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Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation Gallery

Parts of this gallery are under renovation in preparation for a new exhibit.

The Sam Noble Gallery illustrates Oklahoma’s early history, including its settlement and development as a state. Through artifacts, images, and firsthand accounts of participants, visitors can relive the experiences of those brave souls who settled our plains and turned homesteads into farms and cities. It was their survival of and adaptation to the extremes of weather, economics, and politics that enabled them to create this magnificent state. Topics covered include land runs, education, the Oklahoma Centennial Farm & Ranch program, urban development, law and order, pioneer life, cowboys, and the Oklahoma Century Chest. There is also a replica of a sod house, a 1930s-era house, and a 1950s pink kitchen.

On Behalf of the Pioneers: The Oklahoma Century Chest 1913–2013

The Oklahoma Century Chest time capsule was buried on April 22, 1913, in the basement of the First Lutheran Church of Oklahoma City. One hundred years later, on April 22, 2013, the church opened the chest and revealed the perfectly preserved contents deposited by the pioneers of Oklahoma.

Visitors can view photographs, documents, and artifacts from the chest. The exhibit also includes a poster promoting the first Fourth of July celebration in Oklahoma City on July 4, 1889; a letter to the blind of 2013 written in braille; the first state flag of Oklahoma, and much more. In addition, the exhibit contains dozens of messages, prophecies, and letters from the pioneers of 1913 to their descendants one hundred years later.

View letters, photos, and more online at okhistory.org/centurychest.

Curators’ Corner

Curators’ Corner is a special area that highlights recent museum donations and artifacts specially chosen by the curators for the interesting stories each item tells. The conserved mural Trail of Tears, painted by Elizabeth Janes in 1939, is a long-term feature. Also included is information about the profession of art and artifact conservation, and examples of objects from the museum’s collections that could benefit from the work of a conservator.

The artifacts in Curators’ Corner rotate approximately every six months.

A Sense of Time and Place: Work by Greg Burns

Currently on exhibit in Curators’ Corner is A Sense of Time and Place: Work by Greg Burns. This exhibit features ten drawings and paintings, which have been chosen by the artist specifically for display at the Oklahoma History Center. The exhibit will be on display from June 21 to September 29, 2018.

Burns, although not native to Oklahoma, was moved there as an infant to be treated for arthrogryposis, a muscle and joint disorder that severely limits or prevents movement of the extremities. A graduate in fine arts from the University of Oklahoma, his intricate pen-and-ink drawings and watercolors have received international recognition. Realizing his gift at a very early age, Burns said, “I can’t remember a time in my life when I wasn’t drawing. I won several art competitions beginning in high school and then, in 1978, was honored to receive the Governor’s Art Award for the state of Oklahoma from David Boren.” Among the driving forces in his career was a desire to refute the advice of an uncle who told him not to waste his time being an artist. Undaunted by his uncle’s words, he made $50,000 his first year as a professional artist. “If the truth be told, my first sale was to my grandmother. She bought a painting for $50,” said Burns.

His method is anything but conventional. Burns draws with a permanent ink roller ball cradled in his right hand and then colors his drawings with watercolor washes. The watercolors are applied with a brush held in his teeth so that his hand and arm will not drag over the wet paint. Typically his art pieces take a few days to a couple of weeks to complete, depending on size and subject matter. To learn more about Greg Burns, visit www.gregburns-fineart.com.