Attractions

From Indian heritage and Viking explorers to land runs and oil booms, Oklahoma has a history unlike any other state. Historical sites throughout the State honor Oklahoma's original residents, settlers and a wide variety of history making people and events.

Connect with the past at a living history event, while you watch re-enactments on Civil War battlefields, learn traditional crafts or meet re-enactors playing fur traders who lived in Oklahoma long before settlers moved in. Attend a powwow to experience the pageantry and fellowship among our Native peoples as they gather to celebrate traditions and hold dance competitions.

Visit the Washita Battlefield National Monument to learn the history surrounding Custer's surprise attack on the peaceful Southern Cheyenne village of Chief Black Kettle and then walk along the shores of the Washita River where the massacre took place. Trek to the Chisholm Trail Heritage Center to discover the rich history of the famous cattle trail that spanned Oklahoma, or see the last standing original sod house on the prairies of Oklahoma and learn more about pioneer life at the Sod House Museum.

From oil barons to cowboys, the rich heritage of Oklahoma offers one fascinating journey after another for history buffs.

Fort Gibson

907 N. Garrison
Fort Gibson, OK 74434-0457
918.478.4088
fortgibson@okhistory.org

Museum Hours
Tue- Sat 10am to 5pm
Sun 1pm to 5 pm
Admission
Adults $3.00
Seniors 65+ $2.50
Students 6-18 $1.00
Chidren 5 & Under Free

The site of Oklahoma's oldest frontier fort, established in 1824, Fort Gibson, Oklahoma is steeped in colorful history and equally colorful scenery – blue lakes, sparkling rivers and green hillsides. The Fort Gibson Historic Site and Interpretative Center encompasses 80 acres of grounds with 29 historic buildings and numerous archeological ruins. Designated as a National Historic Landmark and American Treasure, the fort features a Works Progress Administration-era stockade reconstruction, as well as a handful of original buildings. The fort swirls with dramatic stories and offers living history events throughout the year. Nearby Fort Gibson National Cemetery, one of two national cemeteries in Oklahoma, honors fallen U.S. military personnel.

Fort Supply

P.O. Box 247
Fort Supply, OK 73841-0247
580.766.3767
ftsupply@okhistory.org
Director: Bob Rea

Museum Hours
Tue - Sat 9am to 4pm
Sun - Mon Closed
Free Admission
Days Closed
November 23-28

The Oklahoma Historical Society's mission at the Fort Supply Historic Site is to educate the public about the history of Fort Supply and northwest Oklahoma through the preservation and interpretation of its historic resources.

The five remaining buildings from the military period will be restored to their appearance of over 100 years ago. The 1875 Ordnance Sergeant's Quarters and the 1882 Civilian Employee Quarters are picket-style log buildings. These are rare examples of a common frontier construction method. The walls of these buildings consist of vertical logs. The 1879 Commanding Officer's Quarters and the duplex 1882 Officers' Quarters are the only frame houses left on "Officers' Row." The 1892 Guard House was the only brick building erected by the army at Fort Supply. It has been restored and furnished and contains the site's exhibit area.

On May 12, 2012, Fort Supply will host Cavalry Day, with costumed interpreters portraying military life on the frontier.

Fort Towson

HC 63, Box 1580
Fort Towson, OK 74735-9273
580.873.2634
fttowson@okhistory.org
Staff: John Davis and Eddie Horton

Hours & Admission
Tue - Sat 9am to 5pm
Free Admission

Fort Towson was established in 1824 in response to a need to quell conflicts between lawless elements, Native American peoples, and settlers claiming the area as part of Arkansas Territory. The fort also served as an outpost on the border between the United States and Texas, which at that time was part of Mexico. Connected to the East by road, Fort Towson served as a gateway for settlers bound for Texas during the 1830s. Those passing through the area included Sam Houston, Davy Crockett, and Stephen F. Austin. When the Choctaw and Chickasaw were displaced from their lands in the Southeastern United States, the fort served as a point of dispersal upon their arrival in the west. The fort was also an important staging area for U.S. forces during the Mexican War of 1846.

