Big Gems in Oklahoma's Small Museums
Brimming with character and vivacious spirit, these small museum treasures offer up fascinating collections of everything from historical trivia to pop culture.
|Photo: Michael Ives|
By some museum standards, Oklahoma’s impressive assortment of small museums that dot the landscape may seem insignificant, but these little gems offer up fascinating collections.
Conoco Museum, Ponca City
Speaking of geology, the Conoco Museum in Ponca City is one of the newest kids on the museum block and rocks an interactive bonanza with 19 flat-screen televisions, computer touch screens and a 40-seat movie theater. Exhibits trace the story of the world-renowned company from its wildcat days in the Cherokee Outlet to international energy empire.
Fort Sill National Historic Landmark & Museum, Lawton
Tap into a mother lode of Western history at the Fort Sill National Historic Landmark & Museum in Lawton. Established in 1869 by General Phillip Sheridan of Civil War fame, Fort Sill was once regarded as one of the most beautiful posts in the West. A number of celebrated Western folk left their mark here: the colorful Wild Bill Hickok and Buffalo Bill Cody served as scouts at the fort; the renowned Comanche chief Quanah Parker surrendered here; and Chiricahua Apache leader Geronimo came to Fort Sill in 1894.
Toy & Action Figure Museum, Pauls Valley
The ultimate in kitsch and hip pop culture, the Toy and Action Figure Museum in Pauls Valley, appeals to the kid and superhero dreams in all of us with 10,000 action figures, interactive hands-on areas, toys, memorabilia and behind-the-scenes toy news and info. Named as one of Time Magazine's "Top 50 Most Authentic American Experiences," from Batman to Star Wars to the "Collector's Bedroom," an area where literally thousands of action figures fill every inch and are said to come alive each night, the ideas and fun in this museum are anything but small.
More Small Museum Treasures
The Shattuck Windmill Museum & Park takes vintage windmills seriously – 51 of them cast a windy spell in this captivatingly sweet high plains park.
For celebrity fans, cool memorabilia hot spots deliver plenty of inside scoops. Erick hosts the Roger Miller Museum in a 1929 brick building on historic Route 66 at the downtown’s crossroads. Don’t miss an early career photo of Miller beside a very young, clean-shaven and short-haired Willie Nelson.
The Boswell Museum in Leedey, hometown of actress Darla Hood, boasts a collection of her personal items. Darla played Alfalfa’s love interest in the popular comedy shorts “The Little Rascals.”
Gene Autry not only has a museum to honor him, but an entire town is named after him in southern Oklahoma. Filled with collectibles and dedicated to the history and legacy of singing cowboys, the Gene Autry Oklahoma Museum is also home to a variety of old-fashioned movie posters featuring the "B" movie star from the 1930s to '50s.
Another great star from early film days, Tom Mix, is honored with the Tom Mix Museum, in Dewey. Although Mix was originally from Pennsylvania, he became the first marshal of Dewey in 1912, and later appeared in more than 300 Western movies from the 1920s until his death in 1940.