Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Salina Museum Fills Void in Tale of State Economics

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Salina Museum Fills Void in Tale of State Economics

Article excerpt

SALINA -- Visitors to the Chouteau Memorial Museum enter into a lodge-style archive designed to look like a frontier trading post.

Its showcases hold samples of merchandise the Chouteau family traded in the 1800s for hides and furs from the Osage Indians. Animal pelts are on display near a bucket of leg-hold traps.

The Oklahoma Historical Society revamped the little museum, which had closed in 1993, and reopened it last month with new exhibits. Its collection pays tribute to the influence of the fur industry on population migration and the area's economy before statehood. Agency officials say the museum helps fill a void -- in preservation and education -- when it comes to the fur trade. "In Oklahoma we place a lot of emphasis on the land run openings, but that was a short time period," said Kathy Dickson, museums director for the Historical Society. "The fur trade was 100 years, so that was far more significant to the state, and there was no place that was covering that." Dickson said the museum opened in 1971 but had to close four years ago when her agency lost 18.8 percent of its funding from the Legislature. Bob Blackburn, deputy executive director of the Historical Society, said the Chouteau site was one of 14 across Oklahoma that reduced their hours or shut down altogether because of budget cuts in 1993. When the Chouteau Museum was open originally, Blackburn said, local support and visitation were low. Most of the collection consisted of a borrowed hodgepodge "... Grandma's washboard and Grandpa's pipe. It didn't really tell a story," he said. Blackburn said he was optimistic the Chouteau Museum would thrive this time around. Officials hope to recruit visits from schools, senior citizens' centers and tour groups. "I think we have the potential to tell an important story here and tell it to a market we may be missing," he said. Salina, a town of 1,153 about 50 miles northeast of Tulsa, was the choice of Auguste Chouteau for a trading post in 1822. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.