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Press Release

March 2, 2015

Contact: Chad Williams
Research Division, Oklahoma Historical Society
Office: 405-522-5207

Oklahoma Century Chest Exhibit Now Open in Stilwell

Stilwell, Okla. — A new exhibit of materials from the Oklahoma Century Chest recently opened in Stilwell at the Stilwell Kansas City Southern Depot. The Adair County exhibit opened February 4, 2015, with an event that included a personal address by Jerry Peterson, the current minister of the First Lutheran Church in Oklahoma City, where the Century Chest was buried. The exhibit features several authentic photographs, documents and film footage of the unearthing of the time capsule. Additionally, the exhibit displays historic photographs of Adair County communities taken at approximately the same time as the Century Chest burial in 1913.

“The Oklahoma Historical Society is extremely pleased to bring the story of the Oklahoma Century Chest to Adair County,” said Chad Williams, director of research at the Oklahoma History Center in Oklahoma City. On February 4, Williams traveled to Stilwell, Oklahoma, to join with the volunteers of the Adair County Historical and Genealogical Association (ACH&GA) and the Stilwell Chamber of Commerce in the official opening of the Century Chest exhibit.

More than 100 years ago, the members of the First English Lutheran Church of Oklahoma City buried a time capsule to tell the story of Oklahoma from 1889–1913. Through a century of diligent supervision, the congregation guarded the artifacts, making possible the opening of the time capsule on April 22, 2013. The Oklahoma Century Chest revealed a collection of manuscripts, books, photographs, maps, clothing, Indian artifacts, sound recordings and other items, all in pristine condition.

In October 2014, the ACH&GA partnered with the Oklahoma Historical Society to create an exhibit about the time capsule. Stilwell holds the honor of being the first city in Oklahoma to participate in a Century Chest exhibit partnership with the OHS.

Jan Lockard, president of ACH&GA, said, “We urge all county residents to take advantage of this unique opportunity to view the artifacts these Oklahoma pioneers placed in the time capsule.” The exhibit is open at the depot Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Reproductions of one-of-a-kind items from the chest are available for purchase along with other historic Oklahoma maps and photographs. For additional details or to schedule a group tour, call the office of ACH&GA at 918-696-2535.

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 31 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.

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