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Oklahoma History Center Traveling Exhibits

Visit the locations listed below to see Oklahoma History Center traveling exhibits.

Early Oklahoma: Black Hope/Black Dreams

Early Oklahoma: Black Hope/Black Dreams features the accomplishments of three individuals who had a vision for greater opportunity and equality for themselves and others. Edward (Edwin) Preston McCabe arrived in Oklahoma Territory in 1889. He was experienced in finance, law, land development, and politics. McCabe sought a place where African Americans could establish their own towns similar to other groups of Americans. Roscoe Dunjee was a newspaperman, activist, humanitarian, and a man of extraordinary conviction and legendary accomplishment. Founded in 1915, Dunjee’s newspaper was titled The Black Dispatch. Dunjee also took aim at the legal system and the issues, incidents, and laws that deprived African Americans of their rights of citizenship and human dignity. Ada Lois Sipuel Fisher was the first African American admitted to the University of Oklahoma Law School on June 18, 1949, and the first to graduate in August 1951. Through her, African Americans succeeded in challenging the separate but equal doctrine as it applied to educational opportunities.

On Exhibit

Vinnie Ream Cultural Center
Vinita, Oklahoma
February 2019

Of Influence: Portraits of Cherokee People

Ranging from 1845 to the 1960s, this portrait collection presents people of influence in the Cherokee tribe. From Cherokee leader and Confederate Colonel William Penn Adair to photographer Jennie Ross Cobb, these photographs illuminate Cherokee individuals and their roles within their tribe and communities. Many images in this exhibit show the actual size of the original photograph alongside an enlarged version.

On Exhibit

Honey Springs Battlefield and Visitor Center
Checotah, Oklahoma
September to mid-November 2018

Chieftains Museum/Major Ridge Home
Rome, Georgia
January–February 2019

Smoke Over Oklahoma: The Railroad Photographs of Preston George

This collection of images represents the railroad photographs taken by Preston George during the 1930s and 1940s. George photographed trains in his spare time while working as a civil engineer in Colorado and Oklahoma. Born in 1906 in Indian Territory, George's interest in trains began at an early age, but did not culminate into a full-fledged pastime until the 1930s when he said, “I ran across a copy of Railroad Stories, later renamed Railroad Magazine, and saw the many photos of locomotives and trains. This started me on a new hobby...Soon, I was snapping still pictures of locomotives with a cheap Kodak camera and trading them far and wide with other fans.”

On Exhibit

Chisholm Trail Museum
Kingfisher, Oklahoma
February–May 2019

All-Black Towns of Oklahoma

Shortly after the 1889 Land Run opened the Oklahoma Territory to settlement, black leaders hoped to make the newly-opened lands a home for oppressed African Americans throughout the United States. Oklahoma was promoted as the land where African Americans could come for the dream of “self-government.” As many as fifty communities arose where only African Americans lived and governed themselves. Even though “Jim Crow” became the law of the land after statehood, All-Black towns survived and continue to thrive in modern Oklahoma.

On Exhibit

Sand Springs Cultural and Historical Museum
Sand Springs, Oklahoma
February–March 2019

Mickey Mantle: Baseball Hero in Black and White

In the 1950s, increased television viewing and media coverage combined with his athleticism helped to propel Mickey Mantle into a superstar, often compared to Babe Ruth. The Oklahoma native known as the “Commerce Comet” exemplified the spirit of a hero through his determination, perseverance, and courage. The Daily Oklahoman extensively covered Mantle throughout his career and life. Oklahomans and baby boomers across the nation were captivated by his talent and sportsmanship. This exhibit explores his life through black and white photographs seen in newsprint and uses the original reporters’ captions to highlight this Baseball Hall of Famer’s milestones.

On Exhibit

General Tommy Franks Leadership Institute and Museum
Hobart, Oklahoma
June–July 2019

Child Labor in Oklahoma: Photographs by Lewis Hine, 1916–1917

Social reform photographer Lewis Hine (1874–1940) spent thirty years photographing child labor across the United States. Hired by the National Child Labor Committee, Hine photographed children working in factories, mills, coal mines, farms, and in the streets to bring awareness to the abuse of child labor in early nineteenth-century America. Children were often severely injured or fatally wounded by the unsafe working conditions. Most of the children were kept out of school and many were illiterate. Although Hine focused on major cities, he did take brief trips to other parts of the country to document child labor, including Oklahoma. Hine photographed in Tulsa, Oklahoma City, Lawton, Shawnee, Okmulgee, Sulphur, and a few other communities.

On Exhibit

Chisholm Trail Museum
Kingfisher, Oklahoma
September–November 2019

Dust, Drought, and Dreams Gone Dry

Dust, Drought, and Dreams Gone Dry was organized by the American Library Association, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and Dr. Jess C. Porter from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. Part of the exhibit content was drawn from the Oklahoma State University library and features their Women of the Dust Bowl oral histories. Mount Holyoke College Library, which houses the Caroline Henderson papers (letters, essays and articles by a woman who farmed throughout the Dust Bowl) were also an inspiration for the exhibit.

On Exhibit

Museum of the Western Prairie
Altus, Oklahoma
August–September 2019

Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Oklahoma! The Origin of Modern Musical Theatre

Seventy-five years after Rodgers and Hammerstein adapted Green Grow the Lilacs into Oklahoma!, the duo’s first collaboration remains one of their most celebrated productions. Often considered the first modern musical, Oklahoma! reshaped the Broadway landscape and gave the state of Oklahoma national recognition, pride, and a song that continues to resonate worldwide.

On Exhibit

Vinnie Ream Cultural Center and additional locations
Vinita, Oklahoma
September 20–November 16, 2018

Family Album: Photographs by Pierre Tartoue

One of the great powers of photography lies in its ability to connect us to our past and to signal how far we have come. They have the distinct ability to remind us of not only who we were, but also who we continue to be. The photographs of Pierre Tartoue (1885–1976) operate in this manner.

Tartoue was born in the harbor town of Saint-Nazaire on the western shores of France, and in his lifetime made his way across most of the continental United States. From the late 1930s to early 1950s he spent most of his time in Oklahoma, painting and producing photographs that witnessed a tremendous renaissance in American Indian communities, including the emergence of large intertribal expositions and powwows. This rebirth would not have been possible without strong multi-generation American Indian families.

On Exhibit

Carl Albert State College
Poteau, Oklahoma
October 15–December 7, 2018

Murray State College
Tishomingo and Ardmore, Oklahoma
March–April 2019

Bring These and Other Exhibits to Your Community

The Oklahoma History Center offers several traveling exhibits on a variety of topics.

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