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June 19, 2014

Claremore Historical Society makes progress on museum


The Claremore Historical Society has been working for three years to renovate the Will Rogers Library into a museum for Claremore artifacts. 
This summer, the Lynn Riggs exhibit is open to the public from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. every Saturday. 
In Oklahoma, Lynn Riggs spent three years at the University of Oklahoma, but then he thought he contracted tuberculosis and moved to New Mexico for his health, There he authored, Green Grow the Lilacs, which became one the world’s greatest musicals Oklahoma. 
“The Surrey with the fringe on top,” the carriage used in the famous musical, is featured in the exhibit. Items such as the dress worn by the character Laurey Williams, items Riggs owned during his college days and plays that he had written are all on display.
Riggs also wrote plays in his lifetime such as: Roadside, Lilacs, Russet Mantle and the Cherokee Night. 
Printed versions of The Cherokee Night and Green Grow the Lilacs can be viewed at the museum. 
Judy’s Cadets Grill exhibit will open up in August. Its purpose is to honor Judy Smith Eagleton and her parents. The diner was a popular place in its day when Rogers State University was still a military academy. The exhibit has windows with pictures of Claremore in its earlier years behind them. 
“It is a work in progress, but we are really excited about what we are doing here,” said Barbara Poole, a tour guide of the museum. 
As the funds become available they will be building several exhibits. One exhibit will feature Claremore artifacts and history, and another exhibit will focus on Claremore High School and the notable achievements of graduates. One exhibit will talk about the Native Americans that lived in the area first the Osage and then the Cherokees after the trail of tears.  There will also be an exhibit designed to resemble the Yale Theater. Inside the exhibit. visitors can watch informational videos about Claremore and its history. One video is five minutes and is an interview with Oklahoma Governor George Patterson, who made “Oklahoma” the official state song in 1953.  
The goal of the museum is to have exhibits people will recognize. 
 “What we plan to do is educate people about Claremore, how it came to be and who started it,” Poole said.
There will be another fundraiser in the fall which will go towards the construction of the future exhibits.

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