passion eventually led him to pursue another venture.
Joe's interest in the art of taxidermy began in 1933. He honed his skills over many decades, eventually amassing an extensive collection of legally obtained wildlife specimens, as well as scientific and historical data. In 1967, Joe opened Naturecraft Taxidermy Studios to practice his art full time. It was his dream to establish a museum where his collection would be on display for the public to enjoy and share in his love of all things natural. Joe's dream came true in 1975 when the city of Nebraska City provided him space to create such a museum.
The River Country Nature Center has since moved to a modern museum space at its current location just off Central Avenue. The Center continues to carry on the legacy of Joe Voges and educate visitors about the diversity of wildlife and the importance of environmental conservation.