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Oklahoma History Center Traveling Exhibits

Visit these locations to see traveling exhibits from the Oklahoma History Center. Please contact the venue listed for more information and specific dates.

Thirteen All-Black Towns of Oklahoma

This smaller version of the All-Black Towns of Oklahoma exhibit highlights the thirteen towns that are still incorporated today. E. P. McCabe came to Oklahoma in the 1889 Land Run, he said, “to get away from the associations that cluster about us in the Southern states. We wish to remove from the disgraceful surroundings that so degrade my people, and in the new territory of Oklahoma show the people of the United States and of the world that we are not only loyal citizens, but we are capable of advancement.” The vision was to create an All-Black state. Although that never materialized, McCabe and others succeeded in establishing All-Black towns.

On Exhibit

Vinnie Ream Cultural Center
Vinita, Oklahoma
Mid-January to mid-March 2020

50 Years of Photojournalism at The Oklahoman

Photojournalists have played an important role in the preservation and documentation of Oklahoma history. This exhibit features framed images from the Oklahoma Publishing Company dating from 1950 to 2000. More than twenty photographers, many from Oklahoma, are represented.

On Exhibit

Cherokee Strip Regional Heritage Center
Enid, Oklahoma
late August through November 8, 2020

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.

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

Tulsa Community College Thomas K. McKeon Center for Creativity
Tulsa, Oklahoma
late November 2019 through January 2020

Black Caucus of the American Library Association National Conference of African American Librarians
Atlanta, Georgia
August 2020

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 through 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
September through October 2019

Dallas Mayor Gallery
Hooker, Oklahoma
mid-November 2019 through January 2020

Sapulpa Historical Society
Sapulpa, Oklahoma
late February through early May 2020

Cherokee Strip Regional Heritage Center
Enid, Oklahoma
late May through July 2020

Labor Conquers All

Oklahoma’s state motto is Labor Omnia Vincit, Latin for Labor Conquers All. This exhibit explores the variety of opportunities and resources that contributed to the growth and diversity of the state. Some of the topics include agribusiness, entertainment, public service, retail, and oil. It was sponsored in part by Oklahoma Humanities, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Smithsonian Institute.

On Exhibit

Central Library (Tulsa City-County Library System)
Tulsa, Oklahoma
mid-October through mid-December 2019

Photographing the Plains: Farm Security Administration, 1935–1945

The Farm Security Administration (FSA) began in 1937 as the successor to the Resettlement Administration (RA), which was formed in 1935 as part of Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal program. Roy Stryker was hired in 1935 to head the Historical Section, also known as the Information Division. He established a documentary project to provide photographs to public relations outlets including newspapers and magazines.

The photographs in this exhibit are a sample of images by six photographers who visited Oklahoma or photographed displaced Oklahomans looking for work. The photographers are Jack Delano, Dorothea Lange, Russell Lee, Arthur Rothstein, John Vachon, and Marion Post Wolcott.

On Exhibit

Chisholm Trail Museum
Kingfisher, Oklahoma
mid-January through early June 2020

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

Dallas Mayor Gallery
Hooker, Oklahoma
Mid-September through mid-November 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

Homestead National Monument of America, National Park Service
Beatrice, Nebraska
July through November 2019

Sand Springs Cultural and Historical Museum
Sand Springs, Oklahoma
mid-January through mid-March 2021

Votes for Women: 100 Years of Women's Suffrage

November 5, 2018, marked 100 years of the women’s right to vote in Oklahoma. Oklahoma became the twenty-first state to grant suffrage to women by a vote of 106,909 to 81,481. This exhibit explores a history of women since 1890 who were among the first in Oklahoma Territory to lobby for the right to vote. It started with the Woman's Christian Temperance Union who wanted a voice in school elections. The grassroots efforts grew in 1895 when Laura A. Gregg, a National American Woman Suffrage Association leader, came to Oklahoma to push for a universal right to vote.

On Exhibit

Tulsa Community College
Tulsa, Oklahoma
August 2020

Wanted: Dead or Alive

Images from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the University of Oklahoma Western History Collections, the National Archives, the vast photographic archives of the Oklahoma Historical Society, and private lenders are included in this exhibit. These black-and-white images consist of mugshots, crime scene locations, and group shots with criminals and law enforcement officers. They span more than 70 years, starting before statehood in 1907 and reaching into the late 1950s.

On Exhibit

Museum of the Western Prairie
Altus, Oklahoma
Late March through May 2020

Women of Oklahoma

This is the first traveling exhibit in a series to highlight women who made history in Oklahoma and across the nation. Presenting more than twenty Oklahoma women who were successful in business, politics, activism, education, and other areas, visitors will gain a new perspective on how women from Oklahoma have contributed to history. Some of these women include Hannah Atkins, Clara Luper, Elizabeth Maria Tallchief, and Edith Kinney Gaylord, to name a few.

On Exhibit

Tulsa Community College
Tulsa, Oklahoma
August 2020




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