By: Hallie Winter, Osage Nation Museum Curator
Pawhuska, OK—The Osage Nation Museum is happy to announce the award of a Charitable Grant from the Osage Nation Foundation. This grant will be used to fund the 1st Annual Creative Community Holiday Ornament Craft Workshop.
The ONM will host their first annual Creative Community Holiday Ornament Craft Workshop during the month of December. Starting on December 1st the ONM will have their Imagination Station set up with materials for visitors to make a holiday ornament. The Imagination Station is an engaging, interactive area in the museum’s exhibit gallery that is geared towards our youth visitors. However, visitors of all ages are welcome to participate. The ONM staff select activities that correlate with current exhibits and special programming to facilitate the hands on participation of visitors in a meaningful, creative and educational way. The activity for the month of December will be a simple paper cut out ornament with Osage designs. By using Osage themes and motifs this will help visitors learn about Osage culture while connecting with the Museum’s collection. Visitors can either take their ornament home or leave it with museum staff for inclusion on the ONM’s Holiday Tree.
Another station will be set up in the museum’s gallery that will tie into the Creative Community Holiday Ornament Craft Workshop. We ask visitors to add to our paper chain garland, using the theme: #weloveonm. We invite visitors to write down what they love about the ONM, these written comments will make up the paper chain garland that will decorate the ONM holiday tree.
On Saturday, December 10th the ONM will host a 6 hour pop in event, no registration required. The event will be held from 10:00am – 4:00pm. This will be open to the public and all ages are welcome. The ONM will be collaborating with Osage Artists, the Wah Zha Zhi Cultural Center and the ON Education STEAM department to produce unique, thoughtful and educational ornaments. We will have four craft stations set up, each with an Osage artist and teaching assistants to help visitors create one of a kind holiday ornaments. Each of the four stations will have a holiday ornament craft that is geared towards youth and easy to make.
The ONM will have two ornaments that visitors can make which tie into the Museum’s collection and mission statement. The Wah Zha Zhi Cultural Center and the ON Education STEAM program will also have tables set up with one ornament each for visitors to make. We will ask the patrons to leave their ornament at the museum when it is complete. Participants will also be able to leave their hand print for the ONM’s Holiday Tree Skirt. We will be procuring enough materials to produce 200 of each ornament.
On Friday, December 16th from 5:00-7:00pm the ONM will host the first annual Creative Community Holiday Tree Lighting. Visitors will be able to come and see our holiday tree that has been decorated with the ornaments produced throughout the month of December. Santa will be at the museum for a photo op.
Participants will be able to pick up their hand made ornaments the following week from the museum.
Hallie Winter, Curator at the Osage Nation Museum said, “The staff at the ONM would like to thank the Osage Nation Foundation Board for approving our grant application to create the1st Annual Creative Community Holiday Ornament Craft Workshop. This workshop will engage and enhance relations with our local community while providing a fun filled, ONM collections related activity. While the target audience for participation is the youth in our community this event is all-inclusive and we hope to connect with a multitude of individuals of all ages. This workshop and resulting event will not only engage the youth but their parents as well, leading to return visits and reinforcing the museum’s “brand” as a welcoming, engaging and educational resource for our community and tourists alike. We are happy to be collaborating with the Wah Zha Zhi Cultural Center and the ON Education Department on this endeavor. ”
About the Osage Nation Museum:
The premiere destination to experience Osage history, art, and culture
Visit the Osage Nation Museum (ONM) in historic Pawhuska, Oklahoma. Our continuously changing exhibits convey the story of the Osage people throughout history and celebrate Osage culture today. Highlights include an extensive photograph collection, historical artifacts, and traditional and contemporary art. Founded in 1938, the ONM is the oldest tribally owned museum in the United States.
Admission and parking is free.
819 Grandview Avenue Pawhuska, OK 74056
Press Release By: Green Country Marketing
Four years ago, Woolaroc decided that it was time to give Frank Phillips’ wonderful museum a nice touch up. That “touch up” turned into new state of the art lighting throughout the entire museum, new wall colors, new staging of the art, new exhibits and room by room by room from the Dome Room to downstairs in Gallery 9, this graceful national treasure was carefully updated. In the process, something really special became even better.
