October 10, 2016
Chisholm Trail Museum Opens New Exhibit "Kingfisher College: Ivy League School on the Prairie"
KINGFISHER, Okla. — The Chisholm Trail Museum is proud to announce a new exhibit focusing on the history of a small but influential college in the area entitled "Kingfisher College: Ivy League School on the Prairie." Through artifacts, original photographs, oral histories and narrative, the exhibit reveals the story of how the small college established just five years after the Land Run of 1889 in the small prairie town of Kingfisher, Okla., attained the highest standards, taking its place among the ranks of other institutions founded by the Congregational Church including Harvard, Yale and Dartmouth.
Although Kingfisher College only existed in Kingfisher for 28 years (1894–1922) and graduated only 117 students in those years, the school’s standard for excellence was second to none, exemplified by the achievements of Kingfisher College graduates. Some examples include Harriet Parker Camden, who composed the first Oklahoma state song, "Oklahoma a Toast"; Ernest Burgess, who innovated in the field of sociology and introduced a sociological method named for him; and Joyce Stearns, a physicist who was an administrator for the Manhattan Project. Other graduates distinguished themselves through military service, and several students were prominent in athletics.
By 1922, Kingfisher College closed its doors for good. Although Kingfisher College no longer exists in the town of Kingfisher, it is still alive in Norman, Okla., as a part of the University of Oklahoma Philosophy Department, where the university maintains the Kingfisher College Chair of Philosophy of Religion and Ethics.
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 through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The museum is closed on major holidays. Admission to the museum is $5 for adults, $4 for seniors and $3 for children.
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 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.
Editor’s Note: Photographs to accompany this story can be acquired by contacting Adam Lynn at the Chisholm Trail Museum at firstname.lastname@example.org or 405-375-5176.