Pioneer Woman statue needs a bath

Ponca City Now - December 1, 2015 8:01 am

The Pioneer Woman statue has been an iconic symbol for Ponca City since she was unveiled in 1930, a gift from E.W. Marland, but the time has come for a littie sprucing up.

“It’s expensive to keep this amazing lady looking good,” said Pioneer Woman Statue and Museum Director Robbin Davis.“We need the community’s support to raise $5,000 in five weeks.”

The Friends of the Pioneer Woman Statue and Museum are launching a fundraising effort today, Dec. 1, to cover the cost to clean and maintain the statue. Their efforts are in conjunction with Giving Tuesday, a national movement that encourages donating to favorite causes.

“Giving Tuesday is a grassroots movement launched by the nonprofit sector about four years ago. It was in response to Black Friday and Cyber Monday, much the same way as Small Business Saturday is for local shops," Davis said .

"Our Friends group is the fundraising leg of the museum and we are responsible for raising the funds that go toward exhibits and educational programming, such as our annual summer program, Pioneer Kids, and for big things like cleaning the statue every few years,” said Friends Chairwoman MaryBeth Moore.

The group is looking to raise $5,000 during the five weeks of December by selling rubber ducks at $25 each.

“We kept thinking, how we can make this fun and memorable? How can we get the community involved?” said Moore.

The group kept thinking about giving the statue a bath and during a brainstorming session happened on the idea of the ducks.

“She has been standing, braving the elements for 85 years. We have people who still come in to tell us that their grandparents were here for the unveiling in 1930 or that they were small children and can remember being here in the sea of more than 40,000 people who were in attendance that historic day,” Davis said.

Cleaning and preserving a work of art such as the iconic Pioneer Woman Statue is no easy task. It is a professional job and requires skill as well as patience. The last time the statue was cleaned was approximately six years ago and cost nearly $4,000. The museum is asking the community to help support this new effort to clean and wax the statue.

“She is a member of our community; of our families. The stories we hear and the pictures we see are testaments to that. Guests tell us all the time that they remember taking the yearly family photo in front of the statue and of sliding under her skirts when they were kids. We love hearing the stories, mostly because she elicits such fondness and happy memories,” Davis said.

The monument was conceived, directed, and largely financed by oilman, U.S. Congressman, and 10th Governor of Oklahoma, Ernest Whitworth Marland. It is said that he wanted a monument that would be dedicated to “America’s vanishing womanhood.”

“Mr. Marland gave this statue to Ponca City, to the country really, as a legacy to our mothers, sisters and aunts who helped settle the West; to the ladies that were strong and determined and would not take ‘no’ for answer. I admire that,” Davis said. “Confident is her name and that is what we are; we are confident that with the help of the community we can raise these funds to continue to preserve the legacy of the women that the Pioneer Woman Statue represents,” Davis said.

To support the fundraising effort, make a donation by visiting the museum, calling the museum at 580-765-6108 or emailing [email protected] . To receive a duck for your donation, visit the museum in person, Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The Pioneer Woman Museum, a division of the Oklahoma Historical Society, is located at 701 Monument Road in Ponca City.


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