Tag Archives: Museums

Tulsa’s Greenwood Rising Museum

About a month ago I checked out the Greenwood Rising Museum in the Greenwood District of Tulsa just north of downtown.

The museum opened to visitors in August 2021 a little over a 100 years after the Greenwood Massacre in the same area.

The museum has a lot to about the massacre but the emphasis is on the Greenwood community. It also has a lot about the forces of repression against people of color that has been occurring from the early days of Oklahoma right up to the present.

This isn’t the type of museum that has a lot of relics or art to look at. It’s more of a story telling museum using photographs, videos, and displays.

Greenwood was known as the “Black Wall Street” because of its prosperity. Cut off from the white part of town, Greenwood prospered and that was a problem for many in the white community.

The massacre itself lasted less than 24 hours from May 31 to June 1, 1921. A white mob attacked the district and killed several hundred people and burned much of the area to the ground.

No white person was ever brought to justice. The blame was placed squarely on the residents. Although many had insurance nothing was paid under the provisions of riots exemptions.

Afterwards as the community struggled to rebuild, the City of Tulsa responded by requiring brick homes and other things meant to encourage the residents to sell out to white people.

Eventually, the community rebuilt itself and then faced another destructive force. Urban Renewal led to the demolition of many homes and businesses and the construction of a freeway running right through the neighborhood. The white areas south of downtown got below grade freeways to minimze the impact the effect of the highway on the residents. The Greenwood area did not get the same consideration. To this day, there are vast areas just west of Greenwood that are still barren.

The community is resilient and is thriving.

The museum is about a lot more than the massacre.

There is still a fight going on. The Oklahoma legislature has passed laws making it hader to register and vote, aimed squarely at minority voters. The fragile white legislature have also passed laws that inhibit the teaching of the injustices of the past. It might be illegal to bring students to this museum.

I went through the museum, and I did not feel that white people are attacked or disparaged at all. The facility is telling a story in an even handed manner. They are telling the story of their community in a factual manner.

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I highly recommend visiting Greenwood Rising. It is well done.

Note that they are closed for the month of August as they refresh the facility. They announced an interesting thing, you can get a preview of the museum for free on the smartphone app “Bloomberg Connects.” I downloaded it and it is a great app. You can tour lots of museums all across the world not just Greenwood Rising.

So, I recommend check Greenwood Rising out if you happen to be in the Tulsa area. Check the link for hours and other info.

I am posting at My Corner of the World. Come check it out.

A Visit to the Will Rogers Museum in Claremore, Oklahoma

Will Rogers Statue HDR

My brother Bob and I drove to Tulsa suburb of Claremore to visit the Will Rogers Museum. Will Rogers may be the most popular Okie ever. Even more revered than Garth Brooks. Will Rogers was a humorist, author, actor (both film and broadway), radio personality, author, and columnist. He was known for his folksy ways and friendly demeanor. His most popular saying was that he “Never met a man he didn’t like.” He was born on November 4, 1879 on a ranch near Oolagah, Oklahoma and died in an airplane crash in Alaska on August 15, 1935.

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He grew up ranching of and worked his way into wild west shows and later vaudeville doing roping tricks. Later he was in Broadway plays and movies.

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The museum is chock full of Will Rogers information and art. Their are statues of him, art of him. They have film clips of him. And all sorts of information about him and many of his possessions are on display including a large collection of saddles.

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I loved all the movie posters. They have mock ups of the various rooms in his house in California where he lived when his film career blossomed. The museum is very nice and you can tell that it is a labor of love for the staff and volunteers that work there. You get a very good sense of the man. Talented yet humble and a very understated manner of speaking. I left there wondering, “Who is our Will Rogers today.”

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Will  Rogers is buried on the grounds there on a site overlooking the beautiful hills of Oklahoma. I love this statue that they have near the grave.

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Here is a carboard cutout of Will along with my brother. Sorry about the dark shot.

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Soon, I will have a post about Rogers’ birthplace in nearby Oolagah. Brother Bob and I ventured up there after our visit to the museum.

If you want to visit the Will Rogers Museum click on the link. They have lots and lots of information including the basics such as where they are and when they are open.

Fall Foliage at Tulsa’s Philbrook Museum

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Sunday afternoon, after setting the DVR for the Dallas Cowboys game, son Logan and I headed off for an outing at Tulsa’s Philbrook Museum of Art. I wasn’t interested in the art on this trip as I was the gardens of museum. They have spectacular gardens and there is something to see in them all seasons. Thanks to Logan’s grandmother, my MIL, who buys us a family membership every year, we get to go see Philbrook a lot.

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First up they had a Special Exhibit called “Museum Confidential” that was about, among other things, why some works that museums have in the their collections never get exhibited. They had a pretty dense display of Philbrook owned art that never gets displayed. A lot of it is funny looking, or worn out, or they are not sure exactly who painted it (provenance that is called). I thought it quite interesting. My theory is that a lot of stuff is donated and they don’t know what to do with it. My dad was involved in a museum in Idaho and he talked about all the worthless stuff people donated just to get a tax deduction.

Anyway, we checked the exhibit out in a couple minutes an then toured the rest of the three floors in about 15 minutes. It doesn’t take me long. I have been to the museum dozens of times and I just like looking at the stuff I like and it is like saying hello to old friends and I never get tired of the collection, and every once in a while I notice something new or rather, noticed something that has been there all along. So, after our whirlwind tour we headed out for the gardens.

