New Exhibit Celebrates TG&Y 80th Anniversary
KINGFISHER, Okla. — The Chisholm Trail Museum is proud to announce a special exhibit, entitled “TG&Y is Still Alive: The 80th Anniversary Exhibit,” celebrating the 80th anniversary of the opening of the first TG&Y store. The exhibit will be open to the public through September 2016.
In early March 1936 three enterprising men, R. E. Tomlinson, E. L. Gosselin and Raymond Young merged their money and resources to co-own and open the first TG&Y store on Main Street in downtown Norman, Oklahoma. Little did these small five-and-dime store owners from central and western Oklahoma know that the opening of this store would lead to one of the largest retail chain store successes in the nation by the 1970s, boasting more than 900 stores and more than $2 billion in retail profit at its peak. This year marks the 80th anniversary of the opening of the first TG&Y store and the Chisholm Trail Museum will celebrate and honor this very special anniversary by displaying the history, culture and spirit of TG&Y through a temporary exhibit focusing on its former owners, employees and avid shoppers.
The museum’s initial exhibit on the store, entitled “TG&Y: An Original Oklahoma Icon,” started fairly small and focused on Raymond A. Young, who opened his first five-and-dime store in Kingfisher, Oklahoma. However, when news spread about the exhibit, countless former TG&Y employees and enthusiasts came from across Oklahoma and surrounding states to remember the history of TG&Y and what it meant to them. It was through these visitors that the museum acquired numerous donations of TG&Y merchandise, pins, pamphlets, magazines and oral histories. With that in mind, the museum will utilize these very generous donations and memories in the upcoming exhibit. The exhibit will include more than 80 store pamphlets from the 1960s through the 1980s including individual photographs and stories about hard-working employees from their time spent working at various TG&Y stores across Oklahoma and the nation. Photocopies of the original pamphlets will be available to any former employee who wishes to take a piece of history home from the exhibit. Binders with original store opening newspaper clippings from around the state of Oklahoma also will be available to view, in addition to numerous TG&Y related artifacts such as TG&Y branded televisions, toy trucks, pins, jackets, glasses, pencils and countless other pieces of merchandise previously sold at TG&Y stores.
The grand opening of the exhibit will coincide with the TG&Y reunion group’s annual visit to the Chisholm Trail Museum on June 25 at 1 p.m. The exhibit unveiling will be open to the public, and visitors will have the opportunity to tour the exhibit and talk with numerous former TG&Y employees about the history of TG&Y.
For more information about the Kingfisher Chisholm Trail Museum and to see updates on events and programs, please visit www.ctokmuseum.org, follow the museum on Facebook or call 405-375-5176. The Governor Seay Mansion and Chisholm Trail Museum are located at 605 Zellers Ave. in Kingfisher, Okla. Hours of operation are Tuesday– Saturday, 10 a.m.–5 p.m. The museum is closed on major holidays. Admission to the museum is $5 for adults and $3 for children and seniors.
The Chisholm Trail Museum is an affiliate of the Oklahoma Historical Society. The mission of the Oklahoma Historical Society is to collect, preserve and share the history and culture of the state of Oklahoma. Founded in 1893 by members of the Territorial Press Association, the OHS maintains 30 museums, historic sites and affiliates across the state. Through its research archives, exhibits, educational programs and publications the OHS chronicles the rich history of Oklahoma. For more information about the OHS, please visit www.okhistory.org.