Budget Cuts Prompt Creativity at Pioneer Woman Museum
PONCA CITY, Okla. — The budget just got tighter at the Pioneer Woman Statue and Museum. The state’s budget woes are making an impact at the museum and the local Friends of the Pioneer Woman Museum are looking at creative ways to make ends meet. “The statue and the museum are invaluable to the Ponca City community. We are committed to finding solutions to keep our programs and exhibits top-notch and maintaining the standards set to preserve the artifact collection at the museum,” said Friends of the Pioneer Woman Statue and Museum Chair Mary Beth Moore.
The Pioneer Woman statue has stood at the corner of Highland and 14th Street since 1930, and the museum has been open since 1958. Both are long-standing icons of the Ponca City community. “Last December, when we did the duck campaign to raise funds to ‘wash’ the statue the community really let us know how important she is to them. We know that the people of Ponca City and the surrounding areas love the Pioneer Woman statue and museum and are just as committed as we are to continue the progress we have made in the last few years,” said Moore. In April, the group celebrated the opening of the new lobby, complete with a new exhibit, “Under the Bonnet: Frontier Families.” “We will continue to look for creative ways to support the museum financially and we will be asking the community for their support and guidance as we do so,” said Moore.
The museum has hosted a number of free and low cost events and programs since its reopening in the summer of 2013. “We have opened three new exhibits, hosted a traveling exhibit from the Smithsonian and have opened the doors to the community for several free events as well as a community-wide pep rally,” said Robbin Davis, Pioneer Woman Statue and Museum director. “Our participation in the community is very important to us. We want folks to know that our doors are open to them as a resource, as a place to learn and to have fun,” continued Davis.
On September 29, the Friends of the Pioneer Woman Statue and Museum will host its first fundraising event. Called “Prairie to Palate,” the event will feature a menu of local, simple faire, crafted by Chef Jeff Denton with an outdoor dining experience on the grounds of the Pioneer Woman Museum. “This event is the start of what we hope will come to be a yearly experience for the community and a tradition for the museum,” said Moore. “This is our opportunity to show the community what we can do and that the museum is headed in a new direction.” Tickets for the event will be available beginning August 1. “We are offering event sponsorships that come with premium benefits at various levels. Local business owners and individuals who are interested in supporting the future of the Pioneer Woman Museum are invited to participate,” said Moore. “Our director, Robbin Davis, can answer any questions about sponsorships and how the community can support our endeavors.”
The Pioneer Woman Statue and Museum sits on 14 acres and houses approximately 10,000 artifacts related to local history, including many items from local citizens and historic landmarks. “The preservation of our history is essential to our future success and we are committed to preserving the legacy our families have left for us,” said Director Davis. “To move forward, though, we have to have the funds to care for these items, to display them in new exhibits and to share information through programs,” she continued. “Funds collected locally are utilized to support the education programs, exhibits and the artifact collection. We are extremely grateful to the community for its support. I feel honored to represent the statue and museum and look forward to continuing the legacy of the pioneers,” said Davis.
For more information about any of the programs and events hosted by the Pioneer Woman Museum, contact the museum at 580-765-6108, email@example.com or visit its Facebook page.
The Pioneer Woman Museum, a division of the Oklahoma Historical Society, is located at 701 Monument Rd. in Ponca City. 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 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.