“Wood Art Capital of Oklahoma” this World Class Forestry Museum is located in Beavers Bend State Park.
The Forest Heritage Center Museum is located in Beavers Bend State Park (north of Broken Bow, Oklahoma). Operated by the Forest Heritage Center Advisory Board and Oklahoma Forestry Services, the museum houses historical documents, antique forestry tools, wood art, homestead memorabilia, and a research library filled with books, periodicals, and other materials pertaining to forestry.
Visitors to the museum will view 14 large dioramas (painted by Harry Rossoll of Atlanta, Georgia, the artist who created Smokey Bear) that cover Prehistoric Forests, Caddo Indians, Papermaking in the South, 1940’s Lumbering, and Forest Appreciation. Each diorama is accompanied by a taped narration. Other exhibits include the Forest Wood Art Gallery, chainsaw carvings, a 100 year old log cabin from the Kiamichi Mountains, and traditional woodworking tools dating from the earliest tools used in the harvesting of timber from the mountains.
Fort Towson was established in 1824 to quell conflicts between lawless elements, American Indian peoples, and settlers claiming the area as part of Arkansas Territory. The fort also served as an outpost on the border between the United States and Texas, which at that time was part of Mexico. Connected to the East by road, Fort Towson served as a gateway for settlers bound for Texas during the 1830s. Those passing through the area included Sam Houston, Davy Crockett, and Stephen F. Austin. When the Choctaw and Chickasaw were displaced from their lands in the southeastern United States, the fort served as a point of dispersal upon their arrival in the West. The fort was also an important staging area for US forces during the Mexican War of 1846.