On November 23rd, the final piece of the puzzle will fall into place — Gallery 10, which use to house the Phil Phillips Colt Collection before it was relocated to Gallery 8, has been transformed into something very special. A guest touring Woolaroc will see one of the world’s finest collections of southwest art, Native American blankets, the famous Woolaroc airplane, the incredible gun collection and the reproduction of Uncle Frank’s New York City office….. your tour of this museum will conclude with a combination of nostalgia, fun and smiles.
As you enter Gallery 10, you will find a large scale, double-tracked miniature train exhibit that is complete with stores, shops, animals, lakes, tunnels and much more. Surrounding this train exhibit will be the wonderful doll collection of Woolaroc, staged and displayed along with a new series of old toys dating from as early as 1917. Along the walls you will see other unique exhibits from toy soldiers to wagon trains to a wall of old vintage Phillips 66 oil cars. “We are proud of the improvements that we have made over the last four years” said Woolaroc CEO Bob Fraser. “Many of these things have been made possible because of the great success and support from our annual Cow Thieves & Outlaws Reunion party and our semi-annual Best of the Best National Art Show….without them, the depth and scope of these improvements would not have been possible.”
Once again, the staff at Woolaroc has turned a concept and a dream into reality. Through the leadership of Museum Director Shiloh Thurman and the construction skills of Woolaroc carpenters Tim Sydebotham and Chris Buchanan, Woolaroc “magic” has happened once again. According to Thurman, “once we came up with the idea and got it approved in concept, we spent months researching the various sizes and types of trains we should have, how to maintain them, how to wire them, how to design the set and how to build the support structures around the set. We are very pleased with the final product and think that kids and adults will all love the new room…..while a bit different than the usual Woolaroc exhibit, it stays true to the mission of all that we do.”
“Planes, Trains, Automobiles and Dolls” is the perfect ending to a magical tour through this national treasure…..the employees of Woolaroc invite you to come see this newest addition.
Woolaroc is open Wednesday thru Sunday from 10 am to 5 pm and beginning November 25th, Wonderland of Lights will be open from 5-9 pm every Friday, Saturday and Sunday thru Friday, December 23rd.
By: Roseanne McKee
Curator Hallie Winter, who became the museum’s curator in May 2016, spoke to Pawhuska People about the updates she and Collections Manager, Callie Martin, are making at the Osage Nation Museum.
Describing her vision, Curator Hallie Winter said: “What we wanted to do was make the place more warm and inviting and feel like home. That had a lot to do with our color choices for the walls.
Some lighting and fire system improvements have also been made.
“We’re getting new LED track lighting; there is a new fire suppression system, not utilizing water; it doesn’t remove all the oxygen, so it’s still safe, less harmful to the art and a lot better than water,” Winter explained.
Display cases have gotten a facelift as well.
“We to wanted stay true to the original case that’s here so we played up that. We’ve redone a lot of our other display cases to match. They were covered in paint, so we’ve stripped them, and tried to match them the best we could. We also had some cases donated by the other museum in town, the Osage County Historical Society Museum.”
In the main gallery is what she described as a semi-permanent exhibit, which beautifully tells Osage history chronologically through artifacts, text and photos.
“It’s is a loose timeline of Osage history. The objects will change periodically for object safe-keeping and to give them a rest … and bring out new ones.
“We start with the origin story in this corner,” Winter said, pointing to the northeast corner of the main gallery.
A print of the mural showing Osages descending to earth and landing is part of the display. The original mural is located at the Osage Congress, located just south of the museum.
“If guests want to see the full-sized mural, they can go next door to the [Osage Congress] Chambers to see it.”
Maps are an important part of telling the Osage history story.
“Then we move to our ancestor lands in pre-history. This shows our migration patterns,” Winter said.
Winter pointed out the time period from 500 to 900 A.D.
“Those are different routes we took and then you can see as it goes down after 1350, when we were in the Missouri River Valley; then we started moving out. The Osage Historic Preservation Department has been working really hard on this. The information for these maps comes from them. They keep adding to it as they are making more discoveries,” Winter explained.
