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Museum of the Great Plains
One of the exhibits inside included an Indian Teepee. 6.17 Oklahoma ratingStar
Museum of the Great Plains guyonthego

The Museum of the Great Plains was established in 1952, and it interprets the human history of the Great Plans from prehistoric times to the 20th century. In addition to a 25,000 square foot museum building, there are several additional outdoor buildings such as replicas of a 19th century trading post and blacksmith shop as well as a historic train depot and schoolhouse. Old farm machinery and a locomotive are also displayed.

After being established at Fort Sill, the museum moved to its current location in 1961, and it has gone through several expansions over the years including the most recent one in 1997. Plans are in process to renovate the main museum starting at the end of 2013. As for exterior attractions, the train depot and schoolhouse are both historic buildings but are often closed. The replica trading post and blacksmith shop are more accessible but hours may be limited due to the availability of volunteer staffers.

The main museum, which is dated, covers topics in a rudimentary way. Some of the better exhibits included period storefronts from the 1800s. Also, there was a small but interesting collection of Indian shoes and clothing from the early 1900s. A display about Howard Concil, a talented local saddle maker, was moderately interesting. As for outdoor attractions, prairie dogs scampering around the lawn were fun to watch and listen to for a time. The trading post volunteer docent was helpful and informative at explaining the hides, guns and various implements. The blacksmith also was engaging but the smoke from the forge was too irritating to linger long. Both the depot and schoolhouse were closed, and the depot is closed indefinitely for repairs. Since a facelift is pending for the exhibit hall, saying it is in need of one is superfluous, but it's true. With skimpy historical information, the museum may merit a quick visit when in the area and with time to kill; otherwise the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge is a better choice.

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