The Osage County Historical Society Museum, also referred to as the Depot Museum, has undergone some remarkable updates since the Jan. 9 early morning fire that closed its doors.

With the contents safely in storage, workers have virtually gutted the former Santa Fe Railroad Depot’s interior. The damaged roof is currently being repaired along with numerous interior updates. A building committee is overseeing the renovations which will include a much-needed 1,920 sq. ft. addition. This addition will match the integrity of the original structure and will provide a work area and archival storage.

This past week restrooms were framed out on the west side of the building. Workers were able to utilize an area where original plumbing existed. Pouring of the concrete for the new addition has been delayed because of the recent rains but is targeted for the later part of this week. Removing the interior walls has created an openness that will showcase the museum’s outstanding collections. Except for the Native American Moncravie room, the museum’s exhibit space will parallel those found in neighboring Woolaroc and Gilcrease.

Eddie Red Eagle, Jr. announced the Osage Nation is donating 12-15 museum-quality display cases. The wooden cases were used for Lewis & Clark exhibit held several years ago in St. Louis, Mo.

"The Tribe’s generosity will replace antiquated duct-taped cases we have previously been using," said Museum Manager Barbara Pease. "In addition, they will allow us to more creatively display our collections."

OCHS President Jack Shoemate said, "A visual tour of many never-before-seen photos will be shown during the museum’s May 4th annual meeting. This presentation will include interior shots of the museum after the fire and chronologically follow recovery efforts. In addition, our guests will get a glimpse of what lies ahead for the museum."

In the meantime, a temporary museum annex has been set up at the stop light in the former pawn shop.

"The Depot Gift Shop is brimming with an amazing assortment of books at bargain basement prices," said Pease. "We also have hand-made jewelry, Pendleton products and souvenirs. New items are arriving daily."

The Depot Gift Shop is open Tuesday-Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Tickets for the May 4 dinner will be $20 which will include a steak dinner prepared by Bruce Hendren and served by the Pawhuska Boy Scouts and Wah-Shah-She Masonic Lodge. A live and silent auction will be held. The theme for the May 4th dinner is "As the Phoenix rises from the ashes, the OCHS Museum rises from the fire."

For more information, please contact Barbara Pease at 918-287-9119.