Greater Tulsa Reporter
HISTORIC ARTIFACTS: Air Force Colonel Robert Powell, founder of the Military History Museum, discusses one of the many artifacts housed in the museum, at 112 N. Main in Broken Arrow.
BLAKE AUSTIN for GTR Newspapers
The Military History Museum, 112 N. Main Street in Broken Arrow, will conduct its first book signing event on Nov. 1, 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Proceeds from the event will be used to support the museum, which is a 501©(3) organization. All books will be available for sale.
During this time, admission to the museum will be free.
Authors at the event will include:
Brigadier General Ed Wheeler, former Deputy State Area Commander and Commanding General, Mobilization and Deployment Task Force 45, Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm. General Wheeler will be signing his book: “Doorway to Hell: Disaster in Somalia” which is a non-fiction history of U.S. Involvement in Somalia and in East Africa.
Dr. Clarence G. Oliver, retired superintendent of Broken Arrow Schools; retired Army infantry officer and Emeritus Dean and Professor at ORU College of Education, will be signing three of his books: “Tony Dufflebag…and other Remembrances of the War in Korea,” the story of the rescue of a six-year-old Korean orphan and how he was “adopted” by soldiers in a front line infantry rifle company. “One from Least and Disappearing Generation,” a true story of a young boy born three months before the “Crash of 1929” and “A Time of Peace, Season of Innocence,” a photographic history of young people in small town Oklahoma between WWII and the Korean War.
Phil Goldfarb, retired Army Medical Service Corps officer; retired Vice President of Operations for Cardinal Health, a Fortune 19 health care company; and founding president of the Jewish Genealogy Society will be signing his book: “A Page of History: Passport Applications 1851-1914.” The never-before-published forms in this book are the authentic records of 63 select, famous individuals in U.S. history that have been acquired, digitally enhanced and restored. Each document includes a narrative and unusual facts about the person. Tate Publishing calls it “One of the most interesting, unusual and significant historical books that we have published in 2014” and “A treasured gift for someone who enjoys history and biography and is looking for that unique and special book.”
The Military History Museum moved to Broken Arrow and opened in November 2012. It houses more than 2,000 artifacts dating back to the Civil War and is one of the most significant military museums in Oklahoma. It was founded in 1989 by retired Air Force Colonel Robert Powell.
Powell, who spent 27 years in the military, uses his museum to honor veterans and to help individuals understand the high price of freedom.
“The museum features artifacts from the American Revolution up to Desert Storm,” he says.
“Not many young ones know about our past wars. I believe it is important to keep our military history alive.”
Powell has been collecting artifacts for more than 60 years, providing him more than enough items to allow for regular exhibit changes. He has found artifacts on their way to the trash and in garage sales. He’s also received memorabilia from individuals with military ties and from local organizations, including the University of Tulsa.
The museum’s first display was in 2000 when Powell was approached by Memorial High School’s principal at the time, John McGinnis.
McGinnis is a Vietnam veteran and said that because the school was dedicated to veterans, he wanted war artifacts to be displayed.
Powell brought veterans to talk to students and showed videos. He displayed artifacts that students could touch, like soldiers’ lunchboxes, called mess kits. “We made sure students knew more about the wars when they left than when they first came,” he says.
When the museum left the school in 2006, Powell moved it to 6953 S. 66th E. Ave., in Tulsa.
The museum features uniforms worn by soldiers, including a German Gestapo uniform, helmet and boots. Many uniforms also have photographs of the soldiers who wore the clothing. There are also airplane models, food rations, the full record of the 45th infantry, flags and a painting of a gunboat named the USS Tulsa.
The museum received many donations when it was renovating its current location, including a $20,000 phone system from Murray Womble, a company that provides commercial building products. The president of Murray Womble is the wife of Brad Stanton, museum board member and volunteer. Stanton’s father served in the military.
“We need to know what happened in military history so that we can keep it from happening again,” says Stanton. “He (Powell) has personal stories about almost every artifact.”
Powell enjoys speaking about the museum’s artifacts and working with the Broken Arrow Historical Society and local school systems to promote military education in the schools, Powell says.
The museum’s regular operating hours are T-F 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Sat. 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
For more information, visit okmhm.org, or call 918-794-2712.