406 EAST OKLAHOMA AVENUE
GUTHRIE, OKLAHOMA 73044
The Spotlight Exhibit is located by the entrance to the museum and changes
every year to explore a different topic or theme. It is available to the public
at all times, with spotlighting and backlit panels making it easy to read even
during an evening stroll around Guthrie. When not on display, each is
available as a traveling exhibit.
BOUND TO PLEASE: A History of Corseting
Clothing has always been a way to illustrate social standing, affected
by one's political views. Corsets have been a staple of feminine dress
for centuries. They created diverse silhouettes and held positive meanings
for women such as status, self-discipline, beauty, sexuality and their
production opened a manufacturing niche for women.
However, periods in history saw them decline in popularity
because of political movements and change from
industrialization. Activities used corsets to illustrate
hardships, as a symbol of women's constricted social
position and a device to control their bodies. Corsets
quickly fell out of favor within five years of World
War 1 with the expansion of women's roles and
growing women's liberation sentiment, but their
lasting effect is still evident having shaped beauty
ideals as they shaped the physical female body.
OPPORTUNITY AWAITS: The African-American Experience
in Territorial Oklahoma
African-American history plays an integral role in the story of Oklahoma. The
exhibit panels are titled: Why Oklahoma, Opportunity Awaits, Opportunities for
Success, Establishing Communities, Local Leaders, and Approaching Statehood.
The exhibit helps to tell the story of this often overlooked part of our history.
PHOTOS TO ENLARGE.
USE GREEN ARROW TO
RETURN TO EXHIBITS PAGE
OKLAHOMA: From Promised
to Possessed Land
The ecology of the Oklahoma Territory provided
a challenge to the ingenuity and commitment
of the settlers. With familiar building materials
unavailable, settlers were forced to make due
with what was available. While some settlers
imported milled lumber to build houses, many
more built shelters by digging out a hillside or
constructing homes made of sod. Access to
essentials such as water, proximity to a market
center, arable land for crops and grazing land
were important considerations in deciding the
ultimate location to settle.
An average family succeeded on the Great Plains by devoting sixty percent of
their land to crop production. The original 160-acre claims slowly grew larger as
some bought up land abandoned by unsuccessful settlers. Farmers took cues
from the natural vegetation to determine which crops could be successful in
specific locations. Orchards of nut and fruit trees sprang up in areas where the
Cross Timbers thrives and in close proximity to rivers. Despite a few high yield
seasons, the majority of orchards failed as the climate naturally shifted into a
LETHAL TO INGEST: Territorial Medicine
The 19th century medical profession was weak and divided. It yielded insecure
incomes, low social status and no ability to control quality of care or education
level of practitioners. As the 20th century dawned, the medical, pharmaceutical
and retail drugstore industries were busy drafting the anatomy of today's
medicine. Many lives were lost to disease and addition in the desperate search
for effective medical treatments. Many patients fell victim to fraud because, in
rural areas, legitimate medical treatments were difficult to identify and hard to
access leaving many to rely on traveling medical shows and salesmen hawking
BENDING THE RULES: Victorian Etiquette
According to Victorian Era rules of society,
manners were the most valuable asset a woman
could possess and the only thing appropriate for
public display. Amiable women were organizers
and refiners of elegant society where worthy
men strived to impress. However, the
turn-of-the-century provided opportunities for
women to expand or reject social norms.
"A gentlewoman will be as courteous to a
stranger as she will be towards her servants,
parents or children. She will observe all the
details politeness demands. She must be
amiable, pleasing, attractive, friendly and
loving. A proper lady will be well-mannered
and thoughtful of others. She must always be
ready with a pleasing smile or kind word. She
must be generous and wise, which demands
a never-ending education."
Quote from the Ladies Book of Etiquette - 1890
AND THE WRECKING BALL BOUNCED:
Historic Preservation in Guthrie Oklahoma
What started as a simple railroad station
exploded into a bustling city on April 22, 1889.
The throng of people staking claims necessitated
the creation of four townships to accommodate
the demand for town lots. By the next evening,
mounds of lumber littered the landscape and wooden skeletons erupted
from the red dirt. Within months, brick and stone structures marked
Guthrie's emergence as a city of leaders and pioneers.
Today, the ornamented buildings continue to reinforce Guthrie's role as a
distinctive entity in Oklahoma's story. As with any long fulfilling life
of a city, some buildings survived and some were lost.
The wrecking ball demolished
the beautiful Ione Hotel
|An old postcard showcasing
Guthrie's original City Hall
TO RETURN TO
Orchards flourished in the years
after the Land Run.