Historical Society welcomes Altus Alumni

Brian Nichols and Willie Daniels are busy landscaping at the Museum of the Western Prairie in preparation for two special events during the Altus High School Reunion Weekend.

The Museum of the Western Prairie is getting ready for two special events during Altus High School’s Reunion Weekend. The AHS class of 1965 will be at the museum for dinner on Friday night, and the AHS class of 1975 will enjoy a reception on Saturday morning. The Western Trail Historical Society has prepared programs for both events drawing on resource materials in the museum’s collection.

“Many of our guests will be seeing the museum for the first time, so we want the museum to look its very best for these events,” explained Jennie Buchanan, Museum Director. “We are at work inside and out.”

Brian Nichols, a museum volunteer and the owner of Charlie’s Hothouse, has employed landscaping techniques that utilize the variety of plants, grasses, and flowers that are native to southwest Oklahoma. In the area that surrounds the 1891 Cross-S ranch house, Nichols has planted desert zinnia, Stipa grass, and Artemisia, a sage plant that he refers to as “the smell of the west.” He commented that a couple of Mexican Hat plants were his lucky find of the day. “Without over-watering,” according to Nichols, “these plants are hardy specimens that can last throughout the season and beyond. Here at the museum, they blend nicely with the rustic structure of the Cross S Ranch House.”

“Working alongside mother nature to understand our climate and our sometimes extreme weather patterns requires careful plant selection. Given the amount of rainfall we’ve had since May, this is a great time to take advantage of the planting opportunities we have right now to refresh these beds with native plants,” Nichols said.

“When we originally landscaped the area around the Cross S, we called on Brian to use his expertise to create a bit of a prairie for us,” explained Buchanan. “Now it’s turned into an exhibit of its own. We’re able to show our visitors how to identify various types of native grass by looking at seed heads.”

The Museum Of The Western Prairie is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10AM to 5PM. For information about the museum, memberships, and programs, call 580-482-1044.

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