Docent facilitated tours for students are offered Monday through Friday. The following guided programs are available. Each experience is designed to last 60 minutes unless noted otherwise.
Teacher-directed tours are available Monday through Friday.
Best of the West (Grades 3 – 12): The frontier was home to many indigenous tribes and settled by rugged, versatile pioneers. During this program students will compare and contrast Native American and non-Indian lifestyles, explore the legend of the American cowboy, analyze and interpret premier Western art using visual thinking strategy inquiry, and identify how artifacts and artwork help communicate the story of the West today.
People on the Move (Grades K – 6): Explore the nomadic culture of America’s indigenous Plains Indians through artifact and art. In this program students will identify cultural aspects of nomadic peoples, analyze how the Plains Indians utilized materials from the environment to create material culture, and compare and contrast historic and contemporary traditions.
The American Cowboy (Grades K – 6): From the day’s beginning before the sun rises to the day’s end after the sun sets, a cowboy’s job requires long hours and hard labor. In this program, students discover the cowboy’s life by considering: What was a cowboy’s day like? Where did they eat, sleep, and socialize? What did cowboys wear and what equipment did he use? Students will find the answers to these questions and more while honing their observation skills and imagining themselves in the saddle throughout the Museum exhibitions.
Oklahoma as the West (Grades 3 – 4): The frontier was settled by rugged, versatile pioneers from around the world. They moved into the new frontier for many reasons, and Oklahoma was no exception. Students will compare and contrast life in the state for its Native American population and turn-of-the-century settlers, analyze the role of the military including the Buffalo Soldier, explore life in a recreated turn-of-the-century frontier town, and make comparisons to their lives today.
Weather in the West (Grades K – 3): Learn how the often-brutal environment of the West – with its dramatic blizzards, violent thunder storms, floods, droughts, tornadoes, and hurricanes – shaped the history of the American West. This program explores the roles of land and sky, two major natural forces in the West, as portrayed through Western landscape paintings. Students will creatively address topics of adaptability, alteration, and environment through facilitated activities.
Animals in Western Art (Grades PK-1): Track different animals in art and explore their habitats using verbal cues, animal tracks and fur. After a 30-minute tour, children have the opportunity to explore animal tracks through art activities for an additional 20 minutes.
Teacher-Directed Museum Visits: Think about the Museum as an extension of your classroom. Create your own lessons, scavenger hunts, and self-guided field experiences or utilize one of the Museum’s inquiry-based gallery guides to explore. When you schedule your visit, staff can provide suggestions.
Space is limited for Special Programs; reserve a spot for your class at (405) 478-2250 ext. 241. Space provided to eat lunch.
Free admission to celebration and Museum for students and chaperones (1 per 7 students).
Suitable for Grades K – 8. Space provided to eat lunch. The event will be held rain or shine. A rain plan is established to allow the students to still enjoy many of the stations. Space limited, reserve a spot for your class now at (405) 478-2250 ext. 241.
Cherokee Cultural Celebration
November 9, 2020
In partnership with the Cherokee Heritage Center in Tahlequah, Oklahoma, the National Cowboy Museum presents a Cherokee Cultural Celebration. Students will be able to virtually tour a Cherokee village and experience a variety of activities related to 19th century Cherokee culture and lifestyle. Additional instructional video demonstrations of several traditional crafts will show how to make these items as well as discuss their importance to Cherokee ways. Craft kits are available so you and your students can follow along and create your own traditional crafts. Focus on one craft, or try them all! This will be a virtual event with the videos available from November 9 – December 18. To register, click here or call (405) 478-2250 ext. 241. To inquire about craft kits contact the museum at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (405) 478-2250 ext. 280.
Fall Oklahoma Heritage Concert
November 16, 2020
Celebrate Oklahoma Statehood Day and watch Oklahoma history come to life in a performance by Rodeo Opry. This virtual program teaches Oklahoma history through music and culture. Follow along with the downloadable listening guide to reveal interesting facts about Oklahoma. This will be a virtual event with the videos available from November 16 – November 30. Suitable for older elementary through high school students. To register, visit click here or call (405) 478-2250 ext. 241.
Cowboys and Cowgirls of Color
December 7, 2020
10:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Historically, twenty-five percent of cowboys were people of color. Video presentations will showcase cowboys and cowgirls of color demonstrating traditional cowboy skills. See the diversity that has always been a major part of the American West. This will be a virtual event with the videos available from December 7 – December 18. To register, click here or call (405) 478-2250 ext. 241.
Spring Oklahoma Heritage Concert – Women in the West
February 19, 2021
Watch Oklahoma history come to life in a performance by Rodeo Opry. This virtual program teaches Oklahoma history through music and culture with an emphasis on Women in the West. Suitable for older elementary through high school students. This will be a virtual event. To register, visit click here or call (405) 478-2250 ext. 241.
