Oklahoma Territorial Museum and Carnegie Library406 East Oklahoma Avenue
Guthrie, OK 73044
Director: Nathan V. Turner
Erin N. Brown
Tuesday through Saturday
9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
|Seniors (age 62+)||$5|
(5 and under)
(up to 6 people)
|Veterans and Active Military (with ID)||Free|
|Group Rate (10+)||$5/person|
Use of drones over Oklahoma Historical Society property is not permitted without written approval of the facility director.
COVID-19 Safety Measures
To help prevent the spread of COVID-19, occupancy is limited to no more than fifty visitors in the museum at one time. Groups of more than eight are not being scheduled at this time. We ask that you practice social distancing by staying six feet away from staff and visitors who are not in your party.
OHS is requiring face masks in all public areas. Due to current COVID-19 conditions and Oklahoma State Department of Health guidelines, all visitors, staff, volunteers, contractors, and vendors are required to wear face masks in public areas of OHS facilities.
About the Museum
Through artifacts, photographs, and paintings, the Oklahoma Territorial Museum and Carnegie Library tells the story of the determined people who laid the foundation for the state of Oklahoma. On the museum grounds stands the Carnegie Library, where the first state governor was sworn in. Preserved by the Oklahoma Historical Society, the library and the museum serve as a visible link between Oklahoma’s turbulent territorial period and the present.
To learn more, visit the museum’s website at www.okterritorialmuseum.org.
Oklahoma’s territorial period lasted from 1890 to 1907. During that short time, Oklahoma was transformed from an unsettled home for sixty-five American Indian tribes to an area of prosperous farms and growing cities.
The Unassigned Lands
In 1889 Congress opened for settlement nearly 2 million acres of former Indian land located in central Oklahoma. At noon on April 22, 1889, the day of the opening, thousands of hopeful land-seekers rushed in to stake a claim. At the end of that first day, laws were being established in the cities of Guthrie, Stillwater, Norman, and Oklahoma City.
A homesteader’s first task was the construction of a suitable home. The typical post-run farm dwelling was usually a “soddy,” constructed from bricks of prairie sod, or a dugout built into the side of a hill. The homesteader next turned his attention to the planting of crops. The run occurred too late in the season for a cash crop to be planted, so the new arrivals grew vegetables that they hoped would last through the winter. The following seasons brought only hard times in the form of drought and depression. It was not until 1897 that good crops brought territorial farmers a degree of prosperity.
Not everyone came to the area in search of farmland. Many came to establish businesses or ply trades in the towns that sprang into existence. Along with the merchants, tradesmen, and professionals came saloon keepers, gamblers, and prostitutes, lending a colorful element to the era. In 1890 most of western Oklahoma, including the Unassigned Lands, were accorded territorial status. Guthrie was named the territorial capital.