The history, culture and people of Oklahoma are now on display for visitors to Oklahoma City at the new Oklahoma History Center. Visitors, this December, will be the some of the first people to see the new “Smithsonian-quality” museum, which opened to the public on November 19. Since 1893, the Oklahoma Historical Society has been charged with safeguarding historical records, preserving Oklahoma History and sharing with the public. The Society was made a state agency in 1907 and continued its tradition of collecting keepsakes. About the time the Society opened their doors at the Wiley Post Building in 1930, the Society’s mission expanded from just collecting documents and artifacts to preserving the history of its people.
The Historical Society’s successes at collecting and the shortage of storage were affecting the collection part of its mission. When the museum says ‘yes’ to acquiring an object, they then have the obligation to take care of that object forever. Because of space concerns, curators began to collect smaller and smaller items and pass on the big things even though some of the big items had major relevance to the state’s history. With the new center, curators can deal with items on their own merit instead of considering how much space would be needed to store it.
Oklahoma is a young state, and its history is revealed with the everyday and unusual objects displayed at the museum. Visitors will see images of Oklahoma from radio, television and pictures the arts, sports and Wild West shows; Gain an insight to Oklahoma’s business, natural resources, military, civil rights and transportation; Learn about American Indians and their origins, spirituality, language, dwellings, tribes and life; and understand rural and urban life in Oklahoma. The Museum is open 9 – 5 Monday through Saturday and noon to 5 on Sunday. Closed Christmas and New Year’s Day The museum gift shop and the Winnie Mae Café are open during regular business hours. For more information call 405-522-5248 or visit www.okhistorycenter.org.
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