Oct. 2—A lot of our community's history is kept alive thanks to several people involved with the McAlester Museum.
The museum's collection spans 12 rooms on multiple levels of the old McAlester High School Building at 220 E. Adams Ave. — and covers several decades of southeastern Oklahoma's history.
It's official designation is the McAlester Building Foundation Inc. Museum and it operates as a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit organization.
A dinosaur room displays a cast of an Acrocanthosaurus skull discovered near Broken Bow in the 1980s.
Other rooms cover time periods like 1900-1950 and 1950-1990. The museum also has rooms dedicated to specific subjects — the Military Room, the Coal Mining Room, the Hall of Fame Room, the Art Room.
McAlester resident Mary Ann Gaberino told us she has worked to keep the museum open for 34 years — noting the contributions of volunteers like JoAnn Shaw and her late husband, Ernie Shaw.
"I have people tell me over and over, this is an awesome museum," Gaberino told us.
But now the museum's care is basically up to Gaberino and assistant Jesse Alexander with the exception of some occasional volunteers like when McAlester High School students helped clean during the summer.
We applaud the volunteers for working to maintain our community's history.
Tours were cancelled over the past year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but organizers hope to start them again.
Anyone interested in arranging a tour can phone the McAlester Building Foundation's number at 918-423-2932.
Gaberino said someone is usually there on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
The museum and local history preservation organizations are vital in keeping our community's history alive.
We urge anyone interested in helping to get involved.
—McAlester News-Capital Editorial Board