Oklahoma was another one of those states that I had never been in at all. So I was excited to see it, more so because our friends Dan and Sharon were living there. We met Dan and Sharon last year at our work kamping job and really hit it off. They were working RVers like us and had been on the road for over 7 years when there daughter had their first grandchild. For a variety of reasons they decided to take a break from traveling and settled into an RV park in OKC and got regular jobs. There really aren’t that many RV parks in town but luckily the Council Road RV Park had an opening. We were just glad to be close to our friends but it turned out to be an ok little park. Don’t get me wrong it was tight, but we have different standards for RV Parks in cities than we have for the country. It was also $36 a night with Good Sam discount, but we were happy to pay it to be close to our friends.
Initially we thought we would get there on Wednesday, but we ended up making good time and got in Tuesday. We let Dan and Sharon know and although they were working late they came over to see us for a little bit in the evening. We also made plans to see Sharon around 1:30pm the next day and have dinner with Dan and Sharon Weds night. For Wednesday morning we had a great plan. While I was researching OKC I learned about the National Cowboy and Western Heritage museum and then saw that it was free on Wednesdays. That was a no brainer so we headed over though in the morning. Jack stayed at home taking a well deserved day off, so we could really take our time and enjoy our free day.
Let me say it would have been well worth the $12.95 fee but we were thrilled to get in for free. There are multiple rooms and outdoor sculptures and it was really, really nice. The only downside was their wild west town, Prosperity Junction, was being renovated, but that just makes us want to go back and visit again the next time we pass through OKC. I’m going to be honest this place was a maze. I mean we had to really be careful that we didn’t miss anything and several times I ended up backtracking. That will tell you how good it was though, because I didn’t want to miss a thing. As we get into the pictures this isn’t really a good walk through. I’ll try to keep pictures groups as we saw things, but that may be tough. This pictures are both Lee’s and mine. I just picked the best ones. Enjoy!
Outside was really pretty. Lee noticed that this statue of a cowboy was placed so it faced the setting sun.
The entryway was beautiful
With this amazing statue at the end
There were numerous galleries named for the people who donated or the subject matter.
These looked more like an art museum than what I was expecting
This was one of Lee’s favorite paintings
Each one had an explanation
This room was all dedicated to pottery
I loved this quote because when we did glass blowing our instructor said something similar about the glass deciding what it was going to be
In numerous places there were stops where kids could draw
And some interactive areas like this one that allowed you to touch what the native american art was made from.
One of my favorite areas had numerous baby carriers
And this gorgeous headdress which was taller than I am
They also had modern native american art like these beaded tribute to 9/11. Since that was the day we went to the museum it caught me in my tracks. No matter where we are when we travel on that day we always see a reminder.
My favorite room was full of Remington. Including this Number 1 cast
It was even signed…gave me chills
Remington was also a painter and they had many of his pictures. This one was called A Cheyenne Buck, 1901,
They had sculptures from other people including this one called The Last Drop that I really liked
Lee loved this picture. He said it really spoke to him.
(Here’s some of my favorite artwork from the galleries. I liked 87 of them enough to take careful pictures of them so I could use them as desktop wallpaper on my computer, these are just my very most favorites. – Lee)
(They had several rooms of galleries of vintage firearms. A really impressive, well displayed collection. An entire room devoted to just Colt, and another just for Winchester. – Lee)
And a room full of brands and racks of barbed wire. Pretty impressive if you care about barbed wire. Lee said its invention allowed the creation of the West as we know it.
(This room was very cool. I never knew there were so many types of barbed wire. Rack after rack of samples, each in a nice pull out drawer. Very impressive the effort that went into collecting all of these samples. – Lee)
(The brands were also very cool. There was also a copy of a period stockman’s book, which is essentially a yellow pages of brands, but I didn’t remember to get a picture of that. Brands were a huge deal. Changing them was an art form for rustlers, and in disputes sometimes a cow would be killed and the brand inspected from the backside where the healing rate would be a dead giveaway. And then a short drop and a sudden stop for the guilty man from the nearest tree. The only thing worse than stealing cattle was stealing a horse. A man could live without a gun, or a bedroll, or even water, but a man without a horse was a dead man. – Lee)
If I had cattle, this is probably what my brand would be! – Lee
There were several cowboys as well from the border
And of course Texas. All of these displays were extremely well done
I thought the American Rodeo section was really cool
They included a whole wing about women in the rodeo
By far Lee’s favorite was the section on famous film and television cowboys. That suit in the front was from The Electric Horseman.
It was incredibly well done and included original artifacts from movies and television
Lee loved this leather chair used by Walter Brennan.
My favorite was Barbara Stanwick. She was a bad ass and one of the earliest portrayals I can remember seeing of a strong woman on TV.
Jimmy Stewart’s pistol from The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance
Gene Autry’s pistol and boots
Dale Evans’ boots and hat!
The best of course was John Wayne
They even had the gun, hat, and eye patch from True Grit and Rooster Cogburn.
Lee was REALLY happy!!
The saddle and costume from True Grit and Rooster Cogburn. – Lee
They had an extensive collection of firearms that were given to John Wayne as gifts. This is a matched set of Colts from The Shootist.
Unfortunately we were too early for this exhibit which is coming in November.
(There was also an excellent gallery of military history, uniforms and firearms from the period, including a beautiful 10 barrel Gatling gun. Invented in 1861 by a doctor after seeing hundreds of Union soldiers march through Indianapolis. Dr. Gatling was convinced that such a weapon would significantly reduce the number of soldiers needed for warfare, and thus save lives. The average soldier at the time using existing technology could fire one to two rounds per minute. The Gatling gun could fire 200 rounds per minute. After the Civil War, when brass cartridges replaced paper ones, the gun continued to be improved and eventually could fire 3000 rounds per minute before other companies took over and left Gatling in the dust. Needless to say, it did NOT reduce casualties. One of my few complaints about the entire museum is that this gun is displayed in a case against a wall, and you can’t walk all the way around it. Genuine Gatling guns are incredibly rare (they typically bring half a million at auction) and this is really excellent specimen, and as such you should be able to see it as close as the glass will allow, and from all sides. – Lee)
We also missed the pioneer village which was under construction. Good reason to go back!
I did make Lee take these pictures though
That was all just one wing. The other side had multiple meeting rooms, a movie theater that plays an old, free western once a day, a wonderful reading area, dining hall, and their prize winning art room. Every year they pick and award winners and I was glad to see modern artists get celebrated. Some of those were really good.
This was my favorite painting of the day.
Farmer teaching his daughter to shoot.
And they had wonderful outside gardens as well with huge sculptures. It was pretty hot when we walked outside so we kept it short, but really nice.
Finally we went into the gift shop. This had some really pricey items, but lots of nice stuff too. It was beautifully done and I got a great Oklahoma shirt for $20 which I thought was reasonably priced. We absolutely loved it and I said if I lived there I would probably become an annual member. Definitely would like to go back again and absolutely recommend it if you are passing through OKC.
This is what our map looks like now and I am really happy that we were able to fill in so many stickers. We have officially visited all the states in the west now, although as you can see we have several back east to get.
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