8 Museums to Explore in Chickasaw Country
There is no better way to explore a destination than by checking out museums, whether historical, quirky, educational or just plain fun. Chickasaw Country offers a range of museums for you to explore.
Chickasaw Bank Museum
When visiting the Chickasaw Bank Museum in Tishomingo, visitors will learn about the opening of the bank in 1901 and subsequently closed in 1909 when a cashier and later part owner absconded with the money and was never caught. Step into the original vault or behind the teller’s desk to feel like a part of the history.
Chickasaw Council House Museum
One of the coolest places in Chickasaw Country to visit for First American history is the Chickasaw Council House Museum in Tishomingo. The Museum houses the original Chickasaw Council House – yes a house inside the museum! As you walk around the exterior of the Council House, you will see exhibits and read more about the history, traditions and culture of the Chickasaw people. And then stroll through the hall to learn about the accomplishments of several Chickasaw citizens before stopping in the gift shop for a souvenir for the road.
Chisholm Trail Heritage Center
Learn all about the Chisholm Trail and its significance to Oklahoma and history at the Chisholm Trail Heritage Center. There is so much to see and do inside and outside the Museum. Inside, view the life-size display of animals frequently seen along the Trail and step into the Duncan General Store to see what items were sold during the time of the Trail. Take time to visit the Campfire Theater to listen in on a conversation between Jesse Chisholm and Cowboy Tex about how the Trail was named. Experience an immersive adventure in the 4D Experience Theater complete with the sounds, smells and sights found along the Trail. Outside, follow the Trail along the sidewalk before capturing a photo in front of the “On the Chisholm Trail” bronze sculpture by Oklahoma artist Paul Moore.
Fort Washita Historic Site & Museum
Fort Washita was built in 1842 as the southwesternmost U.S. military post to protect the Chickasaw and Choctaw tribes and maintain peace within their new lands. The Fort was abandoned in 1865 following the Civil War. Today, Fort Washita Historic Site & Museum offers informational exhibits, restored structures, Civil War reenactments, storytelling and more. Check their calendar of events for more special activities for the entire family.
Gene Autry Museum
Enter the world of music legend Gene Autry through the Gene Autry Museum. Autry grew up in southern Oklahoma on his parent’s ranch before he became the “Singing Cowboy.” Known for his signature song “Back in the Saddle Again” and “At Mail Call Today, as well as holiday classics “Rudolph, the Red Nosed Reindeer,” “Frosty the Snowman,” “Here Comes Santa Claus” and “Up on the House Top,” Autry is memorialized through the naming of Gene Autry, Oklahoma and this museum. The museum is located in the old Gene Autry School building and houses the largest collection of vintage cowboys in entertainment memorabilia from the 1920s to present day. In addition to Autry’s life, the museum highlights many of the singing cowboys from the 1930s and 1940s.
Grady County Historical Museum
Located in the former Dixie Department Store building in Chickasha, the Grady County Historical Museum brings the past to life. Begin by browsing the exterior window displays showcasing period furniture and farming implements. When you walk through the front doors, you almost literally step back in time. You will see room vignettes displaying books, images, old telephones, period furniture, military regalia, musical instruments, an office setup, doctors’ instruments, dolls, plates and serving ware and much more. Make sure you look up to see a horse-drawn sleigh and carriage. Grab lunch from Alexander Eats located in the rear of the museum. Choose from salads, potatoes, sandwiches and drinks.
Greater Southwest Historical Museum
The Greater Southwest Historical Museum is situated within the Ardmore National Guard Armory, a historic building constructed in 1936 by the WPA. The museum showcases the fascinating history and culture of south-central Oklahoma, spanning from the mid-1800s First Americans to the present-day farmers, ranchers and townspeople. Its exhibits highlight pioneer life, oil and gas development, railroad and urban life and feature unique artifacts collected from the area's stores, offices, barns and homes, such as furniture, furnishings, fashions and equipment. In addition to the main exhibition, the museum also houses three historical wings, including the Military Memorial Museum.
Stephens County Historical Museum
Located in Duncan, the Stephens County Historical Museum has room vignettes filled with treasured antiques, photos, records, crafts, equipment and much more depicting pioneer life in Oklahoma. Don’t miss the First American heritage display featuring an original habitat setting and arrowhead collection.
This is only a small list of the many museums in Chickasaw Country. Visit our history and culture section to discover more opportunities to visit museums throughout south central Oklahoma. And make sure to tag us in your photos with #VisitChickasaw for a chance to be featured on our social channels!