Fort Towson was abandoned in 1856 when the frontier moved west. During the Civil War, however, it served for a time as headquarters for Confederate forces operating in Indian Territory. In 1865 General Stand Watie surrendered his command near the fort to become the last Confederate general to lay down arms.

When the Oklahoma Historical Society acquired the site in 1960, little remained on the surface to portray its former importance

Fort Washita

3348 State Rd. 199
Star Route 213
Durant, OK 74701-9443
580.924.6502
ftwashita@okhistory.org
Staff: Larry Marcy, Ron Petty, Jim Argo

Museum Hours
Mon - Sat 8am to 4:30pm
Sun 12pm to 4:30pm
Free Admission

About Fort Washita

Fort Washita was established in 1842 in the Choctaw Nation, Indian Territory, as the southwestern-most military post of the United States. The mission of the soldiers was to protect the recently immigrated Choctaw and Chickasaw Indians. The Southern Plains Indians to the west and non-Indian intruders posed threats to the peace and stability of the region. Troops stationed at Fort Washita on a rotational basis during the 1840s included men belonging to companies from the 2nd Dragoons, U.S. Regiment of Riflemen, and the 6th, 7th, and 5th Infantry Regiments. In the 1850s, soldiers from one battery each of the 2nd and 3rd Artillery were at the fort on frontier duty. From 1858 to the beginning of the Civil War in 1861, elements of the 1st Cavalry and 7th Infantry garrisoned the post.

On May 1, 1861, the fort was abandoned by U.S. forces and occupied the next day by Confederate troops from Texas. Southern soldiers used the post as a headquarters during the remainder of the Civil War. After the war the Chickasaw Nation received the old post grounds and buildings from the federal government. The Colbert family, prominent Chickasaws, owned the property until it was acquired in 1962 by the Oklahoma Historical Society. The site is on the National Register of Historic Places and designated as a National Historic Landmark.

For more Civil War links, visit www.civilwaralbum.com

Fort Washita Barracks Destroyed by Fire

In the early morning hours of Sunday, September 26, 2010 the South Barracks at Fort Washita Historic Site burned. The building, and its contents were a total loss.

The South Barracks were a reconstruction of an original 1849 post building. The furnished barracks served as the main interpretation setting for the historic site. Living history groups stayed in the barracks and presented programs bringing the fort back to life for the visiting public. Numerous other programs such as candlelight tours made visits memorable for young and old.

Honey Springs Battlefield

1863 Honey Springs Battlefield Rd.
Checotah, OK 74426-6301
918.473.5572
honeysprings@okhistory.org
Staff: John Davis

Battlefield Hours
Tue - Fri 9am to 4:30pm
Free Admission

Contact jdavis@okhistory to schedule a tour.

The Engagement at Honey Springs (called The Affair at Elk Creek by the Confederates) was the largest of more than 107 documented hostile encounters in the Indian Territory. The engagement took place on a rainy Friday, July 17, 1863, between the 1st Division, Army of the Frontier, commanded by Maj. Gen. James G. Blunt and the Confederate Indian Brigade led by Brig. Gen. Douglas H. Cooper.

Cherokee and Creek regiments fought on both sides. There were approximately 9000 men involved, including other American Indians, veteran Texas regiments, and the 1st Kansas Colored Volunteers (the first black regiment in the Union army).

The 1,100 acre site has six walking trails with a total of 55 interpretive signs; the trails are located at (1) the Union bivouac area, (2) the Union line of battle, (3) the Texas' regiments line of battle [which includes 1/8-mile of the original Texas Road], (4) the battle at the bridge [over Elk Creek], (5) the final action, and (6) Honey Springs [the Confederate supply depot].

