Gilcrease on Wheels, a mobile museum experience for 3rd, 4th and 5th grade students in rural Oklahoma, is now available to visit schools across Oklahoma.
Designed through a partnership with Poteau Public Schools, Gilcrease on Wheels utilizes the Gilcrease Museum collection of art, history, and cultural artifacts to benefit Oklahoma standards for art, social studies and language arts.
Gilcrease on Wheels features an 18-panel exhibition reflecting three areas of curriculum: United States history for 5th grade, Native American history for 4th grade, and Oklahoma history for 3rd grade. A new electronic interactive component has been created through collaboration with the Tandy School of Computer Science at The University of Tulsa. With the use of this technology, students in rural school districts will be able to virtually visit the museum in their classroom. In addition to this experience, a free family pass to the museum will be distributed to each student with pre- and post-visit classroom material.
In its initial phases of development, Poteau school teachers generated ideas to help develop the Gilcrease on Wheels program. Poteau Public Schools was the pilot for this initiative and the first visit there took place in October 2014.
After the launch in Poteau, Gilcrease on Wheels has traveled to 16 counties and served more than 5,000 students throughout rural school districts in Oklahoma.
Many rural schools do not benefit from museum programming due to geographic location and limited funding for field trips. Gilcrease on Wheels is designed to extend the benefits of a museum experience to students in rural communities, according to Cindy Williams, Acting Director of Education and Public Programs for Gilcrease Museum.
The genesis of the idea for Gilcrease on Wheels came from Steve Holton, CEO and chairman of Central National Bank in Poteau. Holton and his wife Pam also have provided funding for the initiative. The Holtons have a genuine interest in enhancing educational opportunities for children in the Poteau school system as well as students throughout rural Oklahoma.
“Our public education system needs to maintain a balance. In addition to life skills, we must continue to expose our students to the arts and culture. The ultimate goal is to encourage critical thinking and develop lifelong learning in students,” said Holton.
Additional support for the program has come from Sylvia Ewing Hill, Jennie Smith Trust, The Sam Viersen Family Foundation, Ener West Trading Company and a matching grant from the Windgate Charitable Foundation.
To schedule a Gilcrease on Wheels visit to your school, please contact the program coordinator at 918-596-2768.