Life in the American West conjures up images of cowboys and homesteaders, cattle drives and rodeos. The Western way of life was romanticized and popularized in early 20thcentury books by Zane Grey and later in cinema movies. Today the story of the American West is told in Oklahoma City’s National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum through world-class art galleries and exhibits.
It’s been said that you can never play a sad song on a banjo. How true that is. When I think of banjo music, I think of ragtime, the Roaring Twenties and bluegrass, upbeat toe-tapping music. The American Banjo Museum in Oklahoma City celebrates the evolution of the banjo with over 400 unique banjos on display, plus memorabilia, a hall of fame and special exhibits.
Walking down the stairs from Oklahoma City’s street level to board the Bricktown Water Taxi on the canal, my first thought was that it looked like San Antonio’s River Walk from the many pictures I’ve seen. The photos always look inviting: a tour boat gliding along the river, a beautifully landscaped walkway, and restaurants with plenty of al fresco dining, tables adorned with colorful umbrellas. It turns out the Bricktown Canal was modeled after the San Antonio attraction.
Is there any more beautiful artwork than light streaming through colored glass? Think stained glass windows. Think Tiffany lamps. And think Dale Chihuly, creator of huge colorful glass sculptures in varying shapes and textures. One of the largest collections of Chihuly glass is on permanent exhibit at Oklahoma City Museum of Art.
“Just like communities everywhere, it is the start of a day like any other day.” This is the opening point as you enter the Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum tour. A timeline goes on to outline what was going on that morning in downtown Oklahoma City: people starting work, children being dropped off at the daycare inside the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, an Oklahoma Water Resources Board meeting about to begin in the Journal Record Building directly across the street. A typical Oklahoma City day. No one had an idea of the horror about to occur.