Idabel, OK (April 11, 2019)—The Museum of the Red River’s construction project will reach an important milestone at the end of the month. All public spaces—including the Acrocanthosaurus Gallery—will open for the first time in three years. The Museum will hold an Open House Party on Saturday, April 27, to commemorate the event.
Festivities begin with a ribbon-cutting ceremony and performance by the Dondoko Taiko drummers at 10:00 am. Other musicians, including flutist Tim Nevaquaya and children’s songwriter Monty Harper, are also scheduled to perform. “Mini” art classes and demonstrations will be available throughout the day. One of the highlights is Brian Getz, Indiana’s premier balloon artist. Getz has won numerous awards for his work. All activities are free and open to the public.
At 1:00 pm, Dr. Kenneth Carpenter will talk about the Museum’s most iconic object: Acrocanthosaurus atokensis. The gargantuan fossil was discovered less than twenty miles away from the Museum. Dr. Carpenter is considered the leading expert on the Cretaceous-era predator. Former state archeologists, Dr. Robert Brooks and Carolynn Neal, will also be in attendance. The two will identify artifacts free-of-charge. (Per Museum policy, a monetary valuation will not be assigned.) A full schedule is available on the Museum’s website.
The Museum began construction in April 2016. The original goal of the project was to increase the size of its storage facility, which was at 98% capacity. However, the project quickly evolved to include the entire Museum. Unfortunately, the project suffered several setbacks. The first rounds of delays were largely due to hurricanes in the Gulf Coast. Henry Moy, the Museum’s Director, stated, “many of our initial construction supplies and materials were either housed or manufactured in the region… The inability to create closed spaces meant that interior construction, finishes, and furnishings could not be completed or installed in those spaces either.”
The elaborate glass pyramid that makes up the front of the building also caused several delays. Vickie Smith, construction manager, stated, “neither we, the contractors, nor the architects fully grasped the complexity of the pyramid…However, everyone is working tirelessly to avoid any further delays.” Construction is expected to continue beyond April 27th. Smith noted that, “apart from a muddy lawn, it shouldn’t affect the overall visitor experience.”
The Museum of the Red River is the largest cultural institution in a 150-mile radius. Its art collection—which contains over 30,000 objects—spans six continents and most of human civilization. Notable additions to the building include a state-of-the-art storage facility and enlarged educational spaces. The project was made possible by the Herron Foundation, the Idabel Museum Society Inc., the Herron Family, and other donors across the United States.
[Pictured: The old Acrocanthosaurus Gallery]