History on Display
History is BIG in South-central Oklahoma and if you love history, you better pack a bag; you’ll need to stay a while to see all the great museums in the area. A total of six, museums are featured in the Fun Times Magazine. Plan ahead because they are all worth a visit.
Information on admission (if any), hours, and addresses will all be found on pages 20-22 of the print or digital issue.
The Davis Museum is located in the Santa Fe Depot in downtown Davis and is managed by the Arbuckle Historical Society. Some of the unusual displays include a talking Buffalo Soldier, a model of Fort Arbuckle and an antique print shop. You will see why the railroad was important to Davis and how the settlement developed their schools, churches, farms, businesses and fire/police protection. There are Native American artifacts and the museum gives a nod to the unusual geological formations the Arbuckle Mountains are known for.
On the south edge of Davis, is the Forgotten Wheels Museum. What started as a fascination with vintage Harley-Davidson Motorcycles, has morphed into a love of antique wheels of all kinds. In the early days, it was the small bikes, called “Hummers”, that piqued the interest of Tom and Sandra Webb. It didn’t take long before they started acquiring pieces of history on wheels. Over the years, that collection has taken on a life of its own. Motorcycles dating from 1940, automobiles from 1922 to 1956, and other memorabilia are on display. Check out the BSA Military Bike, the 1960 Panhead, Cushman Scooters and so much more. Out front, a Model T that looks like it carried the Clampetts to town; inside a 1956 pickup that has been in the Webb family for 4 generations. Open March-Nov, Wed-Sat, 580-369-2764 or 369-8406. (Winter - call ahead or check Facebook) Their facility is handicap accessible. There is no admission fee but your donations help keep history alive. Find them at 1775 S. Hwy 77.
The old fire and police department building is the home for the Sulphur Museum. Many things remain from the structure’s former occupants. Be sure you step into the jail cell for a photo opportunity…then Facebook out a plea for bail money!
There is a diorama of the settlement of Sulphur Springs, Indian Territory, dating prior to its removal in1903. You will find memorabilia of the popular Belleview and Vendome pools, the ranch of Gov. Roy Turner, as well as a tribute to Roy Rogers and Dale Evans, who were married and made a movie in the area. The museum is operated by the Arbuckle Historical Society of Murray County.
Located at 402 W. Muskogee St. in historical downtown Sulphur, the facility is currently open only on Saturday from 1:00p-5:00p. (Winter by appt)
Greater Southwest Historical Museum & the Military Memorial Museum
A visit to the Greater Southwest Historical Museum will open a door into South-central Oklahoma’s history. Housed in Ardmore’s former Oklahoma National Guard Armory, you will find exhibits detailing the area’s story from the mid-1800s to the present.
When you think of the days of the pioneers, an image of covered wagons, one-room schoolhouses, general stores, log cabins and a simpler way of life comes to mind. There are exhibits throughout the 30,000 square foot building, ranging from the Eaves-Brady Cabin, built in 1892, to one of the first electric cars used in this region. A new exhibit, Tools of Our Land, shows the agricultural side of our history.
To visit the Military Memorial Museum is to gain a greater sense of the sacrifices our military men and women make for our freedom. As you walk through the exhibition halls, you will view memorabilia from as far back as the War with Mexico (1847) thru the Persian Gulf War. On display are rare uniforms, medals, weaponry and other military artifacts. The collection of relics is unbelievably vast for what first appears to be a small space.
Particularly touching exhibits are the formal dinner setting, termed the “Table for One”, honoring POWs and MIAs and the Fallen Soldier tribute. This one consists of a warrior’s rifle with attached bayonet stuck in the ground, boots next to it, topped with their helmet as a way to memorialize a fighter killed during service.
The Military Memorial Museum shoulders the responsibility of honoring, educating and reminding us of the price that has been paid for us. You will find them at 35 Sunset Drive in Ardmore.
South central Oklahoma…outdoors
While not exactly an enclosed museum, a walking tour of our geological history is available through Arbuckle Geoscience. Dr. Bob Neman takes guest on an exploration of the unique formations and structure of the Arbuckle Mountains. This mountain range is said to be older than the Rockies and these tours are educational and fun. Call 580-310-4326 to make a reservation.