New Exhibit Opens at Cherokee Strip Regional Heritage Center in Enid

Oklahoma Historical Society - January 19, 2023 4:55 pm

ENID, Okla. — The Cherokee Strip Regional Heritage Center in Enid will host a new exhibit called “Imprinting the West: Manifest Destiny, Real and Imagined” starting on January 28th.

Westward expansion was one of the most transformational elements in American life throughout the nineteenth century. Printed imagery played an important role in disseminating knowledge and understanding about the West and its inhabitants. “Imprinting the West: Manifest Destiny, Real and Imagined” features 48 hand-colored engravings and lithographs that explore these depictions and the influence artists had on the perception of the Wild West.

In 1803 President Thomas Jefferson purchased an expansive territory, known as Louisiana, from the French Republic. This transaction extended the young country’s boundaries by 828,000 square miles and included all areas of present-day Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, and Oklahoma. It also included parts of Colorado, Louisiana, Minnesota, Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota, Texas, and Wyoming. The Louisiana Purchase set the stage for exploration, migration and settlement, and struggle and conflict. Convinced that God wanted the country to extend to the Pacific Coast, scores of Americans, including painters and printmakers, moved west. The idea was eventually known as “Manifest Destiny.”

The westward expansion in the nineteenth century was closely intertwined with the experiences of the native people. The exhibition’s artists, including George Catlin and Frederic Remington, sought to document the indigenous people of the west along with the migration to the west. Artists often accompanied governmental geographical surveys and created images to illustrate official publications. Others sold engravings to popular periodicals such as Harper’s Weekly or the mass market. Whether real or imagined, these lithographs and engravings informed the rest of America and the world about Native Americans and America’s western landscapes and natural resources.

The exhibit will be on display at the Cherokee Strip Regional Heritage Center from January 28th to March 16th.

“Imprinting the West: Manifest Destiny, Real and Imagined” is toured by ExhibitsUSA, a national program of Mid-America Arts Alliance, and curated by Dr. Randall Griffey, associate curator of modern American art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. ExhibitsUSA sends more than 25 exhibitions on tour to more than 100 small and mid-sized communities annually. Based in Kansas City, Missouri, Mid-America is the oldest nonprofit regional arts organization in the United States. More information is available at and

For more information about the Cherokee Strip Regional Heritage Center call 580-237-1907 or visit

The Cherokee Strip Regional Heritage Center is a division of the Oklahoma Historical Society. The mission of the Oklahoma Historical Society is to collect, preserve, and share the history and culture of the state of Oklahoma and its people. Founded in 1893 by members of the Territorial Press Association, the OHS maintains museums, historic sites, and affiliates across the state. Through its research archives, exhibits, educational programs, and publications the OHS chronicles the rich history of Oklahoma. For more information about the OHS, please visit


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