Magical history tour

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Yesterday, I took part of the afternoon off and took our three kids to the Tulsa Historical Society in Woodward Park. It was our first visit as a family, and we all enjoyed it immensely.

The "carrot" to get us in the door was a special Spring Break promotion for families -- complete a History Detective Scavenger Hunt and win a 2010 Tulsa Historical Society membership. (I learned about the promotion via their @TulsaHistory account on Twitter.)

The scavenger hunt involved finding answers to questions in the museum's exhibits -- Tulsa in the 1940s, Seidenbach's Department Store, Zebco, lost movie palaces, construction photos of historic buildings. We only had an hour and were about to finish well within that time, but we could easily have spent much more time exploring. I understand that the Seidenbach's exhibit is about to close, so if you're interested in the history of ladies' fashion and retail, you'll want to visit very soon. (An exhibit on Tulsa baseball opens in April.)

THS does a great job of exhibiting its historic photographs and artifacts, both in making them easy to view and in providing context for appreciating their significance. I loved the megasized prints of aerial and streetscape photographs in the '40s exhibit -- it made it easy to show my kids the places they know and the places that are long gone. (Comment from the 13-year-old on the '40s streetscape photos: "I wish downtown still looked like that." Comment from the 9-year-old on color photos of the Akdar Theater / Cimarron Ballroom: "They tore that down for parking? Were they blind?")

When we turned in our completed scavenger hunt paper, we were signed up for our membership, and the kids were given a copy of Tulsa History A to Z, a book filled with photos and interesting stories of Tulsa's past.

As THS closed for the day, we went back to the car to retrieve scooters and a bicycle then walked across the parking lot to the Tulsa Arboretum. The collection of trees is ringed by a paved path that was just right for our 4-year-old and his Lightning McQueen bike. As we circled the park, he had us stop at every brass nameplate so I could tell him the English and Latin names of each tree.

The Tulsa Historical Society is open Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is free!

MORE: Become a fan of Tulsa Historical Society on Facebook to see daily historic photos and trivia questions and news about THS events and exhibits.

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Paul said:

I enjoy visiting the Tulsa Historical Society from time to time. There's a large collection of archival photos in the basement below the museum, along with old newspaper/magazine clippings, at least one Tulsa zoning map (published in color during the 1920s), and numerous Sanborn maps (also published in color for several decades during the era of Tulsa's early growth and heyday).

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on March 19, 2010 8:41 AM.

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