By Elizabeth Keys
STILLWATER, Okla. —
The Sheerar Museum of Stillwater History will close Nov. 19 for one week to dismantle the current exhibit “The Bible Looking Glass: Manifold Reflections of History,” an exhibit about the Bibles in the museum’s collection.
“Visitors who have not had a chance to view the exhibit should be sure to visit before the museum closes on (Nov. 18),” said Ammie Bryant, who curated the exhibit, along with Oklahoma State University history graduate student Cynthia Ingham.
“The Bible Looking Glass” opened in conjunction with the arrival of “Manifold Greatness: The Creation and Afterlife of the King James Bible” at the OSU Library in August, Bryant said.
“Manifold Greatness” marked the 400th anniversary of the 1611 King James Bible and is jointly produced by the Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington, D.C., and the Bodleian Library, University of Oxford, with assistance from the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas in Austin.
“The OSU library requested that we create an exhibit about the Bibles in the museum’s collection to coincide with the OSU Library’s hosting of the traveling exhibit during August and September,” Bryant explained. “The Sheerar Museum’s exhibit includes several family Bibles on loan from various Stillwater families as well as other Bibles in our museum collection ranging from 1812 to 1955.”
Bryant, the Sheerar Museum director, said the OSU Library wanted to get the community talking about the significance of family Bibles.
“Many people tuck things away in their Bibles for safe-keeping so you can learn a lot about that person,” Bryant said.
Several Bibles on display have been loaned to the museum by area residents to help generate interest and local relevance. One of the Bibles is from the Adams family who had two sons in the first OAMC graduating class and one son who worked as a surveyor in this area. There is also a Cherokee language Bible which dates to the 1830’s and is the oldest Bible in the museum’s collection. There is also a Bible which was owned by an Episcopalian priest who was one of the first missionaries allowed into Japan in the early 1800’s. Other items included in the exhibit are two stained glass windows from the First Baptist Church and a baptismal font from the First Presbyterian Church.
“We will close Nov. 19-27 to allow staff and volunteers to dismantle ‘The Bible Looking Glass’ and prepare the gallery for the installation of a new traveling exhibit, ‘Star Quilts,’ provided by the American Quilt Study Group,” Bryant said.
The museum will reopen Nov. 27, with the quilt display opening Dec. 6.
The biennial quilt study project has become a popular part of the American Quilt Study Group’s activities. AQSG members who choose to participate, respond to a selected theme and create a quilt which is copied from, or inspired by, an existing antique quilt. The Sheerar Museum hosted the AQSG’s previous traveling exhibit “Inspired by Red and Green” in late 2009.
The 2010 quilt study theme was 19th Century Stars. All inspiration quilts were required to be identifiable as a “Star Quilt” regardless of the techniques used to make the original quilt.
“Each quilter determines the construction methods for their Star Quilts which are limited to a maximum 200-inch finished perimeter,” Bryant said. “Each piece is accompanied by an image of their inspiration and a statement about what was learned through the process of creating their Study Quilt.”
Thirty-nine Star Study Quilts were exhibited at the AQSG seminar held in Minneapolis, Minn., in Oct. 2010. During the seminar, 25 Star Study Quilts were identified to be included in this exhibit that travels to museums, historical societies and quilt shows throughout the United States.
The Sheerar Museum of Stillwater History will debut the exhibit at its annual Holiday Open House on Dec. 6, with a reception from 5-7 p.m.
“This is the same night as the Dowtown Stillwater holiday lights parade so it’s a great time to stop by,” Bryant said.
The open house will be serenaded with Christmas caroling from the Stillwater Community singers. Star-patterned quilts from the museum’s collection will also be part of the exhibit, she said.
“We will also recognize our volunteers who are so important to the museum,” Bryant said.
Along with “Star Quilts,” the Sheerar Museum will also open phase two of its exhibit gallery’s newly redesigned displays dedicated to the history of Stillwater. This renovation and redesign were made possible through a grant from the Buel J. Staton Charitable Trust. Since receiving the initial funding for the project, additional donations have included funding of two new flat screen TV/DVD units that will allow the new exhibits to include a multi-media element as well as an in-kind donation of labor from McCollom’s Interiors to replace the flooring.
“Because of our limited space, the debut is in phases,” Bryant said. “Planes, trains and automobiles displays how transportation has affected Stillwater’s history and growth in phase two exhibits.”
There will also be displays of agriculture history and the impact of OAMC around the world, she said.
The history of businesses such as banking and newspapers in the area will also be on display. Phase three with the remaining exhibits is scheduled to be unveiled at a grand opening in late spring 2013.
On Nov. 27, the Sheerar Museum of Stillwater History will resume its regular hours of operation Tuesday-Friday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday and Sunday 1-4 p.m., closed Mondays and holidays. While admission is free, donations are appreciated. Call 405-377-0359 for more information. The Sheerar Museum is located at 702 S. Duncan Street and has been operating for 38 years.