Much of what we know about the American Civil War is derived from actual reports and correspondence made by officers involved in the conflict. In the years following the war a committee comprised mostly of former Union and Confederate colonels selected documents from those saved in Richmond and Washington files to be published in a 128 volume document entitled The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies . Here are the reports pertaining to the Engagement at Honey Springs, Indian Territory.

150th Anniversary Reenactment

A reenactment to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Honey Springs will be held in the Fall of 2013. More details to come.

 

Oklahoma History Center

Museum Hours
Monday - Saturday 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Days Closed: Sundays, New Year's Day, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day

Research Center Hours
Monday - Saturday 10:00 a.m. to 4:45 p.m.
First Monday of the month 10:00 a.m. to 7:45 p.m.
Days Closed: Sundays and all state holidays.

Admission
Adults: $7
Seniors (age 62+): $5
Students: $4
Children (5 & Under): Free
Family: $18.00
Veterans and Active Duty Military: Free
OHS Members: Free
Group Rate (10+): $5 per person
Discounts for OMA, AAM, Time Travelers network, Smithsonian Institute and Affiliate Members

Field Trips & Museum Tours
For details about field trips and tours please visit the education section .

Classes & Events
To find out about activities at the History Center please visit the education classes & events page and the calendar.

Locate Us

Oklahoma History Center
800 Nazih Zuhdi Drive
Oklahoma City, OK 73105
405-522-0765
okhc@okhistory.org

Exhibits

Oklahoma & The Day That Will Live In Infamy

December 7 of 2011 was a pivotal anniversary. It was the 70th anniversary of when the United States entered into World War II with the simultaneous attacks on Wake Island, Guam, the Philippines, & Hawaii.

Why is it a "pivotal" anniversary? This current generation will bridge the gap between the living veterans of these events and the literal memory of what happened to these men and women. Or...the literal memory of what they experienced.

Although there were not any Japanese planes that attacked the state of Oklahoma, many Oklahomans experienced the devastation those planes unleashed on that part of the world. We want to tell these important stories so that succeeding generations will remember tyranny and its effects in the hope that it will not be repeated.

The Return of Elegance

"The Return of Elegance: An Evening Wear Collection" is the latest fashion exhibit at the Oklahoma History Center. The exhibit showcases 29 evening gowns from the textile collection of the Oklahoma Historical Society. Many of the gowns were worn by Oklahoma women at inaugural balls, society events, and other special occasions. Also featured in the exhibit are fashion accessories including footwear and evening bags. The featured gowns will cover the period of 1912 to 1985.

Oklahoma Driven: Cars, Collectors and the Birth of the Oklahoma Highway Commission

On March 16, 1911, the Oklahoma Legislature passed House Bill 318 creating the Oklahoma Highway Commission. As the number of cars and trucks in Oklahoma exploded within the next few years, the demand for more and improved roads, highways, and bridges also increased. Now, 100 years later, the Oklahoma Department of Transportation continues to build and maintain our states all-important highway system. In celebration of this centennial, the Oklahoma History Center, the Oklahoma Department of Transportation, and the Horseless Carriage Club of America proudly present the special exhibition, "Oklahoma Driven: Cars, Collectors and the Birth of the Oklahoma Highway Commission."

On display through March 2012, Oklahoma Driven features one-of-a-kind, brass-era automobiles from the personal collections of Sooner Regional chapter members of the HCCA. Hear their stories as they relate their car restoration experiences. Coupled with the story of Oklahoma's early highway development, these collectors and their antique automobiles illustrate the early formation of America's pervasive car culture. The fascinating designs of these automobiles are accentuated by scenes of early Oklahoma roadways as well as by artifacts relating to driving these machines and building the roadways they traveled.

