Jennifer Parks

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In regards to proposed consolidation that includes the OHS, Dr. Bob Blackburn has released this statement. "In coming weeks, after more than 120 years, the Oklahoma Historical Society will face a possible turning point in its mission and governance. It has been proposed that the OHS should be consolidated into the Oklahoma Department of Tourism and Recreation. In 1893 the Oklahoma Press Association created an organization “to collect, preserve, and share the history of the twin territories and the future state.” That organization was the Oklahoma Historical Society. Subsequent generations of publishers were joined by others who saw the value in collecting newspapers, family stories, museum artifacts, photographs, maps, American Indian documents, and eventually historic sites. If the proposal for consolidation is passed by the legislature, the Oklahoma Historical Society would cease to exist as an independent, membership-based organization and its board of directors would be abolished. The question is what do we do now? First, I think we should get over the shock that the OHS has not been included in any conversation about the proposed consolidation and no plan has been laid out for the legislators to consider. Now is the time to have an open conversation about the advantages and disadvantages of abolishing an agency that has been serving the public for more than a century. Second, we need to keep an open mind. It is tempting to resist change, but here at the Oklahoma Historical Society we have embraced change, especially since 1981 when a visionary group of Oklahoma leaders modernized the governance of the organization and started us down the path of steady and measurable improvement. The conversation about advantages and disadvantages should revolve around the three primary pillars at the heart of our progress. It starts with higher standards. In 1981 the OHS board decided acceptable mediocrity was not good enough. Oklahomans deserved better. Today, the OHS is the only historical society in the nation that is an affiliate of both the Smithsonian Institution and the National Archives. Standards do not get any higher. Can those standards be maintained under the umbrella of the Department of Tourism? Equally important has been greater efficiencies. The list is too long to include here, but let it be noted that every manager is a hands-on worker bee, involved with collections, exhibits, and programs. Spokesmen in the Governor’s office infer that there would be efficiencies in eliminating support staff, but for an organization with 154 employees and an operating budget of $16.1 million, we have one human resources staffer, one purchasing agent, and five accountants. It does not get more efficient. Perhaps the most important measurement should be the impact on partners willing to add their time and treasure to our mission. We have more than thirty 501(c)3 organizations at the program and site level. We have a long list of donors who want to be at our sides. We have proven that we can do more with less because others will help. Maybe there are advantages in abolishing the Oklahoma Historical Society. Those who have built this organization deserve to see the proof ahead of time, not after the deed is done."

OKPOP museum starts fundraising for Bob Wills documentary

Eighty years to the day after Bob Wills' first broadcast from what would be the legendary Cain's Ballroom, his archives are closer than ever to …

Stories of the Ages: Endangered Black History - Oklahoma City

The importance of Deep Deuce in Oklahoma black history.<p>Video produced by Paige Dillard<p>Share this on Facebook<p>The bellhops at the city hotels and the …

Oklahoma Historical Society

Do you know of any history or heritage related events happening in Oklahoma in the month of April? The "Around Oklahoma" section of the "Mistletoe …

Cherokee Strip Regional Heritage Center

From the Cherokee Strip Regional Heritage Center Archives<p>On March 10, 1901, Bernard Beech opened up this Barber Shop on what is now South Grand. The …

Developing history

On an unseasonably warm spring day in 1913, the Westfall Drugstore on Main Street received a special delivery from Kodak in Rochester, N.Y. — a …

Faster Forward, Together

Welcome to RocketHub<p>The leading social network for entrepreneurs.<p>Create account Log in<p><i>portrait</i><p>Connect<p>Connect on our growing network with 500k+ fellow …

OHS history continued: A good example of the new activism of the 1920s and 30s was marking and preserving historic sites. As early as 1927 the legislature had responded to consistent requests from the board and staff and authorized the OHS to mark historic sites with low-priced markers manufactured by prison labor. The will had outpaced the means, however, and no markers were installed. In 1934, with new resources provided through federal programs, the OHS passed a resolution committing itself to "aid in the location and preservation" of historic sites. At that same board meeting, attention was drawn to two "venerable" sites that were threatened with destruction, Fort Gibson Historic Site and Sequoyah's home site. In 1934 the OHS accepted title to the Fort Gibson barracks and bake oven, built on top of the hill overlooking the Verdigris. After WPA labor was used to stabilize the structures, the OHS worked with a local "Stockade Commission" to reconstruct the original log fort built in 1834. Down river, the Society purchased title to Sequoyah's cabin and ten acres then used a WPA grant to build a stone cover building. An additional project was the construction of a stone wall around the cemetery at Rose Hill, the home site of Robert M. Jones, a rich Choctaw planter who had served as a delegate to the Confederate Congress. Although the reconstructed stockade and Sequoyah's home site were transferred to the Parks Division of the Planning and Resources Department, the OHS retained long-term ownership and management of the stone barracks and bake oven at Fort Gibson and the cemetery and homesite at Rose Hill. Today Fort Gibson is an OHS site and the buildings are currently undergoing renovation. The Sequoyah Cabin is also an OHS site. Both are open to the public and hold historic programs. Below is the "old hospital at Fort Gibson" and the Sequoyah Cabin, neither photos have dates. #okhistory #ohshistory

