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School Programs & Tours

Scheduling a Visit

The National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City offers many educational field trip opportunities. Ignite your students’ curiosity and enhance your classroom curriculum with one of the Museum’s interactive programs. Engage students through lively, inquiry-based conversations that challenge students to examine, explore, and share throughout the Museum.

Student Tours

Schedule School Tour Now

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.

Special Programs

Schedule a Special Program Now

Space is limited for Special Programs; reserve a spot for your class at (405) 478-2250 ext. 241. Space provided to eat lunch.

Cherokee Cultural Celebration
October 26, 2020
10:30 a.m.

In partnership with the Cherokee Heritage Center in Tahlequah, Oklahoma, the National Cowboy Museum presents a Cherokee Cultural Celebration. Students will experience a variety of activities related to 19th century Cherokee culture and lifestyle. Hands-on participation in Cherokee games such as blow gun shooting, stickball playing, marbles, and chunkey will be presented. Demonstrations in pottery making, basket weaving, and finger weaving will show the unique Cherokee lifestyle of this time period. Other activity stations will introduce children to period toys, the Cherokee language, and storytellers sharing Cherokee lore. Museum galleries are open for self-directed tours. Students are encouraged to visit all stations and earn a prize for their participation.

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.

Wild Weather Camp
October 30, 2020
10:30 a.m.

Join David Payne and the News 9 Weather Team as they team up with the National Cowboy Museum to present Wild Weather Camp a fun and interactive weather safety program designed to teach kids about severe weather events and what to do in different scenarios, so they are not afraid. Following Weather Camp, explore the Museum’s exhibitions to discover the role of weather in the West.

Bring a sack lunch to enjoy after the 45-minute presentation, then explore weather-related art in the Museum galleries. Admission is free for students and chaperones (one per seven students). Ask about a bus travel reimbursement. Space is limited and preregistration is required by February 28. Call (405) 478-2250 ext. 241 or click here.

Cowgirls of Color
November 3, 2020 
10:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

The inspiring Cowgirls of Color, an all-black, all-female rodeo team, lead roping, lassoing, saddling up, and activity stations for students throughout the Museum demonstrating grit, gusto and determination. Follow up the program with self-exploration of Museum galleries. Free admission to the program and Museum for students and chaperones (one per seven students). Program lasts approximately one hour.

Bring a sack lunch to enjoy after the presentation, then explore the Museum galleries. Admission is free for students and chaperones (1 per 7 students). Ask about a bus travel reimbursement. Space is limited and preregistration is required by October 27.

Oklahoma Heritage Concert
November 17, 2020
10:30 am

Students can celebrate the Oklahoma’s 113th birthday and watch history come to life at the National Cowboy Museum with stage performances by Rodeo Opry, using an interactive program to teach Oklahoma history, music and culture. This educational music experience takes participants through trials and triumphs, including Native American heritage, Women in the West, state symbols and famous Oklahomans. Follow up the concert with self-exploration of Museum galleries. Visit select gallery stations to learn more about art and the material culture encompassing the West. Free admission to the program and Museum for students and chaperones (1 per 7 students). Concert runs one hour. Suitable for elementary age students.

Living History Performance – York, Explorer
April 29, 2021
10:30 a.m.

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.

Online – Schedule a Student Tour  or Special Program Now

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.

Admission Rates

Grades tax exempt taxable
Pre-K to 6th $3.50 $3.75
7th to 12th $4.50 $4.75
Additional Adults $10.00 $10.75

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.

Lunch Facilities
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.)

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Click here to view the Programs and Services information packet for Teachers and Students.

Education Sponsor:


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.

Adventure District
Adventure Road
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