Dear future colleague and world-changer,
You may not realize this yet, but you are in for the biggest adventure of your life! This isn’t just a job, but an opportunity that is full of excitement and possibility. Just like you, one year ago, I made the decision to move out to Enid, Oklahoma when I became the Executive Director of the Cherokee Strip Regional Heritage Center. I left my hometown of Claremore, which I loved dearly, and moved to a new museum in a new community where I knew absolutely no one. I thought the transition would be more difficult than it was. I fell in love with Enid immediately. Do you know why? Because Enid is awesome.
Northwestern Oklahoma, known at the time as the Cherokee Outlet or Cherokee Strip, was opened for public settlement in September of 1893 by land run. Well over one-hundred thousand people gathered their belongings, moved out west, and staked a claim in the territory, all for a chance to build a new life for themselves. It was all about opportunity. When I learned I got the job as the new director, I was so excited; I immediately packed up a sleeping bag, a bag of clothes, my coffee maker, loaded down my Subaru with everything that I could fit in it, and I drove west to Enid with my dog. Just like the people that made the land run before me, I found the first spot I could find, signed a lease, and “camped out” in my new home in Enid. I expect you will have a similar story.
Enid has a spectacular downtown, full of old, historic storefronts and high rises that are home to unique boutiques, breweries, restaurants, and much more! Public art and murals are around every corner. And, the people are so warm and friendly. The population is large enough to have a variety of well-known restaurants and shopping, but small enough to feel like you are part of a close-knit community where everyone knows your name.
And, the Cherokee Strip Regional Heritage Center is such an impressive facility. I think that now, but that’s no surprise for a director. I thought it before I got the job; I thought it before I applied for the job, and I thought it years ago when I visited just as a lover of museums. We tell the many different stories that make up the history of northwestern Oklahoma, from the Cherokee Strip Land Run in 1893 forward.
The Heritage Center isn’t just a museum, either! Other than our main gallery space, we have temporary exhibit space where we bring in new traveling exhibits, create our own exhibits, and host workshops and programs. We have an archive and research center. We have a living history village, complete with the only surviving land office from any of the Oklahoma land runs, a one-room schoolhouse, a church, and the Glidewell house. We have living history programs, traditional museum programs, indoor space for programming, and outdoor green space for programming. The possibilities are endless.
I can’t wait to start working together and see all the great things that you will accomplish here in Enid.
Your future colleague and fellow world-changer,
Cherokee Strip Regional Heritage Center