Oklahoma WONDERtorium is a children's museum that includes interactive exhibits about a variety of subjects, including Japanese culture, engineering and the laws of gravity, and visual art.
Backstory and Context
An exhibit titled Generation Station allows visitors to explore and understand what life was life for people living in Oklahoma during the early twentieth century, around the time that Oklahoma was incorporated as a state. Visitors are able to experience a simulated cow milking and weave on a loom. This part of the museum also includes the Generation Station Store, which allows visitors to shop through an old general store stocked with goods similar to what would have been needed by people in the area at the time.
The Generation Station section of the museum helps visitors understand the frontier origins of the state. Oklahoma became a state in 1907, but was added to the land making up the United States in 1803, when the nation acquired the Louisiana Purchase, of which present-day Oklahoma was a part. Originally, the land was known as Indian Territory because when the government began pushing Native Americans out of their native lands, they were relocated to present-day Oklahoma, which was known at the time as Indian Territory. By 1900, over 30 Native American tribes inhabited the area.
At the same time the government was moving Native Americans to the area, ranchers from Texas began moving to the territory in search of new land. In 1889, the US government opened a section of the area to white settlers, causing a “land rush.” On April 22, the first day the government opened the area, some 50-60,000 hopeful settlers lined up outside of Fort Reno on the Western border in hopes of building their new hopes on cheap, unsettled land. Eventually, most of what had formally been Indian Territory was taken by white settlers.
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