OKLAHOMA CITY, OK – Opening February 16, 2024, Treasures from our Atherton Vault will provide a rare look at art and artifacts typically tucked away within the Museum’s vast collection. Drawing from more than a million archival documents, nearly 25,000 historic objects and numerous photographs, the Museum’s curators compiled a fascinating collection of unique and seldom-seen items. The exhibition explores themes such as how the Museum represents the West, expressions of diversity through art, how these items are preserved and the amazing stories behind the artifacts themselves.

“Several items in the Museum’s collection rarely leave the vault for various reasons,” said Chief Curatorial Officer David Davis. “Fragile paper items require controlled storage, larger items face limited gallery space, and some artifacts – not aligning with storytelling goals – serve primarily as research pieces. In fact, our 60,000 square feet of gallery space exhibits around 15% of the Museum’s collection at any one time. This exhibition gives us a chance to show off some of the quirkier, more fragile and just downright cool items that don’t often make their way out of the vault.”
The exhibition guides guests through diverse themes and showcases artifacts with intriguing stories, from boots designed for President Ronald Reagan, to Indigenous artwork, to an arrowhead that was embedded in a man for 16 years.

The exhibition also showcases the future of the Museum’s collection storage and the exciting expansion and improvements coming soon. As a part of $40 million “Live the Code” capital campaign, plans are underway to double the size of the vault while adding new high-density metal storage systems that will allow for future collection growth. For more information on the campaign, visit livethecodecampaign.org.

Treasures from our Atherton Vault will be on exhibit through April 28, 2024. For media materials, contact Hannah Stewart at hstewart@nationalcowboymuseum.org.