With wisps of crisp cool autumn arriving on the scene in Green Country, the museum moves the focus from schools to churches. Long hours of research, interviews, collection, and determination have gone into the new exhibit, A Spiritual Journey Through History, a history of Washington County local churches. BAHM is collaborating with the Price Tower on this exhibit, whose focus is on well known artist; William Schickel~

William Schickel: Spirit Made Manifest traces the career of an artist from his student days at the University of Notre Dame in the 1940s to recent projects completed months before his death. For more than six decades, Schickel (1919-2009), has searched for beauty and expressed it in all artistic mediums including painting, drawing, printmaking, stained glass, furniture design, and sculpture most notably in conjunction with interiors he designed for both sacred and secular spaces. This exhibition includes photographs and architectural drawings of several of his major religious projects, including the transformation of an 1813 dairy barn into an inspiring worship space at Grailville, a Catholic community of laywomen in Loveland, Ohio and the renovated Gethsemani Abbey, Trappist, Kentucky, where he worked with the famed writer and monk Thomas Merton on the design.

CHURCH, can be defined as a place to gather, to worship, to build relationships, all based upon the same belief system, the same values or ideals. While different denominations represent different things to different people, Americans’ approach to church has always been based on the freedom to worship by choice.

The most amazing revelation as museum staff attempted an all inclusive, comprehensive compilation of church histories, was the staggering veritable numbers of denominations and churches over the past 1oo years of county history. What seemed a simple subject quickly revealed itself the opposite, and though our intentions were good it soon became apparent the staff had undertaken a monumental task to preserve AND exhibit all of the histories. Since the priority of the museum is preservation, most of what we have collected can and will be preserved but it is impossible to display all of that history. And so, the exhibit is more of an atmosphere evoking memories and the spirit of the subject, rather than one of educational enlightenment. As a footnote,  a booklet with those histories is being compiled and will be completed and made available at the museum before the exhibit ends.

The Delaware Gospel

Christianity today exists in the area due to the Native American tribes that arrived here in the middle eighteen hundreds and almost all of the denominations of the area were directly or indirectly affected by the Delaware Tribe of Indians and by one family in particular.

Forced from their homes in Lawrence, Kansas, the Delaware tribe, led by their spiritual leader and Tribal Chief, Charles Journeycake, went to northeastern Indian Territory, after which Journeycake immediately established a church in the area. Later in 1869, a town was founded by the Delaware Indians christened Lightning Creek, meaning something better or superior, the name changed in 1883, to Alluwe. Eventually the family moved to Washington County.

Journeycake, a family destined to weave threads like a tapestry into Bartlesville’s community development; subsequently the Journeycake family affected all of northeastern Oklahoma with their passion and dedication for spreading the gospel and more than one denomination is directly linked to the Journeycake lineage in Washington County.  As early as 1871, Journeycake held services at Silver Lake and much of the history of the Baptist denomination in this area was due to this family’s commitment and influence.

Join us as we celebrate the history and spiritual ties of all people, races and walks of life of the area. This exhibition will remain in the Pioneer Gallery October 2010 through March of 2011.  The Bartlesville Area History Museum is located at 401 S. Johnstone- 5th Floor, Monday through Friday, 10 a.m – 4 p.m. Admission is free and donations are welcome, 918-338-4290.