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The focal point of the gardens is the tempietto. The money shot is the tempietto reflected in the pond. I wonder how many photos have been taken of it over the years. I think it has led to an imbalance of photons in this world that is causing many of our current problems. So I know that it is somewhat of a cliche but you know I have been clicking away for years and will keep on clicking. I think the scene is gorgeous.

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And then we went off. I found this foliage right next to the employee parking lot. I’ll take it.

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Some more Fall color.

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By now you have figured out that I have a thing for curved walkways that go underneath colorful trees.

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And on our way out, I stop for another shot of the tempietto. I like all the purply colors in this scene and how the colors are reflected in the pond. I also love all the textures in the scene. I am not bragging about the photo, I love the what my eye sees and what is weakly captured by the camera.

If you plan on visiting Philbrook check their website. They have lots going on including both big special exhibits and smaller. Note that they have a monthly event called Second Saturday where the museum doesn’t charge admission and they have all sorts of activities for all ages. it is quite fun and is sponsored by my employer.

They are also very photo friendly. You can take photos of almost anything in their permanent collection. Just don’t use flash and don’t be a pain to your fellow guests. Special exhibits are sometimes different because they bring in art from other museums and private collections and sometimes there are restrictions. If you have any questions, just ask the people at the front desk. They are very friendly, well trained and can answer all your questions.

Checking out the Tulsa Air & Space Museum & Planetarium

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Son, Logan and brother Bob in front a Spartan 7-W -Executive

It was Thanksgiving weekend and brother Bob came to visit from Corpus Christi. We usually go hiking or running together outside but it rained and rained and then rained some more this weekend. Plus I have dragged him to the Gilcrease and Philbrook museums several times so, time to hit the Tulsa Air & Space Museum & Planetarium.

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Logan in front of the Spartan 7-W Executive

The place is packed full of airplanes of various types and there are all sorts of helpful but not intrusive volunteers to answer questions or just chat.

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Spartan NP-1

Tulsa has quite an aviation history. American Airlines has a major maintenance base here. According to the Oklahoma Historical Society, Air Force Plant 3, also known as the Tulsa Bomber Plant manufactured during World War II: A-24 Dauntless Dive Bombers, B-24 Liberator Strategic Bombers, and A-26 Invader Medium Bombers. Peak employment during the war was over twenty three thousand people. During the Cold War up until 1957,  the plant built B-47 Stratojet Strategic Bombers and B-66 Medium Bombers.

Tulsa is also home to Spartan Aviation. An 87 year old company started by oilman W.G. Skelly in 1928 and then later by another Tulsa oilman, J. Paul Getty. Spartan was a manufacturing company in its early years and later a pilot, technician, and mechanic training organization. According to Spartan’s web site, Getty sought an officer’s commission when the war started but was told what he needed to do was hand over his oil company concerns to others and to concentrate his talent on Spartan because the military was depending on Spartan to train military pilots. They are still in business today and have trained over 87,000 pilots. They advertise that they can get you “airline ready” in 33 months. If interested check their website. Financing available, tell them Yogi sent you.

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Aeromet AURA (“Autonomous Unmanned Reconnaissance Aircraft”) One of the first Military drones built in 1986 for the US Air Force by Tulsa Company Aeromet. This aircraft is considered to be forerunner of the drones now in use.

I don’t think any airplanes are being manufactured in Tulsa any longer but American Airlines and its associated contractors are still a major contributor to Tulsa’s economy. Any big bond issues generally have some millions of dollars of goodies in there for American to keep from moving their jobs somewhere else.

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Oh yeah the museum has fun stuff like a model airplane flight simulator also as Logan found out.

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Brother Bob tried it out also.

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We bought tickets for the Planetairium. They have a bunch of different programs offered frequently during the day. The one we watched was “Earth, Moon, and Sun” and they also had a short program on the status of the former planet Pluto and another program on Light Pollution.

Anyway we had a good time. Go check it out if you are in the area! Their web site is loaded with good information.

I’m linking with Our World Tuesday

Nature Notes – The Woods of Woolaroc

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Sunday the family journeyed from Tulsa north to Woolaroc, a museum and wildlife preserve that used to be Frank Phillips‘ Ranch (like in Phillips Petroleum). We toured the museum and the barn and looked at the critters but the best part was hiking through the woods. Everything was very green and fresh and magical.

Linking with Nature Notes

Our World – National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum – Oklahoma City

Last Friday was my day off. We had family business to attend to in Oklahoma City so made the trek down the Turner Turnpike. After we had our business done we visited the The National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum. It used to be called the “The Cowboy Hall of Fame” and that is what almost everybody in Oklahoma calls it but you know times change.

End of the Trail

The “End of the Trail” sculpture right at the entrance is huge, beautiful, and haunting. I never get tired of looking at it.

Abe Lincoln

I love their Abraham Lincoln sculpture.

Cavalry

They have a huge collection of western art and lots of information about western life and cowboy culture. I love this cavalryman and his horse in full charge.

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I am always looking for new things. I had never noticed this blanket before.

If you find yourself in Oklahoma City with a few hours to spare and are interested in all things western then go check it out.

Our World Tuesday