Staff and friends of the J.M. Davis Arms and Historical Museum will celebrate the museum’s founder’s 125th birthday this month with a variety of events at the museum in downtown Claremore.
Event highlights will include a 10 a.m. Saturday, June 30 ceremony hosted by Oklahoma Sen. Sean Burrage of Claremore, the unveiling of a maquette statue of J.M. Davis created by Sandra Van Zant of Oologah, and the official debut of a new book about Davis’s life and collections.
Authors Wayne McCombs, Larry Larkin, and John Wooley will be on hand to autograph copies of J.M. Davis Arms and Historical Museum, the newest entry in the “Images of America” book series from Arcadia Publishing.
Several past museum commissioners, along with Tulsa Mayor Dewey Bartlett Jr., Ann McFerron of Ponca City, and Donna McSpadden of Chelsea, are expected to attend the event.
Bartlett’s father, Dewey Sr., was Oklahoma’s governor when the museum was dedicated in 1969.
McFerron is the daughter of Henry Bellmon, who was governor in 1965, the year legislation was passed to create the Davis Foundation, which led to the building of the museum. McSpadden is the widow of former Oklahoma senate pro tem president Clem McSpadden, who brokered the agreement between Davis and Bellmon that created the museum.
Members of the Route 66 Cruisers, a classic-car club, will also be on hand for the festivities.
John Monroe aka “J.M.” Davis was born June 27, 1887 in Union County, Ark. He was seven years old when his father gave him his first firearm — a .410 shotgun — which set the then-young Davis on his way to amassing the most famous arms collection in the world.
In 1916, he and his wife visited the Tulsa area, staying at Claremore’s Mason Hotel. Davis decided to purchase and operate the six-year-old building and, in 1929, he began displaying his growing collection of weaponry and Western artifacts in its lobby. Soon, the Mason Hotel had become one of the top tourist attractions on Highway 66, drawing visitors from all over the world.
The celebration, which includes complimentary birthday cake, is free and open to the public. In addition to copies of the J.M. Davis Arms and Historical Museum book, collectors’ coins struck with the “Davis 125th” logo will be available for purchase throughout the day.
The J.M. Davis 125th birthday reunion event is free and opened to the public.
The J.M. Davis Arms and Historical Museum is open Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday from 1-5 p.m.