Mission Statement of the Plains Indians and Pioneers Museum, adopted in Articles of Incorporation, October 8, 1956, by the Plains Indians and Pioneers Museum Foundation Board of Directors:
The mission of the Plains Indians and Pioneers Museum is to collect, preserve, and interpret the history of Northwest Oklahoma for 50 miles surrounding Woodward, Oklahoma, and to educate the public about the past and its importance to the present and the future.
In order to fulfill its mission, the museum will:
Serve as a permanent repository for such artifacts, written and oral records, photographs, and historical items, which interpret and depict Northwest Oklahoma history.
Adequately store, care for, and preserve said items for the future.
Develop and maintain Board and staff expertise required to identify significant aspects of Northwest Oklahoma history as well as interpret these aspects to the public.
Maintain adequately trained staff to collect, care for, study, and exhibit items within the permanent collections.
Interpret Northwest Oklahoma history to the public through semi-permanent and temporary exhibits utilizing items within the permanent collections.
Serve as an educational institution for both children and adults through the use of in-house and outreach public programming and school-associated functions and projects.
Serve as a resource/research center on Northwest Oklahoma history.
Promote scholarly research and writing on and about Northwest Oklahoma.
Play an ongoing role in the identification and preservation of significant buildings and sites in the Northwest Oklahoma area.
On April 14, 1988, the Board of Directors added the promise to “promote the fine and folk arts to and for the people of Northwest Oklahoma” to our mission statement. Art has always been a part of the museum since it first opened on September 25, 1966, with monthly art exhibits in the Anna Lorry Williams art gallery. The addition of a visual arts mission was an acknowledgement of what we had been doing from the start.
As part of the American Association of Museums (AAM), Museum Assessment Program (MAP III) Public Dimension Assessment recommendations, the Board revisited the mission statement to determine whether the previous mission statement aptly applied to the museum’s goals. On March 19, 2002, as recorded in the minutes of the monthly board meeting, the Board of Directors changed the mission statement “to preserve and interpret the cultural and historical heritage of Northwest Oklahoma for the enrichment of the public.” Area history included all of Northwest Oklahoma and not the previous 50-mile radius.
Dedicated September 25, 1966, the original 4,000-square-foot building was a gift from Dr. and Mrs. C. E. Williams. Dr. Williams’ offer to build the museum came after more than a decade of efforts by a group of concerned local citizens who hoped to establish a museum in Woodward, hence the adoption of a mission statement ten years before the museum existed.
The facility was built on property owned by the City of Woodward, which leased the building and grounds back to the volunteer board of directors for one dollar for ninety-nine years. The museum is open free to the public 35 hours a week through the help of two full-time staff, one part-time staff, and several volunteers. More exhibit space and a storeroom were added to the original building in 1978. Since then, three additional buildings have also been added to the grounds. In 1984, the museum acquired the Lee-Lienemann cabin, a historic picket-style building, which has been furnished with artifacts typical of its era and location. In 1993, the Agricultural building, adjacent the Lienemann cabin, was added to display farm instruments typical of the various periods depicted in the museum’s murals.
We offer a comprehensive story line on Northwest Oklahoma history in our semi-permanent exhibits, which were developed through Oklahoma Humanities Council planning and implementation matching grants. One of these, “Northwest Passages,” received a Certificate of Commendation from the American Association of State and Local History in 1987. In 1993, the Oklahoma Historical Society named the museum the state’s best local history museum. We also periodically offer regional and national touring exhibits on subjects relevant to our mission.