Fount of discovery
The Beavers Bend area is home to several wonderful museums showcasing the history and heritage of the land and people of southeastern Oklahoma.
The most complete Acrocanthosaurus dinosaur skeleton ever found was excavated in McCurtain County and its cast — measuring a stunning 40 feet long and 15 feet tall from the hip — is now on display at the Museum of the Red River in Idabel. The museum also houses one of the most comprehensive collections of Native American art to be found anywhere. Changing, interpretive exhibits feature the historic, prehistoric, and contemporary native cultures of both North and South America.
The Forest Heritage Center Museum, located in the Beavers Bend Resort Park, boasts a series of 14 large dioramas, painted by famous Smokey Bear artist Harry Rossoll, who conceived and created the famous forest fire prevention icon. The museum also houses the photography exhibit “The People of the Forest,” which chronicles the early logging communities that settled the area.
The Gardner Mansion and Museum, originally a mansion built for Choctaw Chief Joseph Gardner, is well-known for its collection of prehistoric and historic Indian and pioneer artifacts. Located outside the museum are the remains of a 2,000-year-old cypress tree.
At the entrance to the Beavers Bend Resort Park lies the Beavers Bend Wildlife Museum, which features a variety of exhibits on native wildlife and environmental education. A fun learning experience for all ages.
The Wheelock Academy is a former Choctaw girl’s boarding school, currently being restored for the use of preserving the Choctaw culture and heritage. A National Historic Landmark, on this site are the surviving portions of a remarkably advanced educational institution, as well as Oklahoma’s oldest standing church, the Wheelock Church.
The Peter Toth Totem Pole is one in series of Trail of Tears sculptures by Hungarian artist Peter Wolf Toth, who created at least one unique totem pole in all 50 states to celebrate and commemorate the Indian heritage of each region.
The Gene Autry Museum features a large collection of Gene Autry and Roy Rogers memorabilia.
The Car Legends Museum exhibits the area’s finest collections of muscle cars of the 1960s and 1970s.