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Donna's Journal
The Pioneer Woman Museum

      There was a controversy over the re-building of the new Pioneer Woman Museum as I recall. Some folks were pretty heated up over the modern looks of the building. They felt it was inappropriate for the purpose it was to serve and that was the housing of historical artifacts from this area. As usual I just sit back and enjoy the rift between the factions.

       The Pioneer Woman Statue was erected before I was born at a cost of $300,000. It was a gift from Mr. Marland, 10th governor of the state who resided at Ponca City, to the citizens of Oklahoma. Unveiling ceremonies were held on April 22, 1930, with a dedication service described by national writers as the most stirring outdoor event in the history of Oklahoma. The statue itself is 17 feet tall and weights 12,000 pounds. From the base to the top of her sunbonnet measures 30 feet.

      The original and first Pioneer Woman Museum was dedicated on September 16, 1958 on the 65th anniversary of the Cherokee Strip.  I remember this date well, since it was the year after my husband and I were married. Bob Spray, a local jeweler, put a lot of work into the project. We had been shopping for a ring in his store around that time. He was a personable man and loved to visit about what was happening with the original building so we had sort of a blow by blow description.

      The museum preserves the legacy of women from all races, creeds and nationalities who have contributed to the development of Oklahoma. The entrance of the today's new museum represents the pioneer woman’s bonnet and is inscribed with the words, "I See No Boundaries."

      The curator is new this year, 2005 and I enjoyed meeting her so much. She is a vibrant little woman who has a great feeling of dedication to her craft. She wants to bring women into the museum in order to cherish their skills and strength of character for showing these abilities inherited from pioneering ancestors.

     Rebecca was kind enough to set up a book signing there for me on May 15, 2005 at 2 O'clock. I will work on the antique photographs I have of the women in my family, who were pioneers in this state of Oklahoma for my presentation.

      I might add that I'm so glad the folks who fought for the newer architecture won out. There is just the greatest feeling as you walk down the sidewalk toward the front door. The very large hood like entry way seems to pull you into a different time frame. Anyway this is how I felt, like I was walking into the past. I'm sure Bob Spray would have heartily agreed.  The new curator seems to have his original goals in mind as well.

      It is quite possible some of the artifacts belonged to my great-grandmother because my Uncle was always donating those antiques to museums both here and in Tulsa. I was able to recognize a very old piece from a country store and when I asked about it I learned it did, indeed, come from the old store at Grainola, Oklahoma, five miles close to where I lived.

     The display of women's dresses on life sized manikins depicting different times was interesting but I'm sure there are many more things I haven't seen. They had a kitchen stove like my antique I showed you on my Nancy Fletcher page.

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