The orange portion of one of the maps shows Osage ancestral territory. The map shows as far east as Pennsylvania and north into Illinois.
The displays also feature artifacts or objects and tools the Osage would have used, Winter said, — “flutes, pipes and also some of the stones for grinding corn and grain for food preparation and before leather how they made pouches.”
When the display describes contact with Westerners, artifacts that resulted from trade are featured.
“We tell the story of when the explorers first came into contact with the Osage and what happened as a result of that, which is trade; so we have trade tokens, early trade beads and metal products. We have a photo of one of the first trading stores in Osage County in Fairfax.
Museum guests are encouraged to share what they know about photos and displayed items, Winter added.
“We are still fine tuning the information. People come in, they may know information and that’s been really helpful,” Winter said.
One case showcases Osage art and traditional forms of artwork.
“We have a little bit of everything: ribbon work, finger weaving, moccasins, designs on old parfleches.” Parfleches are bags made of different materials, such as bison hide, Winter explained.
There is a display case devoted to describing what Osages did with the wealth derived from the Osage oil and gas estate. International travel became an Osage leisure pastime.
Next, was a display describing Osage treaties.
“When we were doing treaties, we would pass the pipe. When we travelled to Washington D.C., we’d dress in our finest,” Winter explained. “In a lot of the treaties, the government was supposed to give us tools for farming as a condition,” Winter said.
The government display case “tells a little about the Osage government and how it’s evolved over the past few hundred years,” Winter said.
Part II of the Winter Interview Coming Soon!
PAWHUSKA, Okla. (Tuesday, November 8, 2016) – The oldest living relative of a WWI Osage Code Talker will receive a proclamation and a silver medal recognizing her grandfather’s wartime contributions, at this year’s Veterans Day Dance in Pawhuska, Okla., on Friday, November 11. The special recognition has been made possible by diligent efforts by the Osage Nation Office of the Chiefs to finally recognize the historic contributions of Osage Code Talkers.
Augustus Chouteau was confirmed as a WWI Osage Code Talker by the Department of Defense. To mark this fact, the United States Mint created a sold silver duplicate Osage Code Talker medal to be presented to the Chouteau family. Osage Nation Principal Chief Geoffrey Standing Bear will read the proclamation and present the medal to Chouteau’s granddaughter, Francis Chouteau Jones, at 2 p.m.
“My grandmother told me that those boys [Osage enlisted] spoke to each other over there in the native language so no one could understand them. It was one of the few things I knew about my grandfather and I made sure to tell all my daughters,” said Francis Chouteau Jones. When asked how she felt about this Department of Defense certifying her grandfather as a Code Talker she said “I was so very proud, it was something that we knew all along.”
The timing for the events leading up to this occasion perfectly coincides with the traditional honoring of Osage veterans that takes place every year at the Post Legion 198 Veterans Day Dance. The Hominy War Mothers are hosting the dance this year and are providing a program with a list of Osage family songs and the day’s agenda.
It is a long-standing Osage tradition for the families of Osage veterans to donate beautifully decorated Veterans Day cakes with the name of their family member written on the cake. These cakes will be available for everyone attending to enjoy along with a traditional Osage meal at 5p.m.
The dance will begin at 11 a.m. by raising the flag at the WahZhaZhi Cultural Center at 1449 West Main Street in Pawhuska. The afternoon program begins at 1 p.m., supper break is at 5 p.m., and the evening’s dance program begins at 7 p.m
Press Release by Hallie Winter, Osage Nation Museum Curator
Pawhuska, OK—The Osage Nation Museum is proud to announce the 2nd Annual Mobile Museum. In honor of Native American Heritage month the Osage Nation Museum has a traveling exhibit of items from our permanent collection displayed in the Osage Nation Child Care’s Resource on Wheels van. Last year the Mobile Museum made stops at the public libraries in Osage County. This year the Mobile Museum will again travel throughout Osage County to offer a glimpse of what our museum has to offer to students in grades K-12. Since the mobile museum is being made part of the school day curriculum, these events are not open to the general public.
Working closely with the Osage Nation’s Education Department, the ONM staff utilized the school advocates to set up a schedule to travel to each school in Osage County. A part of the ONM’s mission is to create “educational programs that nurture creativity and encourage active learning.” The Mobile Museum is one such program that the ONM is excited to be continuing for its second year.
