Nine months of renovations are nearing completion for the Osage County Historical Society Museum.
The facelift and expansion project came as a direct result of a fire that struck the museum earlier this year. On the early morning of Jan. 9, the blaze broke out near electrical breakers inside a 15-feet square storage area located in the central part of the building.
Museum patrons from Pawhuska and Osage County quickly undertook the tedious efforts of restoring the facility, which is a former train depot. Through their resilience, the museum — considered a jewel of the Osage — will soon re-open to the public.
(The photo on page A2 reflects just a portion of the man hours and combined talent that have worked virtually nonstop to resurrect the Osage Historical Society Museum.)
Visitors will be welcomed by a stunning new entrance, complete with a colorful awning.
“We selected this awning because it reminds us of Pendleton blankets which are so important to the Osage people,” said Museum Curator Barbara Pease.
“Similar awnings will be installed over the south intake ramp and the east courtyard that was created as a result of the new addition,” Pease added.
OCHS President Jack Shoemate said officials were granted access to the museum last Thursday night.
“Terry Loftis officially handed over the key to the museum at our September meeting,” Shoemate said. “His company, J&L Associates, is working on finishing details for the work room and library of the new addition.”
Shoemate anticipates these projects will be completed by mid-week.
Plans are also being formulated to begin moving some items into the renovated structure with completion targeted by the end of this year.
The museum president also noted he has received numerous inquiries about touring the renovated facility. With construction nearing completion, visits are expected to be scheduled soon, he said.
“The OCHS Directors would like to host an open house so the public can see first-hand the breathtaking work performed by J&L Associates,” said Shoemate.
While a date has not yet been confirmed, Shoemate anticipates the preview will be within the next few weeks and definitely before artifacts are reintroduced to the Museum.
In the meantime, the Osage Nation is providing temporary housing for the Museum’s Gift Shop and office at the former Pawhuska Pawn Shop located about a block south of the Museum grounds, at the stop light.
Read the Journal Capital for future updates.