LeFlore County Museum; keeping history alive

Artifacts of the past have found a new home with the opening of the LeFlore County Museum located on Dewey Street in Poteau. The museum is located in the Hotel Lowrey building, which itself is a historical marker in Poteau. The museum opened its first exhibit on Veterans Day by displaying war memorabilia from several decades in the Lowrey lobby. On the second floor, the history of the Hotel Lowrey will be told, along with the history of hotels in LeFlore County. Room 110, the historical ghost room, has been preserved. It tells the story of the specters that are said to haunt the hotel. A general history room includes a “story room,” in which visitors who have a story to tell can do so. Their account will be recorded and archived as a part of local history. The third floor of the museum will be filled with relics from the 1800s to present day. Six rooms will be home to artifacts designated by the era of their creation. Visitors also will be able to visit rooms designed around specific cultures, such as the Native American, pioneer and Viking rooms. Additional war artifacts also can be seen on the third floor in the World War II/Korean/Vietnam room and the early military/World War I and Civil War room. Industrial history and media history also will be displayed, along with several other smaller displays lining hallways.The move to the museum began after the merger with the Eastern Oklahoma Historical Society and the LeFlore County Historical Society. With the merger complete, plans were made to move several artifacts that had previously been housed at the Kerr Museum and Conference Center. The Senator Robert S. Kerr displays remained at the Kerr Center, which still can be viewed by the public. Members of the LeFlore County Historical Society spent several weeks making an inventory of the artifacts, getting ready for the move. The inventory project, headed by Bob Lowrey, was completed over the summer and the move was scheduled. In February, members of the LeFlore County Historical Society and volunteers began moving artifacts from the Kerr Museum to the former hotel. The LeFlore County Museum has been readied for its new occupants over the past months. Rooms have been organized and arranged by date and relevance, while electrical and HV/AC maintenance completed. The museum is open Tuesday through Thursday from 8 a.m. until 3 p.m. Visitors will be able to view displays on the first and second floors while organizers continue preparation of the third floor.