Hallie Winter, Curator at the Osage Nation Museum said, “Education of the public about Osage history and culture is very important to us here at the ONM. What better place to start than with the youth in our community. By traveling to the Osage county schools the ONM is able to reach a large audience of children in grades K-12. It is our hope that they will learn about the Osage Nation during their visit to the Mobile Museum and in doing so will tell their parents about it and we will begin to see more families come into the ONM in Pawhuska. We have chosen Native American Heritage month to accompany the curriculum and other Native American Heritage events that the schools may have planned. This is an important month for Native culture and we are proud to do our part.”
Among those in attendance were sons of the artist: John, Mark and Matt Free, the artist’s sister, Delores Theis, her husband, Raymond Theis, and their son, Chris Theis.
“Dad was born in Pawhuska in Osage County. His grandmother was a full-blood Osage. He was very proud of that heritage and that part of his life.
“Probably the most important thing that happened to him was that he grew up on his grandfather’s ranch. That boyhood growing up on the ranch, of course he didn’t know at the time, would be the focus of his whole life from then on. He learned about horses and being a cowboy and about cows. He learned from his grandfather about being an old rancher was at that time. That was so special to him … and a tremendous influence and it shaped his art career probably in a way no one ever imagined.
“He was always drawing and modeling as a little boy. He was always drawing horses, and cow and cowboys; he said he did this for as long as he could remember.
“Early in his career he’d go to small shows in this area.”
Free shared that at these shows, his father encountered artists who encouraged him to believe that his career could grow.
“You’ve got to remember back in the late 50’s, early 60’s, he was making a living from the art business.
“The most important thing that happened at that time – he did a one-man show at the Gilcrease Museum and a man named Thomas Lewis approached him and asked if he would be in his gallery at Taos, New Mexico.
“Lewis was a great artist and a great gallery man and he took dad under his wing. He taught him about painting. And the most important thing he did was to give him clay and said see what you can do with this. Dad returned with one of the first sculptures that was cast into bronze. It was a cowboy, I think, roping a wolf. Thomas Lewis sold that piece and that was the beginning of a relationship between a gallery owner and an artist. And from then on dad’s career grew.
“He was in galleries in New York City, Carmel, California, all throughout the Southwest. He stayed busy doing things that he never dreamed that he could stay busy at and make a living.
“He was named a member of the National Academy of Western Art at the Cowboy Hall of Fame, the Cowboy Artists of America, and also the Free West, which was the old Academy of Western Art. He was always proud that he was a member of these organizations.
“At this time, he was travelling a lot. The art business allowed him to do something else he was happy to do and that was to fly. He was able to buy a plane and fly to these places. That was something he’d always wanted to do and this allowed him to do that.
He was a pilot and his son, John Free flew with him and loved it too, he said. “He flew a 175 all across the United States,” John Free said.
“In 1980 he partnered with his brother-in-law, Ed Bivens, and they opened the Bronze Horse Art Gallery, which is still operating today [in Pawhuska]. Our family has worked for more than 100 artists and we produce thousands of sculptures that have gone all the way across the United States and around the world. He was always proud of that – that through these endeavors he was able to open a foundry and see a lot of artists’ careers start from that foundry and grow. We’ve been doing it for over 30 years. It’s hard to believe.
“Dad said he was always fortunate to make a living doing something he loved so much. And if he didn’t do it making a living, it would be his hobby.
“When asked about his favorite piece, he’d say, ‘the one that just sold and went out the door.’
“He said he looked forward to being able to continue to press his ideas, impressions and beliefs through the language of sculpting and painting in a simple and traditional manner.
“He always did a lot of research and he read a lot, which gave him ideas for pieces. And he also liked telling the stories to his grandkids about things he learned about.
“And probably last, but not least, the greatest influence in his art career was probably his wife, Rhema, without her, he probably would not have had a career. As an artist, taking care of business is not what you do. And mom was his partner, accountant, bookkeeper, scheduler, travel agent, the buffer between him and the rest of the world. And she did it very well.