Smithsonian Affiliations

Bringing you all the Smithsonian happenings in your neighborhood! CALIFORNIA The USS Hornet-Sea, Air and Space Museum hosts the exhibition Mail Call, …

OHS History Conference

Home | About OHS | Oklahoma History Conference<p>Oklahoma History Conference<p>The Oklahoma Historical Society presents an annual Oklahoma History …

Clara Luper (1923-2011) was a community leader, retired schoolteacher, and a leader in the civil rights movement. She is best known for her leadership during the 1958 Oklahoma City sit-in movement. Luper, her son and daughter, and members of the NAACP Youth Council successfully conducted nonviolent sit-in protests of drugstore lunch counters, helping overturn the policies of segregation. On August 19, 1958, Luper and a group of NAACP Youth Council members entered the segregated Katz drugstore in Oklahoma City and asked to be served. Two days later, Katz corporate management in Kansas City desegregated its lunch counters in three states. This sit-in occurred a year and a half before the famous Greensboro, North Carolina, sit-ins in February 1960. Afterwards she continued her activism on the national level during the 1960s. Below is a photo of Clara Luper boarding a charter bus in Oklahoma City on the way to a NAACP convention in Washington, DC, in 1963. #okhistory #history #womenshistorymonth #civilrights #clara luper

SHPO Special Events

Home | SHPO | Events | Conference | Conference Details<p>Conference Details<p>Preservation in Progress: Oklahoma's 30th Annual Statewide Preservation …

"Rodeo Cowgirls and Rural Feminism" Lecture with Tracey Henshew

Tracey Henshew’s presentation will explore the issue of feminism in the rural American West with special attention to cowgirls in rodeo. The program …

Angie Debo (1890-1988) was an influential historian of Oklahoma history. In 1899 she came to Oklahoma from Kansas in a covered wagon. She taught rural schools and received her bachelor's and doctorate degrees in history from the University of Oklahoma. She wrote significant books regarding the history of American Indians. "And Still the Waters Run" is one of the first books to outspokenly criticize and detail the poor treatment of natives. She also participated in vigorous letter writing campaign to Congress for the passage of the Alaska native land settlement claims and the rights of the Havasupais in Arizona. In the 1930s she faced few employment opportunities and had difficulty getting her early work published because of her gender. She was inducted into the Oklahoma Women's Hall of Fame in 1984. #okhistory #angiedebo #womenshistorymonth

OHS Museums & Historic Sites

Historic Sites

Wilma Mankiller (1945-2010) was the first woman to be elected chief of a major American Indian tribe and served from 1985-95. She is known for revitalizing the Cherokee Nation’s tribal government and improved its education, health, and housing. Born in Tahlequah, she grew up without electricity or indoor plumbing. Her family moved to California as part of a federal relocation policy in 1956. Mankiller eventually moved back to Oklahoma. She cites the American Indian activism in the 1960s, beginning with the occupation of Alcatraz in 1969, as a reason for her becoming active in tribal affairs. Before serving as chief she founded the community development department of the Cherokee Nation in 1981. Mankiller became chief in 1985 and left office in 1995 due to health issues. She continued to serve in an advisory capacity and served as a guest professor at Dartmouth College. Mankiller stated in her autobiography, "If I am to be remembered, I want it to be because I am fortunate enough to have become my tribe's first female chief. But I also want to be remembered for emphasizing the fact that we have indigenous solutions to our problems." #okhistory #womenshistorymonth #americanindian

Digital Collections: A Future for Small Museums

On Tuesday, March 25 at 1:00 p.m. (Eastern) we discussed digital collections and a few ways to create them. If you were unable to attend the Small …


Midwest was killer!! Headin to Texas after we BBQ with Kenyrd skynyrd and Dariah! Then it's West Coast!! "Back to Camper World Tour 2014" check out the rest of the shows here and come hang out!!!

Despite the advice from the ladies of TLC I did, in fact, go chasing waterfalls yesterday... and sunrise... and sunset. What an incredible day. I wound up in West Virginia! #vscocam #livefolk #liveauthentic

My brother and I are reflected in the dusty window of my grandparent's smokehouse once utilized to cure meat butchered by my great-uncle Donny. #Macon Co., #NC #lookingatappalachia Photo by: @nathan_armes