|This really got you in the mood for the rest of the museum! Kudos!|
From here, it gets a little complicated. See, this museum is HUGE. A LOT bigger than it appears to be. The above pictured statue sits in the middle of the east and west wings. I'll talk about the east wing first since I spent the least amount of time there. That's where the cafeteria is, as well as a gallery of Western art the museum has purchased over the years. There's a giant statue of Abraham Lincoln, a smaller bronze one of John Wayne, and some newer artifacts that have recently been acquired by the museum. However, most of the gallery space lies behind Lincoln, and no photography is allowed there, so I didn't go in.
The west wing, however, was PACKED with information and things to see. Even at a slightly hurried pace I didn't get to see it all. It seemed every time I tried to backtrack I found myself in a new room with more artifacts, paintings, or exhibits that taught me about another aspect of Western American culture.
There were areas that showed various Native American clothing:
A small section that seemed to depict hunting in the early days of the frontier:
A very well done section that discussed the military, including the contributions of African Americans, Native Americans, and women:
A very expansive section that talked about the "basics" of cowboy culture (like different types of hats, rope ties, horses, saddles, etc.) as well as the different kind of cowboys there were. This was an area I wish I would have spent more time in:
There was also a very large gallery full of smaller statues and gorgeous paintings depicting western scenes. One painting in particular had pinks and blues so vibrant and, almost neon looking that I was sure it was a modern piece....but was painted in 1916! No photos allowed in there, and as we know, I (usually) follow the rules. There are also outdoor gardens, but as I was running out of time, my camera battery was dying, and it was over 100 degrees outside, I didn't go and wander about.
This museum was beautiful, and very well put together. But what I loved most was how much I learned there. Did you know that there were cowboys in Hawaii and Canada? I sure didn't. I also learned a lot about the more obscure parts of American history, and about the cultural and economic impact this had on our developing nation. You can go over more than 200 years of history in about two hours, and I think that's pretty cool. I also appreciated that multiple cultures were featured, and that both men and women were portrayed throughout the museum. I also enjoyed that rather than having the material portrayed as a "cowboy versus Indian" theme, both topics were blended throughout without lessening their individual importance. If you have two or three hours to spare in OKC, do yourself a favor and visit this truly amazing and unique museum.
Thank you so much for taking the time to read my blog. As always, you can check out my pictures on Facebook, follow me on Twitter, and I'll see you on the next adventure!