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At the Museum

The museum will be open, during the summer months, Saturdays from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. By prior appointment only, at other times.

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By Cheryl Herron ’79

Saturday, July 21, was my weekend to volunteer at the museum.  From previous experience, I felt we would be lucky to get two visitors, but on that day we were ecstatic to get four. Our first visitors were Tim Chastain ’81 and his beautiful wife Lora, a NWC graduate.  As Gerald Reeves ’79 and I greeted them with smiles, handshakes, and hugs, I anticipated the look on their faces when they saw our beautiful museum and the history it holds.  Gerald grabbed yearbooks and the files from the cabinet for our Comet and his wife to begin their journey down memory lane. Tim became so excited he didn’t take time to sit down to look at the yearbook.  When asked, “Would you like a seat?” he replied, “I’m fine. I am excited about seeing the yearbooks.” As time went on he and Lora began to debate whether “Old” Classen or Northwest Classen was the better school. The discussion was really entertaining; we eventually discovered that only one of the two have a museum.  Tim ran across a picture of Mr. Gary Spellman (biology teacher) in the yearbook, which reminded him how one year he helped Mr. Sperling with some fundraisers for the class of ’79 and later on Mr. Sperling awarded him a brand new watch. He continued on how happy and proud that made him feel as a teen, while Gerald and I said, “That is so ironic because that was our class you were helping!” We enjoyed them so much we sure did hate for them to go.  Not 5 minutes later, Harry Brantley ’69, who came all the way from Yoder, CO, and his little sister Kathy ’72, from Wellston, came through the door. Gerald and I greeted them, and again we were eager to see the expressions on their faces as they explored old yearbooks. Gerald once again got the files for their classes, and they took seats to begin their journeys down memory lane.  As Kathy went through the archive folder, I heard her gasp. She had a big beautiful smile and surprised look on her face. Her eyes teared up as she told us how she created the Class Prophecy paper for her class, and how surprised she was to find it in the file.

As time grew closer to closing, Kathy and I made a trip down the hall to the ladies room. When we came out, I asked if she wanted to see the famous staircase. She gave me a look of confusion and asked, “What staircase?” I walked to the middle of the hall as she followed, and when she looked and saw the stairs she covered her face and begin to cry.  She said to me, “You must think I’m  silly for crying over some stairs.” I just smiled with tears in my eyes and replied, “No, I don’t. I understand.”   By the time we returned to the museum, Gerald had already begun preparing to lock up. We walked Harry and Kathy to the door, and were saying our goodbyes when Harry extended his hand to Gerald and said, “Thank You. I don’t want to leave.”  As he shook Gerald’s hand, Harry hugged him and wiped the tears from his eyes.

Saturday, July 28, was a good day for Team IV at the museum. A few visitors from the Class of 1973 showed up, and purchased everything!  I had a ball with them. Thank you, guys, for putting up with me.

There were more visitors, but they didn’t sign the guest book. For those who didn’t know, Eddie Jones ’80 had a major surgery and surprised us all by coming, along with his big sister Teresa Jones Black ’79. John Long and twins Debi Dummeyer-Sheline and Dori Dummeyer Riel, all of ’73, came to see us again.  I haven’t been this moved since Janis Thompson Johnson ’51 and her husband Graham came to the museum.  I’m not the only person who finds joy in the place. Our museum is more than just two dusty old rooms filled with trophies and other memorabilia.  This space houses priceless creativity made by some of the most talented in the state of Oklahoma.  These two rooms are filled with memories of good times, and bad for some, but the most treasured thing of all is that it has granted us new friendships that will last for the rest of our lives. To those who came up with the idea, and those that have given generously of their time and funds to support the effort, “Thank You” for reminding us to remember.  Now that school is back in session, the Museum is open only by appointment, until next summer. However, you can easily arrange for a visit by contacting any of the association officers.  Their phone numbers are always listed on the inside back cover of eachissue of the NCL.

15 responses on At the Museum

  1. What are the current hours of the museum? When or how can. I schedule an appointment to visit? Any information is appreciated.

  2. I don’t know if this website gets checked still, but I’m trying to track down either an old Classen 5th Grade Center t-shirt, or the logo and school colors.

  3. I gave my copy of the orbit to donate to the museum the class of 63 and was wondering if it on display. Michael Allen Peters ’63

  4. How far back does your history of the school go as far as the names of the kids that went there…..like 1930’s???? Would love to see if and when my dad Raymond Lowery went there if the records in the museum goes back that far….especially with pictures.

  5. Just came by the museum while visiting from out of state. I was disappointed to find it closed tiday (Saturday), since it says above, “The museum is open every Saturday from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m.” It would be good to have the actual hours posted here at the top (including seasonal variations) so we can plan accordingly. Thanks very much!

    1. It’s a most disappointing situation! The OKC public school system got a new superintendent a few months ago, and now the association has no access to the building unless some employee of the system is present to unlock the alarm system. And with the budget cuts imposed, working on weekends is minimized. Currently, we’re SOMETIMES able to arrange access by making an advance appointment, but that’s not predictable. I’ll suggest that we change the sign, but things change so often that keeping it up to date may not be possible.

  6. I live about 2700 miles from the City, but I will be there next week for 4 days May 11-14 and would like to visit museum. I could be there anytime Saturday (or any other day)). Will it be open or could I schedule a visit?

    1. Robert Smith ’52, did you receive a response to your enquiry? Believe me, we on the board who take care of the museum are concerned and at times we are unable to open the door since it remains part of the high school building.
      Jann Jeffrey ’59

    1. The museum is in the southeast corner of the original building, with its own entrance. There’s a large “Alumni Museum” sign carved into the facade of its small entryway.

      However during the school year, it’s open only by appointment or during alumni events such as reunions. To schedule a visit, contact any of the current officers (listed elsewhere on this site, and on the inside back cover of every issue of the New Classen Life).

  7. We’ve got our 50 yr reunion coming in a few months and was wondering if the Museum had copies of the Classen Life for the class of 66?

    1. Association president Bob Tracy was notified by the Oklahoma City school authorities on the morning of June 6, 2016, that neither air conditioning nor electricity will be available at the Classen building during weekends for the remainder of June. Thus the Alumni Museum will NOT be open as scheduled. We regret this very much, but the situation is beyond our control.

      Because of this, no reunion during June will be able to visit the Museum. We have no information yet about the remainder of the summer months.

  8. I have been waiting for the museum to open.
    I am hoping that there is a copy of the yearbook Orbits for the year 1969.

    If you have a copy, please let me know.

    Thanks,

    Alice

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