December 2, 2021
Selections from USS Oklahoma Silver Service on Display at Oklahoma History Center
OKLAHOMA CITY — The Oklahoma History Center is pleased to announce the opening of a special exhibit to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor featuring the silver service from the USS Oklahoma. The exhibit will open December 7, 2021, in the third-floor atrium and may be viewed during regular museum hours.
The tradition of creating presentation silver sets for United States warships of the “first rank” began with the USS Maine in the late 1890s. Continuing this tradition, the Oklahoma Legislature appropriated $7,500 in 1913 for the creation of a silver service to express the state’s pride in having a new battleship named for it. It was designed by Walter Dean of Oklahoma City and executed by Gorham Silversmiths of New York. The USS Oklahoma was christened on March 23, 1914, and the service was presented to the ship at that time. The service was used on the battleship from 1914 until 1941, but was removed prior to the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, and stored at the Puget Sound Shipyard in Bremerton, Washington. Following World War II, in 1946 the Oklahoma Historical Society appointed a committee to find the silver service and return it to the state. In 1947 the US Navy loaned the silver service to the Oklahoma Historical Society and, after thorough polishing and repair, it went on public display. Since then, particular articles of the set have been used in various state ceremonies, including inaugurations and supreme court appointments.
The complete set consists of 55 pieces, with each piece carrying the state seal and various other designs including the likenesses of Sequoyah, inventor of the Cherokee syllabary, and Captain David L. Payne, leader of the Boomer movement. Not all of the silver service will be on exhibit; only selected pieces will be available for public view.
The Oklahoma History Center is open Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Museum admission is $10 for adults, $5 for seniors ages 62 and over, $5 for students and free for children ages five and under. Group rates are available upon request. Oklahoma Historical Society members, active-duty military, veterans and dependents (with ID) are admitted at no charge. The Oklahoma History Center is located at 800 Nazih Zuhdi Drive in Oklahoma City. For additional information, please call 405-522-0765.
The Oklahoma History Center is a division of the Oklahoma Historical Society and is an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution, National Archives and is an accredited member of the American Alliance of Museums. The mission of the Oklahoma Historical Society is to collect, preserve and share the history and culture of the state of Oklahoma and its people. 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.