“He’d have been very humbled by this tribute, and the people that appreciate his work, so on behalf of the family — thank you very much.”
“My uncle John, you may have known him as John D. Free, Western artist, but I just knew him as Uncle John and he was my hero and still is today. Uncle John was an influencer. When you around, when you look at these pieces and you look around at yourself and these pieces, you see influence. You see somebody that really was a time machine in a man because he takes you to a place you’ve never been before. He takes you to a place America was.
In his sculptures, “He had a gift from God to put action and motion within stillness.”
Chris Theis spoke of his uncle’s encouragement to be creative by giving him molding clay when he was a child. Although he did not take up sculpting, Theis found his place as the Creative Director for T.D. Jakes Ministries.
“It’s also generational because my son is a graphic artist [for Fox Sports] and a lot of what I do is directing other artists…The show I direct is called ‘The Potters Touch’ and currently we’re redesigning the graphics package,” Theis said. “I’m very glad to be a small part of his legacy and as I said, he’s always been my hero.”
During the reception, a friends of the artist, August and wife, Ginny Hague, shared that there would be a knock at his back door and John Free would open the screen door and hand Ginny Hague, a scroll and say ‘here’s something for you.’
“Ginny would just unroll it and it would be a pencil sketch. He gave us more than one, but this one was special because he wrote on it, ‘To a Special Friend,’” August Hague said.
August and Ginny Hague recalled a special week they had spent with the artist and other friends when a group of them brought their campers to Pine Bluff to do some work on a church together.
“We had a real good time. John and I built a cross and he even made the nails,” August Hague said.
Ginny Hague said she videotaped the raising of the cross and many tears were shed as the group sang ‘The Old Rugged Cross.’
“We came back home and we all said ‘we need to do that again,’ but we never did. It’s sad, but we never did,” August Hague said wistfully.
The John D. Free Tribute at Woolaroc Museum continues through Dec. 31. The exhibit, includes some sculptures for purchase.
Woolaroc Museum may be reached by phone at: 918-336-0307. Directions are part of the telephonic recording. Woolaroc’s winter hours are: Wed. – Sun. 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Woolaroc is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays. Visit their website at: http://www.woolaroc.org/ to learn more!
See Photo Gallery at end of this article!
By: Roseanne McKee
The Pioneer Woman’s Mercantile officially opened at 6 a.m. Oct. 31 in Pawhuska at the corner of Main and Kihekah. The staff, a group of volunteers and Ree and Ladd Drummond were there to welcome guests as the Food Network film crew filmed for an upcoming episode of The Pioneer Woman’s cooking show.
The Deli, located on the first floor, has several dining choices. Guests may be seated and order from wait staff at their table. Next to the deli entrance, an open cold case holds bottled sodas and juices.
There is a coffee bar where guest can walk up and order from trained baristas serving the Pioneer Woman’s special blend of Topeca brand coffee. Deli guests may also order ala carte food displayed in long glass cases, where the staff waits to fill their serving trays with the items of their choice. Behind the coffee bar is a wooden wall with a carved floral pattern. Above the wall is the original brick from the building featuring a biscuit company advertisement, which the Drummonds wanted to keep to add to the vintage-themed décor of the Mercantile.
During the morning, the case hold: sticky buns, muffins, scones, fruit salad, steel-cut oatmeal with bacon and other toppings, burritos and a parfait bar of yogurt and toppings. Behind this counter are containers of iced tea and lemonade.
The breakfast menu includes: pancakes, biscuits and gravy, the cattlemen’s breakfast, and steak and eggs.
The lunch/supper menu features comfort food favorites, such as chicken-fried steak and mashed potatoes and gravy. Sandwiches, salads and soups are also available.
Head barista, Caleb Smith, explained some of the special coffees they serve.
“The cowboy is a mix of our dark roast coffee, our Pioneer Woman blend and milk. The spicy cowgirl is a cold drink; it’s a cold brew with lightly whipped cream and topped with cayenne,” Smith said. “The seasonal flavored [coffee] we have right now is a pumpkin butternut.”
The milk used in the coffees is organic and sourced from a dairy near Tulsa called Lomah.