Living History Performance – York, Explorer
April 29, 2021
York: Explorer is the story of the enslaved man who traveled west with the Lewis and Clark expedition in 1803. As a member of the Corps of Discovery, York discovered his spirit of freedom and was an important member of the team. That new spirit nearly killed him when he returned to “civilization” at the conclusion of the expedition. York was never permitted to tell his story but the expedition journals, William Clark’s letters, and other accounts provide a sketch of the man and his importance to the Corps of Discovery.
Program runs about one hour, including time for questions. Suitable for 3rd grade students and older. Explore Museum galleries after the program. Admission is free for students and chaperones (1 per 7 students). Ask about a bus travel reimbursement. Preregistration is required by April 26.
How to Schedule your Visit
Book now! Reservations are required for all group tours and are processed on a first-come, first-served basis. To receive reduced or free admission you must schedule a visit in advance with the Museum. Admission fees, if applicable, are payable on the day of your visit.
Phone – Call the Museum, Monday – Friday at (405) 478-2250 ext. 241, three weeks in advance of your desired date and time.
Group Size and Chaperone Requirements
A minimum of 15 students is required for all group visits. The group leader is responsible for the entire amount due at the time of check-in and group members may not pay individually. Large parties paying individually do not qualify for discounted group pricing. Payment may be made with cash, check, credit card, or purchase order. Coupons or discounts cannot be used with the group rate. One chaperone for every seven students is admitted free of charge. Additional adults over and above this ratio will be charged admission.
|Pre-K to 6th
|7th to 12th
Free or Reduced Admission and Bus Transportation Stipends for School Groups
Often schools pass on the cost of field trip admission to students. With 62% of Oklahoma students receiving free or reduced lunches, admission cost can be a large hurdle. The Museum may be able to provide free or reduced admission for Oklahoma schoolchildren in grades K – 12, including public, private, charter, or home school groups. One chaperone for every even students is admitted complimentary.
The Museum may be able to offset the expense of bus transportation too. A limited number of bus are available.
Preference will be for teacher workshop participants and those schools with 50% students on free or reduced lunches.
Contact us at (405) 478-2250 ext. 241 about free or reduced admission and bus stipends of $125 to offset transportation expenses for your students.
The Museum’s Lunch Pavilion is available for school lunches. Reservations are required. Groups without a reservation are not guaranteed a space to eat. All food or drink must be provided by the group.
The Museum Grill can prepare lunch for your group (assorted sandwich trays); to make arrangements, call the Museum’s Visitor Services Manager at (405) 478-2250 ext. 241. The Museum Grill is open Monday – Saturday, 11:00 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.
How to Schedule your Visit
Book now! Reservations are required for all group tours and are processed on a first-come, first-served basis. To receive reduced or free admission you must schedule your visit in advance with the Museum. Admission fees, if applicable, are payable on the day of your visit.
Museum Etiquette Rules/Chaperone Responsibilities
We strive to provide a valuable, educational and fun experience at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City. In order to do so, we ask teachers to share the following museum etiquette with students and chaperones prior to their visit. Upon arrival, a staff member or volunteer will greet the group to review the rules. Teachers and chaperones in the group are responsible for following and upholding these guidelines.
- Backpacks, purses and other parcels larger than 15″ x 10″ x 9″ will not be allowed in the galleries. These items will need to be left on the bus or at the Visitor Services Desk.
- Be respectful of other museum visitors
- Use your inside voice
- Do not run to protect yourself and our collections
- Stay with your assigned group
- Follow the photography signs posted in each gallery space
- Do not eat or drink in the galleries to help us keep out pests
- Leave your backpack at Visitors Services or with the lunches
- Do not touch art and artifacts to help us preserve them
- Enjoy the gardens, but remember to leave the flowers and foliage for other visitors
- Remember to ask questions, explore, and have fun!
- Turn off, silence or refrain from using cell phones during tours.
Students gain more from their visit when adequately supervised. To ensure the safety of the group, as well as other Museum visitors, we require that teachers and chaperones be with students at all times. Students left unsupervised will be brought to the front entrance by a Security Officer and asked to wait until their adult leader returns. Please be aware that unruly groups will be asked to leave the Museum and no refunds will be given.
Canceling your Visit
If you must cancel a tour, please leave a voice-mail message with the at (405) 478-2250, Ext. 241 48 hours before of your scheduled visit. A cancellation fee of $30 will be billed to the business office of those groups failing to make a cancellation. (This does not apply to weather related cancellations.)
The Museum’s 2019 – 2020 school programs are made possible, in part, through
support from Allied Arts, Arvest Bank, BNSF Railway Foundation, Kerr Foundation,
Robert Glenn Rapp Foundation and Susan J. Roeder.