March 23, 2023
Contact: Nicole Harvey
Director of Strategic Initiatives, Oklahoma Historical Society
Friends of Fort Gibson Foundation Awarded Oklahoma Heritage Preservation Grant
OKLAHOMA CITY — The Oklahoma Historical Society (OHS) is proud to announce that the Friends of Fort Gibson Foundation has been awarded a grant through the Oklahoma Heritage Preservation Grant Program.
“These funds will go a long way to ensure that Fort Gibson can expand the history it interprets,” said Sen. Dewayne Pemberton, Muskogee. “As Fort Gibson Historic Site approaches its 200th anniversary in 2024, educational programming will be an important aspect of commemorating the event.”
“Congratulations to the Friends of Fort Gibson on this grant award,” said Rep. Chris Sneed, Fort Gibson. “The history and stories of Fort Gibson are important to understand. I am encouraged to learn that these funds will expand the history being presented engagingly and educationally.”
Friends of Fort Gibson Foundation received $20,000 for a project titled “First Kansas Colored Infantry and the Women Who Supported Them,” which will help fund supplies necessary to create a living history program to put names and real-life stories to individuals involved with the First Kansas Colored Infantry. Those include Andy Murrell, an enslaved person to Minerva and George Murrell at nearby Hunter’s Home plantation who later became a scout for the US military in Indian Territory, and Harriet Markham, a laundress married to a soldier in the First Kansas. Laundresses were not limited to cleaning and mending the clothes of the soldiers. They were also employed as nurses and helped the cooks in the mess halls while contributing to the family economy and allowing for a two-person income.
“This grant will greatly help Fort Gibson Historic Site to continue and expand the educational programming about the First Kansas Colored Infantry and the pivotal role they played in Oklahoma history,” said Linda Ryan, president of Friends of Fort Gibson Foundation. “This grant also allows Fort Gibson to fulfill its mission to provide an inclusive history to tell the true story of Oklahoma history.”
The OHS will distribute over $575,000 in grant funds, with projects ranging from collections care and strategic planning to exhibit development and educational programming.
“These grant funds continue to empower local communities to collect, preserve and share their history for future generations of Oklahomans with over 150 projects funded to date,” said Nicole Harvey, director of strategic initiatives and grants administrator for the OHS.
The Oklahoma Heritage Preservation Grant Program is a grants-in-aid program offered by the Oklahoma Historical Society to encourage the collection, preservation and sharing of Oklahoma history at the grassroots level in all parts of the state. Open to tribal and municipal governments and not-for-profit historical organizations located in Oklahoma and registered with the Oklahoma secretary of state, this grants program offers funding ranging from $1,000 to $20,000 for projects focused on collections, exhibits and programming. Applications for this annual program open in the fall and award announcements are made in January. For more information visit www.okhistory.org/grants.
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 okhistory.org.