ALTUS, OK (KSWO) -Our One Tank Trips series wraps up this week with a couple of locations in Altus, including the Museum of the Western Prairie.
While the museum tells the story of this corner of the state from its ancient days to its more recent history, museum director Jennie Buchanan says the focus is always on the people.
"We tell a lot about homesteading. Many of our exhibits actually have excerpts from interviews that were done in 1937 that allowed settlers to tell their own stories, and in the courtyard we can give them more of that information. We have a half dugout that was moved in from the Aaron community, which is just west of Altus, and served as the home for the Criswell family for many years," Buchanan said. "We also have a story-and-a-half ranch house that was made out of stone. It was built in 1891 and it was carefully reconstructed here at the museum to give people the opportunity to contrast the difference between the way a rather wealthy rancher lived, compared to a farmer who was just beginning a homestead."
Inside, there are a variety of displays including a chuckwagon, the original food truck if you will, which kept the cowboys fed as they worked to move cattle along the trail. You'll also see a re-creation of an old classroom, as well as exhibits showcasing Native American culture and religion in the old west.
No museum would be complete without art.
"We have a smaller gallery that we use for rotating exhibits, and those might be art exhibits or photography exhibits. We also have some art collections of our own that we exhibit there from time to time, so there's always something new at the museum," Buchanan said.
There is a temporary exhibit featuring the work of a local artist, Brian Nichols. It opened in May and will be on display through August 16.
The museum is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m.