At Lomah, “the cows are milked one day and delivered the next,” Smith said. Soy and almond milk are also available.
According to the Topeca Coffee Roasters website, Topeca brand coffee is “seed-to-cup”, which means the company doesn’t just purchase coffee directly from farms, they own the farms.
The Mercantile on the south takes up the south side of the first floor and features items with a farmhouse/rustic/vintage flair. There is a display with beautifully-wrapped soaps and bath items, a corner with toys and kitchen sets for kids, a table with items for men, lots of dishes, tee shirts, a gift wrap area and the Pioneer Woman’s branch of clothing/jeans and cookware.
Laurie Martin, the representative from the Park Hill Collection, based in Arkansas, who was volunteering for the opening day, said that about 50 percent of the items on the sales floor were from Park Hill, which features items which she described as “kind of a throwback to yesteryear.”
“She wanted it to feel more like home than a gift shop,” Martin explained.
One special item is a custom leather bag, designed by the Pioneer Woman, made by a women’s prison work program for in Georgia. All proceeds from the sale of the bags go toward building playgrounds in Africa, a Mercantile Associate Debbie Long said.
On the shop side of the Mercantile, near the gift wrap area, a cowboy read one of Ree Drummond’s children’s books to a group of children seated on the wooden floor as the Food Network crew filmed.
Another Food Network crew member filmed Ree Drummond greeting guests and signing her cookbooks for fans.
The north side of the second floor holds offices and a conference room, which are closed to the public.
Large white-tiled public restrooms with ample room for guests are located on the second floor.
The south side of the second-floor bakery seating area is decorated with tables, chairs, sofas and coffee tables. The large windows let in lots of natural light. The bakery kitchen and counter are located on the second floor. The kitchen is behind large glass windows, so that guests can see the bakers at work. The bakery offerings include: pastries, muffins, brownies, lemon square and scones.
Coffee is also available and the bakery also sells gourmet chocolates and a variety of candies displayed in large glass jars.
On the walls throughout the Mercantile store and Bakery are black and white photos of Ree Drummond’s four children on the ranch.
Outside the Mercantile, Kihekah Ave. was blocked off from Main Street to the next block and a policeman was posted at the crosswalk on Main Street to assist pedestrians. Along the street, pumpkins were piled around street lights.
In front of the Mercantile shop column were hay bales, mums, pumpkins alongside wooden planters of decorative tallgrass. The door to the shop was open for guests who wanted to get straight to the shopping floor. On the Kihekah side of the Mercantile were brass stands with red velvet ropes to guide guests through the line to the Deli door. Deli Manager, Kurtess Mortensen, was one of those greeting guests at the deli door.
Mercantile buyer, Hyacinth Kane has described Mortensen, as “really at the top of his game in the chef world in Las Vegas. He has opened a number of celebrity restaurants. His gift is really meeting someone, and taking their ideas and conceptualizing it and putting the processes into being that really executes their vision. He’s done that for Guy Fieri and Giada, some of those Food Network people who have their flagship restaurants in Las Vegas.”
Mid-morning, Ree Drummond and Hyacinth Kane took time out to be interviewed in front of the Mercantile by a reporter from Channel Eight News in Tulsa.
Kane spoke for Drummond, who had partially lost her voice. Kane said that Pawhuska had always had much to offer, great, warm people, the architecture, the Osage Nation, Tallgrass Prairie Preserve, cowboys, ranch land, but now that the Mercantile was open “the match has been lit” for Pawhuska.
In an effort to save her voice, Drummond smiled and said, “ditto! Then added, “we’re just thrilled. I can’t explain it any other way. We don’t know what the Mercantile will do or what adventure is ahead, but we’re ready no matter what.”
Kane then interjected, “like the birth of her fifth child.”
Drummond responded, “fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth child!”
The Mercantile will be open 6 a.m. – 6 p.m. Mon. – Thurs. and 6 a.m. – 7 p.m. on Fri. and Sat, and closed on Sundays.
Signage across Main Street from the Mercantile designates the lot for guest of the Mercantile only. Additional free public parking is available behind the First National Bank Building on Main Street and a block northeast of the Mercantile.
Here is a photo gallery of the Mercantile’s Opening Day!