The Heartland Museum, opened in 2007, is governed by the Board of Directors of the Heartland of America Heritage Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit private organization incorporated by the State of Oklahoma in 2001. The Board of Directors meets monthly. The Heartland Museum was funded by private donations and one HUD grant. The museum is operated by volunteers with the assistance of one fulltime SWODA (Southwest Oklahoma Development Authority) senior-citizen employee and two work-study students from the local university.
Weatherford, Oklahoma is a mid-sized progressive town on Interstate 40 about 70 miles west of Oklahoma City. The Heartland Museum, located on a nine-acre tract (owned by the Museum and paid for in full) on the south interstate frontage road and close to downtown Weatherford, is bordered on the north by Interstate 40 (accessible by Exits 82 and 84), on the south by FarmRail railroad tracks, on the east by a busy city/county road, and on the west by interstate right-of-way. The main industries in and around Weatherford are agriculture, ranching, oil and gas production, education, retail trade, and more recently, wind energy. Weatherford is home to Southwestern Oklahoma State University.
The Heartland Museum can best be described as a pioneer history museum. The artifacts are, for the most part, displayed in booths and cabinets representing the major themes of agriculture, education, family life, Route 66, patriotism/military, transportation, religious faiths, arts and music. Among the community shops represented inside the main exhibit hall are a general store, drug store/pharmacy, telephone office, barber/beauty shop, medical office, funeral home, and newspaper office. Diverse minority cultures of the area are represented in the museum's artifacts and exhibits, specifically Native Americans, those of African descent, and German (Mennonite) and Russian settlers. Free-standing buildings on the museum grounds include an original Route 66 diner, one-room school house, and blacksmith shop. Among its outreach programs, the museum provides a video wind energy program and visit to a local wind turbine.
Currently, the Board of Directors of the Heartland of America Museum in Weatherford, Oklahoma is seeking funds to build an annex to shelter and preserve transportation and farm implement artifacts characteristic of the history and culture of the area.
The exhibit hall of the existing museum has one aisle devoted to transportation and farm implements. We also have farm implements exhibited outside the building. Most importantly, numerous other transportation and farm implement artifacts cannot currently be accepted because of lack of space to shelter them properly. The proposed annex will free up space in the existing climate-controlled building for other exhibits. Architectural/engineering sketches show the proposed annex adjacent to the existing museum building, connected by a wide hallway. A reliable bid from a local contractor is for $600,000 to construct the annex. Although the museum operates on a limited budget, approximately $150,000 is held in reserve to apply toward the cost of the annex. The target year for groundbreaking and start of construction is 2017-2018.
The new annex will be a basic open-warehouse-type metal building with an attractive front facade. The building will have electricity, ceiling fans, heat, and air conditioning. Entrance will be through the present museum building, utilizing driveway, parking lot, lobby, admissions office, gift shop, and restrooms of the existing building, thus keeping costs of the annex to a minimum. The temperature inside the annex will be maintained at a comfortable level, but not strictly climate-controlled as in the present exhibit hall.
Housed in the new building will be a wide assortment of antique cars, trucks, buses, wagons, buggies, bicycles, and possibly a small airplane and a railroad car, plus old tractors and antique farm implements. With these artifacts displayed in categories of historical sequence, new outreach programs can be developed for children, youth, and adults about the impact of advancing transportation and agricultural technologies on the culture of western Oklahoma.
Learn more by visiting http://www.oklahomaheartlandmuseum.com/ or contact Janis Lovell, 580.772.0426, firstname.lastname@example.org