Culture, history, and museums in Oklahoma

We have learned so much about the culture, history, and museums in Oklahoma during our recent visits. We will continue visiting small-town Oklahoma and experience more of these exciting discoveries.

Chickasaw Cultural Center

867 Cooper Memorial Dr.
Sulphur, OK 73086-8697

Traveling in our motorhome has given Steve and me tremendous opportunities to explore outside major cities, in the smaller towns and communities in the United States. In Sulphur, Oklahoma, the Chickasaw Cultural Center was on our want-to-visit list.

Culture, history, and museums in Oklahoma

As we parked in the distant RV parking lot, we were able to see that this Cultural Center is a vast complex. It contains an interactive Exhibit Center, a center for the Study of Chickasaw History and Culture, a traditional village, a gift shop, and an art gallery!

Culture, history, and museums in Oklahoma

We were picked up by a friendly guy in a golf cart at the door to our RV and driven to the Exhibit Center to begin our experience there. It was a delight to discover we did not have to walk the great distance to the complex. The afternoon was chilly, and the walk would have been long.

The Chickasaw Cultural Center is a museum and park in Sulphur, Oklahoma, that celebrates the history and culture of the Chickasaw people. We were very impressed and enjoyed learning more about Chickasaw culture and exploring the beautiful grounds.

Culture, history, and museums in Oklahoma

The Center features exhibits on traditional Chickasaw arts and crafts, food, clothing, shelter, and galleries showcasing contemporary Chickasaw art. A theater in the Center presents cultural performances and educational programs for school groups and visitors.

This rather large complex also includes a living history village and nature trail. Traditional art and craft demonstrations also take place throughout the complex.

Mabee-Gerrer Museum of Art

1900 West MacArthur
Shawnee, OK 74804

Culture, history, and museums in Oklahoma

Go visit the Mabee-Gerrer Museum of Art in Shawnee, Oklahoma. It’s one of the best small museums anywhere and a great museum to visit if you’re looking for some history and culture.

This museum’s collection of art from all over the world, including pieces from Greece and Rome, includes more than 4,000 objects, including paintings, sculptures, textiles, and tribal artifacts. It also has a lot of American Indian and modern and contemporary art, which is really interesting.

The museum offers a variety of educational programs for visitors of all ages. There are guided tours available for both groups and individuals, or you can tour on your own. The museum also offers classes and workshops on various aspects of art.

Here you can explore 8,000 years of human history, examine art and artifacts from around the world, take art classes, meet new friends, and more!

Mabee-Gerrer Museum of Art

I am repeating myself, but the Mabee-Gerrer Museum of Art is definitely worth visiting if you are interested in learning about art history. It’s one of the best art museums in Oklahoma and charges a nominal fee to enter.

We talked with Dick, the guy holding down the fort at the museum, on the quiet Sunday afternoon we visited. We so enjoyed his knowledge of the complex, stories, and information. He simply made our visit!

These are photos of St. Gregory’s Abbey, labyrinth, and monastery found at the same location as the Mabee-Gerrer Museum of Art. This is an incredible property with a long and interesting history!

Citizen Potawatomi Nation Cultural Center

1899 S. Gordon Cooper Drive
Shawnee, OK

Culture, history, and museums in Oklahoma

Our next stop on this tour of nearby small towns in Oklahoma turned out to be The Citizen Potawatomi National Cultural Center. Another surprise history lesson for us.

The Citizen Potawatomi National Cultural Center states this Center is “Recognized as a Top Ten Model Museum/Cultural Center by the Association of Tribal Archives, Libraries, and Museums.” We can definitely see why this Cultural Center is so described.

Steve and I knew next to nothing about the Potawatomi people until visiting this Center. During our visit, though, we learned the Citizen Potawatomi Nation Cultural Center is located within the boundaries of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation.

The Potawatomi people have lived in this area of Shawnee since 1839. They are part of the Algonquian language group and were moved from the Great Lakes and east coast to Kansas by the United States Government in the 1830s under President Andrew Jackson’s Indian Removal Act.

According to the National Indian Gaming Association, The Citizen Potawatomi Nation is one of the federally recognized tribes in Oklahoma, with over 10,000 members living in Oklahoma. Wikipedia says that their annual economic impact is $500 million.

The Center is a museum and Cultural Center dedicated to the history and culture of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation, with exhibits related to the tribe’s history, art, religion, and daily life.

Culture, history, and museums in Oklahoma

The Center also hosts cultural events and performances throughout the year and workshops that include traditional dancing, drumming, storytelling events, and classes in pottery making and other traditional crafts.

Exhibits at the Center include a replica of a traditional Pottawatomie wigwam, a display on the traditional use of plants by the tribe, and artifacts from local archaeological sites. There is also an interactive children’s area, where kids can learn about making pottery or playing traditional games.

A gift shop offers traditional pottery, jewelry, and other items made by members of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation.

Grand Casino Hotel Resort

777 Grand Casino Boulevard
Shawnee, Oklahoma 74804

Boondocking in a casino parking lot

We spent two nights boondocking in the parking lot at Grand Casino Hotel Resort in Shawnee, Oklahoma, and loved it! An RV park is onsite here and provides first-come-first-serve RV parking. Water & electric hookups are available (no sewer, but dump station available).

We decided not to take advantage of the RV parking area with the hookups and parked in the massive parking lot and relied on our generator and own water tanks. Worked out just fine, and our stay was very comfortable. We did get permission from security to be able to park overnight and at no cost.

The casino

I have mentioned before that we enjoy stopping at casinos along the road. We like to gamble just a bit in the casino, have a nice meal at one of the many restaurants that casinos always have. Then we are free to relax in the comfort of our tiny home on wheels.

This casino is pretty big and spread out on two separate floors. The second floor can be accessed by escalators or elevators. Since we did not stay at the hotel, I have no idea what the rooms were like, but the hotel did look good from the lobby area.

The Grandstand Sports Bar & Grill is the only restaurant we visited at the Grand Casino Hotel Resort, but it was very, very good. We both had sandwiches, and they were huge and quite delicious. Desserts are not to be missed either. I would not mind stopping there for a meal again.

Trip highlight

I recently made a post about the skyrocketing gas prices. Our fuel cost is always on our minds now, and it probably is on yours as well. One of us was pretty lucky in the casino and won a nice jackpot at one of the slot machines! That little windfall has been assigned to fuel costs for our travels.

Culture, history, and museums in Oklahoma

Our time in Oklahoma has been another wonderful learning experience. The amount of history we are learning and the stories we are hearing from the people we encounter along the way are making our retirement lives so much fun and enjoyable.

Culture, history, and museums in OklahomaCulture, history, and museums in Oklahoma

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