Caddo Leadership and Community

Within the OneOK Gallery of the Oklahoma History Center there is an area set aside to provide exhibit space for each tribe to interpret their own history to the public. Each of these small venues is a cooperative effort between the tribe and the Oklahoma Museum of History. The initial tribes featured in this area were the Pawnee, Osage, Choctaw, and Kiowa peoples. In 2008 the Chickasaw Nation replaced the Kiowa Tribe in this area. This September the Caddo Nation will replace the Choctaw Nation within this interpretative area.

This exhibit is the end result of a year-long cooperative effort between the Caddo Nation Museum and the Oklahoma Museum of History. The Caddo Nation Museum provided the interpretation, graphics, design ideas, and artifacts for the area. The staff of the Oklahoma Museum of History provided tools, material, and technical expertise for the installation and creation of graphic panels.

The title of the exhibit is "Caddo Leadership and Community". Within this exhibit visitors will be presented with information regarding Caddo history, the Caddo Turkey Dance, and artifacts from their traditional homelands. These artifacts are a core piece of the interpretation of the geographic expanse that the Caddo confederacy once covered. These are a pot from Craig Mound at Spiro, two chert points from a village site in Louisiana, a pipe from Battle Mound in Arkansas, and a replica of a shell gorget from a village site in Texas. The original Texas gorget is too fragile to move from its current storage location. Also on display is a cast replica of an effigy pipe from Spiro Mounds. This pipe, commonly referred to as 'Big Boy' or the 'Resting Warrior', features the carved figure of a kneeling man wearing heads for earrings.

Museum and Sites

Cherokee Strip Museum

Cherokee Strip Regional Heritage Center

Museum of the Western Prairie

Oklahoma History Center

Oklahoma Route 66 Museum

Oklahoma Territorial Museum

Pioneer Heritage Townsite Center

Pioneer Woman Museum

Spiro Mounds Museum

Peter Conser Home

47114 Conser Creek Road
Heavener, OK 74937-9022
918.653.2493
peterconser@okhistory.org
Manager: Brandon Reid

Museum Hours
Tue- Sat 9am to 5pm
Closed
Sunday & Monday Closed
Free Admission

Peter Conser was born in 1852 and died in 1934. His home remained in the Conser family until 1967 when his granddaughter (Mrs. Lewis Barnes) and her husband donated the home to the Oklahoma Historical Society. The Society has renovated the home and returned it to a semblance of its native condition when Peter lived there. In spite of its age the foundation is sound and all the floors remain firm except for a small portion in the upper floor - just behind the far left window you see behind the tree limbs. This portion of the home is now a very modern office with a computer and an abundance of historical research material. The home is found 4 miles south of Heavener on Highway U.S. 59 as if you were heading for Broken Bow.

Inside the house everything is arranged very much as if Peter and family had just left. The beds are made and the fireplace is clean and ready for the next load of wood. The living room is corded off to keep well-behaved visitors from disturbing anything, but picture taking is still easily possible.

The Lighthorse were the mounted police force of the Five Civilized Tribes. At previous times Lighthorse officials had acted as sheriff, judge, jury and executioner. By the 1870s much of that power had been removed, but the job was still dangerous occasionally. Peter Conser joined the force in 1877.

Papers available at the Peter Conser Home related how Choctaw lawbreakers would be told to come at the time of trial, and if convicted, would be sent home to make preparations for their punishment. They would do everything possible to be back early enough for their punishment to be carried out. Capital punishment was carried out by shooting until the lawbreaker was dead.

Peter's first wife was a Choctaw. They had a daughter named Susan, and a short time later, Amy (Bacon) Conser died, leaving Peter to raise Susan alone. Peter married again, to Martha Jane Smith, and they had four boys and four girls. It was at this point that Peter built the two story house with its eight rooms. She helped to run a general store with a post office. In 1894, shortly after the house was completed, Martha Jane died. When Peter married Mary Ann Holson, she became the postmistress there, too. Prosperous and recognized for his abilities, Peter served as a representative, and then as a senator to the Choctaw Council. He was noted there for his wisdom and organizational skills.