Western Trail Historical Society, 2020 ONE Awards Finalist

Linh M. Sasser, Marketing Coordinator, Oklahoma Center for Nonprofits

The Oklahoma Center for Nonprofits (OKCNP) will host the 2020 Oklahoma Nonprofit Excellence (ONE) Awards on Friday, April 24, 2020, in Tulsa, Okla. In the weeks leading up to the event, we are spotlighting the 21 finalists in seven categories.

Western Trail Historical Society (WTHS) supports The Museum of the Western Prairie (MWP). Located in Altus, Okla., MWP is one of three finalists in the Arts and Humanities category.

“It’s an honor to be a finalist, and I mean that very sincerely,” said Jennie Buchanan, director, MWP. “It truly is an honor to compete with larger organizations and to be recognized.”

In 2007, MWP was forced to close for asbestos abatement, giving the museum the opportunity to renovate and expand, before reopening in September 2011 after a $60,000 appropriation from the state of Oklahoma and a $30,000 donation from the Western Trail Historical Society. According to their page on the Oklahoma Historical Society website, MWP “tells the story of southwest Oklahoma from the distance past to the present day.” Their story begins during the last ice age, when animals such as the mammoth and mastodon became extinct. Remains of these animals have been found throughout the area.

Over the years, MWP has tracked, recorded and displayed the history of southwest Oklahoma through its exhibits. They share the stories of Native Americans, cowboys, ranchers and homesteaders working to survive in region.

In present day MWP seeks to share southwest Oklahoma’s rich history through their more than 70 events annually. They are able to continue to do so though the many volunteer hours and support from their community in Altus.

“We turn in roughly 375 or 400 volunteer hours a month, which is remarkable for a town our size,” said Jennie. “Last year we did 74 scheduled events and that ranged from tours of the museum for children, programs for service clubs, and events for special demographics, including Tamarack Assisted Living and other organizations like that in our town.

In 2020 MWP, is hosting a traveling exhibit: Water Ways, from the Smithsonian Museum’s On Main Street collection. They will continue to host tours, programs and events to share the history of southwest Oklahoma.

To learn more about Museum of the Western Prairie, visit their web page:

To learn more about the 2020 ONE Awards or to purchase tickets, visit

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