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Updated Tuesday, February 09, 2010 2:45 PM

Smithsonian exhibit opens in Durant

DURANT, Okla. -- The Durant Main Street program and the Three Valley Museum are hosting a special Smithsonian "Journey Stories" exhibit now through Feb. 19.

Durant was chosen by the Oklahoma Humanities Council as one of six Oklahoma cities to host the exhibit as part of the Museum on Main Street Project. The project is a unique collaboration between the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES), state humanities councils across the nation, and local host institutions.

The exhibit is at the Three Valley Museum, 401 W. Main, and hours are 9 a.m. until 5 p.m .Monday through Saturday. Individuals may view the exhibition at any time with no advance notice, but groups are asked to call 580-920-1907 for reservations. There is only a limited availability left for school field trip scheduling.

Local programming in the exhibit features history specific to the area, as well as touches to take visitors through experiences of the past.

Throughout the exhibit, special speakers will be featured at The Upper Crust, located behind the museum, as well as at other downtown locations. The schedule of speakers, times, location and topics is as follows: Feb. 9, Dennis Miles, Three Valleys Overview; Feb. 10, Dottis Davis, children's story-twlling, 10 a.m., Robert L. Williams Library; Feb. 11, Dr. David Norris, The History of Southeastern, 5:30 p.m., Southeastern Oklahoma State University library; Feb. 11, Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, Red Dirt, Growing Up Okie, 7 p.m., Robert L. Williams Library; Feb. 13, Janie Sample Umstead and Neal Taylor, artwork, 10 a.m., Upper Crust; Feb. 13, Larry Marcy, history of Fort Washita, noon, Upper Crust; Feb. 13, Dr. Bill Corbett, Journey Stories scholar, 1 p.m., Upper Crust; Feb. 13, Dennis Miles, history of railroads, 2 p.m., Upper Crust; and Feb. 13, Dan Moore, aviation, 3 p.m., Eaker Field; Feb. 16, Sharon Morrison, Journey of the Magnolias; and Feb. 18, Chris Lynch, the building of Lake Texoma.

In conjunction with the Journey Stories exhibit, a special art exhibit will be hosted by members of the Texoma Arts Association at the First Texoma National Bank. Students from Calera, Silo, Colbert, and Durant have contributed to additional displays at various local banks. Durant Main Street's Design Committee is putting together a pictorial history of downtown Durant that will be presented in various businesses in the downtown district.

Journey Stories is an exhibit fabricated by the Smithsonian Institution that examines the human drive for freedom. The story is diverse and focuses on immigrants coming in search of promise in a new country; stories of individuals and families relocating in search of fortune, their own homestead, or employment; the harrowing journeys of Africans and Native Americans forced to move; and, of course, fun and frolic on the open road. The exhibit uses images with audio and artifacts to tell the individual stories that illustrate the critical roles travel and movement have played in building the diverse American society. Communities are encouraged to tell their own special journey story through exhibits and other public programming thus customizing the national theme to Oklahoma's unique history.

Durant Main Street Program Manager Donna Dow is excited about the exhibit. "The Three Valley Museum is a tremendous asset for our downtown, and we are pleased to be working with the Durant Historical Society to host this event ... We have a great group that has been meeting regularly for several months to maximize this experience. We look forward to hosting visitors from throughout Oklahoma and North Texas to see and hear Journey Stories and the local history the committee has put together."

Plans include capturing stories of citizens related to local history. For those with information on people willing to share an oral history, please contact the museum or Main Street office. Forms will also be available at the Durant Main Street website for families wishing to record special details remembered for their own use or for sharing with the public.

This program is funded in part by the Oklahoma Humanities Council (OHC) and the We the People initiative of the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). Any views, finding, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this program do not necessarily represent those of OHC or NEH.

To learn more about Journey Stories and other Museum on Main Street Exhibitions, visit www.journeystories.org or www.museumonmainstreet.org. Support for Museum on Main Street has been provided by the United States Congress, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, and the Hearst Foundation.

SITES connects millions of Americans of Americans with their shared cultural heritage through a wide range of art, science and history exhibitions. The Oklahoma Humanities Council delivers educational resources and cultural programming to communities across the state. To learn more, visit www.sites.si.edu or www.okhumanitiescouncil.org.

The Three Valley Museum serves the local community by protecting, preserving, and promoting the local heritage. Complete details for the local exhibit are listed at durantmainstreet.org or can be obtained by calling the Main Street office at 580-924-1550. Some presentations will be available for classroom use after the exhibit. Follow the organization on Twitter and Facebook, and become a fan of Journey Stories - Durant.



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