Museum expands children’s book section

Kathryn Swan J-C correspondent
The Osage County Historical Society Museum recently dedicated an entire section to a vast and growing collection of educational and adventurous children’s books. Kathryn Swan/J-C correspondent

Since its inception in the mid-1960s, the Osage County Historical Society’s gift shop has carried a small collection of children’s books. Most recently, the Museum dedicated an entire section to a vast and growing collection of educational and adventurous children’s books. OCHS spokesman Garrett Hartness extended an invitation for the community and visitors to check out this new addition to the Museum.

“Books are a way for children to escape,” said Hartness. “Our children’s display includes a great variety. For the younger set, we have assorted coloring books, books for boys and books for girls – anywhere from ages 4 to 12. We have lots of different titles of great old stories, including Disney stories.”

With Osage County’s rich ballet history, the Museum also carries ballerina books in both the adult and children’s sections. During the 1940s-1960s, legendary Marie Tall Chief was considered America’s first major prima ballerina and the first Native American to hold the rank. Tall Chief, an Osage Indian, hailed from Fairfax.

Carrying on the tradition of art in the Osage through dance are Randy Tinker Smith and daughter Jenna Rae Smith who started the Dance Maker Performing Arts Academy in Pawhuska three years ago. The Smiths created and continue to be heavily involved with the Wahzhazhe Ballet. Debuting in 2012, this beautifully choreographed saga tells the history of the Osage people through dance. Randy Smith said, “In early December, Dance Maker will bring the ‘Nutcracker’ to Pawhuska. We have a lot of work ahead of us and need all the help we can get since this production calls for 110 costumes!”

In addition to the Museum’s extensive bookstore, Hartness said people from all over the world contact and personally visit the Museum for research material on Osage County. “I believe the Historical Society Museum possibly has the largest selection of books on the Osage Nation currently available anywhere.

“We receive calls almost daily from folks wanting rare, out-of-print books. I had one lady call me from Iowa, requesting a specific book. She could probably find it on line but, since she has visited the Museum, she wanted the book to come from us. It’s a win-win situation as book sales provide added revenue for the Museum’s operations.”

Since late 2014, the Osage County Historical Society Museum has been staffed by volunteers who oversee the daily operations, serve as greeters, maintenance, etc. Revenue is generated through gift shop (and book) sales, donations and memberships.

To learn more about the Osage County Historical Society Museum, visit their Facebook site at https://www.facebook.com/The-Osage-County-Historical-Society-Museum or call 918-287-9119. The Museum is located in Pawhuska, Oklahoma, in the historical Santa Fe Depot at 700 Lynn Avenue and is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.