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Press Release

May 1, 2024

Contact: Jillian Helsley
Oklahoma History Center Museum, Oklahoma Historical Society
Office: 405-522-5820

“Inaugural Impressions” Exhibit Opens June 7 at Oklahoma History Center Museum

OKLAHOMA CITY — A new exhibit that showcases dresses worn by Oklahoma’s first ladies at inauguration balls will open to the public at the Oklahoma History Center Museum on Friday, June 7. A special members-only reception at the Oklahoma History Center on Thursday, June 6, will start at 5:30 p.m. The reception will feature hors d’oeuvres and drinks. Some of Oklahoma’s living first ladies have promised to attend the event.

“Inaugural Impressions” will feature an array of gowns worn by first ladies. Unlike past exhibits focused on fashion, “Inaugural Impressions” will explore women’s roles, accomplishments and contributions while their husbands served as governors. Many of Oklahoma’s first ladies have taken a leading role in our state’s history as dedicated homemakers and mothers, political activists, or by raising money and awareness for social causes. This exhibit will highlight how our first ladies developed civic responsibility while navigating the social conventions of past eras. The exhibit follows the evolution of their roles, forged in the 1950s, 60s, 70s, and beyond. After 1979, Oklahoma’s first ladies took on more active and vocal roles in response to the state’s social fabric.

Interactive exhibit components will allow children and adults to explore the history of social practices, don clothing from other eras, and present themselves as if they were attending an inaugural ball. These activities will provide interpretive and educational impressions to encourage the public to interpret civic responsibility individually.

“Inaugural Impressions” will be open in the Sam Noble Gallery through May 30, 2025.

Memberships to the Oklahoma Historical Society can be purchased online. A membership gives you access to special events, discounts in the Museum Store at the Oklahoma History Center, free admission to more than 20 museums, military sites and historic homes across the state, and more.

The Oklahoma History Center is located at 800 Nazih Zuhdi Dr. in Oklahoma City. It is open to the public Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Please call 405-522-0765 or visit okhistory.org/historycenter for admission costs and group rates.

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.


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