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Press Release

January 6, 2017

Contact: Steve Hawkins
Oklahoma History Center, Oklahoma Historical Society
Office: 405-522-0754

Oklahoma History Center Education Department Announces Sponsorship from BancFirst

OKLAHOMA CITY — The Oklahoma History Center (OHC) is pleased to announce that BancFirst is sponsoring the award-winning Traveling Trunk Program for the 2016–2017 school year. 

Over the past several years state budget cuts have reduced the funding of the Oklahoma Historical Society by 40 percent, resulting in a reduction in OHC Education Department staff. The sponsorship offered by BancFirst allows the Education Department to add a part-time program coordinator to work collaboratively with local BancFirst bank officers to encourage schools in their areas to participate in the program.

“Providing lessons on Oklahoma’s history to Oklahoma’s future is a project we wanted to be a part of. The Traveling Trunk Program provides great hands-on resources for teachers and allows students in our communities an opportunity they might not otherwise experience,” said David E. Rainbolt, BancFirst CEO.

The Traveling Trunk Program began 10 years ago as a way to offer a hands-on museum experience to students and teachers unable to visit the OHC. At that time, two trunks were made available that contained a few artifacts and replicas. There are now 26 trunks available reaching more than 25,000 students in two-thirds of the counties in the state every year. The OHC expects to extend the participation to 30,000 students in the next academic year.

The 26 trunks available were used 255 times during the last school year. Each trunk contains lesson plans, hands-on activities and three-dimensional artifacts for students to see and touch. Trunks also may include DVDs, CDs and related trade books. Each trunk curriculum includes activities appropriate for K–12 students. While social studies are a primary curriculum focus, the trunks also are used by language arts, math, science, physical education, art, music and gifted program teachers. All trunks directly address Oklahoma Academic Standards and correlate with Oklahoma History Center exhibits. 

Trunks are free to teachers, librarians, homeschool co-ops, and preservice teachers. Some of the topics offered are colonial history, early Oklahoma, 19th-century Oklahoma, 20th-century Oklahoma, people of Oklahoma and American Indian nations of Oklahoma.

“The Traveling Trunk program allows the Oklahoma History Center to expand its outreach to teachers and students across the state who may not have access to other resources and is a way to help each Oklahoma student become a better citizen,” said Sarah Dumas, director of education at the OHC.

Recently, the OHC Traveling Trunk Program earned the Education Committee Award for Excellence in Programming from the Mountain-Plains Museums Association (MPMA). MPMA is an organization representing 10 states in the nation’s Great Plains region. The Traveling Trunk Program was further honored by The Oklahoman as a “Newspapers in Education’s (NIE) Partner of the Year” for working to provide hands-on learning experiences to students. 

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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