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Oklahoma Historical Society
Great Seal of Oklahoma
Agency overview
Formed May, 1893
Headquarters 2401 N Laird
Oklahoma City
Employees 156 classified
12 unclassified
Annual budget $20 million
Minister responsible Natalie Shirley, Secretary of Commerce and Tourism
Agency executive Bob L. Blackburn, Ph.D., Executive Director
Oklahoma Historical Society

The Oklahoma Historical Society (OHS) is an agency of the government of Oklahoma dedicated to promotion and preservation of Oklahoma's history and its people by collecting, interpreting, and disseminating knowledge and artifacts of Oklahoma.

The Society is governed by a 25-member Board of Directors. Thirteen of those members are elected by the members of the Society and twelve are appointed by the Governor of Oklahoma, with the approval of the Oklahoma Senate. All member serve three year terms. The Governor also serves as an ex officio member of the Board. The Board is responsible for appointing an Executive Director of the Society, who serves concurrently as the State Historic Preservation Officer. The current Executive Director is Dr. Bob L. Blackburn, Ph.D..


History and Functions

OHS was formed in May 1893, 14 years before Oklahoma became a state, by the Oklahoma Territorial Press Association. The initial function of OHS was to collect and distribute newspapers published in Oklahoma Territory. The Society was declared an agency of the territorial government in 1895, and it became an official state government agency when Oklahoma reached statehood in 1907. OHS is both a private, membership organization and an Oklahoma government agency. The OHS Board of Directors is made up of 25 members, 12 of whom are appointed by the governor and 13 elected by OHS members to three-year terms.[1]

OHS today works statewide and nationally to preserve and nurture Oklahoma's history. The Society operates the Oklahoma History Center, the state's museum located in Oklahoma City. The History Center occupies 215,000ft² (19,974m²) and contains more than 2,000 artifacts and dozens of hands-on audio, video, and computer topics and activities. The History Center also houses the OHS Research Division, a large research database of genealogical material, historical documents, and publications. Many of the OHC's documents and materials are available online at little or no charge.

The Oklahoma State Historic Preservation Office, also operated by the Society, carries out federal preservation programs in Oklahoma under the National Historic Preservation Act, to preserve Oklahoma's significant buildings, parks, objects, and sites. Projects are carried out in partnership with the Department of the Interior and the National Park Service, as well as other state and local governments, groups, and interested people.

OHS has published Chronicles of Oklahoma, the Society's scholarly journal, since 1921 and continues to issue four editions per year. The Society's monthly newsletter, Mistletoe Leaves, includes information about OHS activities and historical happenings throughout Oklahoma. Both publications and other historical works are available by subscription or per issue.

The Society is a Smithsonian Institution affiliate. A gift shop is available online or at the History Center, and annual membership can be purchased for individuals, families, and institutions.

In May 2009 the Society announced plans to build a second museum, to be called Oklahoma Pop and located in Tulsa's Brady District. It is planned as the state museum of popular culture, including music, television, film and the performing arts.[2]


The Oklahoma Historical Society is under the supervision of the Secretary of Commerce and Tourism. Under Governor of Oklahoma Brad Henry, Natalie Shirley is serving as the Secretary.


Board of Directors

The Board of Directors of OHS is composed of twenty-five members. Thirteen of those members are elected by the members of the Society and tweleve are appointed by the Governor of Oklahoma, with the approval of the Oklahoma Senate. All member serve three year terms and are appointed or elected by congressional district to help ensure statewide representation. The Govenror serves as an ex officio member of the Board.

As of 2009, the Board of Director is composed of the following:

  • Jack D. Baker - Oklahoma City
  • Rex M. Ball - Tulsa
  • Mary Brett, Tulsa
  • Roger Bromert, Weatherford1
  • William Corbett, Tahlequah1
  • Betty K. Crow, Altus
  • Thalia Eddleman, Oklahoma City1
  • Deena Fisher, Woodward
  • Billie S. Fogarty, Oklahoma City
  • Denzil D. Garrison, Bartlesville1
  • Jack D. Haley, Roosevelt
  • Robert Klemme, Enid
  • Marvin E. Kroeker, Ada1
  • Daniel W. Lawrence, Norman1
  • Leonard Logan, Vinita1
  • Guy W. Logsdon, Tulsa
  • John M. Mabrey, Bixby1
  • Samonia Meredith, Oklahoma City
  • Shirley Ann Nero, Warner1
  • Ken Rainbolt, Durant1
  • Emmy Scott Stidham, Checotah
  • Lewis Stiles, Broken Bow
  • Barbara Thompson, Oklahoma City
  • Jan Vassar, Chandler1
  • James R. Waldo, Oklahoma City1

1 indicates members appointed by the Governor


  1. ^ "Historical Society, Oklahoma Board" (PDF). Oklahoma State Government Online. Oklahoma Department of Libraries. 2007. Retrieved 2007-05-23.  
  2. ^ Randy Krehbiel, "New Tulsa museum announced by Oklahoma Historical Society", Tulsa World, May 19, 2009.

External links


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