Historic One-Room Schoolhouse Moves to Museum
Press Release July 2013
Muskogee, Okla. -- Three Rivers Museum volunteers will move a one-room African-American schoolhouse from its original site to the museum grounds on Saturday, July 20, 2013. The historic Oak Grove Separate School #66 will be lifted from its location near Okay and moved by trailer to sit behind the museum located in Muskogee’s Historic Depot District at Third and Elgin.
Museum directors plan to have the schoolhouse arrive at 10:30 a.m. Saturday morning. The media and the public are welcome to come and view this historic move.
Volunteers have spent the past month reinforcing the building and preparing the new site for the school. Morgan Wrecker and Towing of Muskogee is providing the labor and equipment to make this move possible.
Oak Grove School is believed to have operated from approximately 1917 to 1950 in Wagoner County during segregation. Owners of the property, Mark and Mitzi Bowser, recognized its significance and rather than tear it down or let it continue to decay, they decided to donate the building to Three Rivers Museum.
The museum will spend the next months raising funds to renovate and furnish the building as authentically as possible. Donations of money and artifacts pertinent to a school of this time period are welcome.
“Too many properties significant to African-American history in our area are being lost or torn down,” states Roger Bell, chairman of Three Rivers Museum. “We have long wanted to acquire a one-room schoolhouse and are very pleased that we will be able to preserve an important piece of local black history. This is truly an important project for our community and we are very excited about its future use.”
Long-range plans for the building are to develop a teaching curriculum and open the school for class field trips. Students will be able to step back in time and experience schooling from a historic perspective.
Georgie Chapuis, a teacher at Sadler Arts Academy in Muskogee, is already looking forward to bringing students to the school. “The school will offer the opportunity to take students out of the classroom and into the community, using a local resource to discover the past,” she says. “The Common Core curriculum wants children to be exposed to and utilize primary sources. Learning in a historical setting puts the student ‘in’ the primary source.”
One of the fundraisers planned by the museum will be a memorial brick walkway from the museum to the schoolhouse. For a minimum gift of $50, donors can have a brick inscribed with their name, their business name or the name of a loved one. More information about making a donation to the Oak Grove Schoolhouse Restoration is available online at
The museum also is seeking photos of the school or any other artifacts or documents that might be associated with Oak Grove. Anyone who attended, taught, or remembers the school is invited to contact Three Rivers Museum at 918-686-6624 or firstname.lastname@example.org to share their memories.