Potential name change could hit Ponca City’s Pioneer Woman Museum

KFOR - January 12, 2024 5:57 am

PONCA CITY, Okla. (KFOR) – A name change could be on the horizon for the decades-long historical site in Ponca City known as the Pioneer Woman Museum.

The Oklahoma Historical Society in a statement confirmed that a “branding change” has been discussed for the last year but nothing has been finalized.

The reporting first came from Ponca City News which reported that two rumored name changes could be the “Oklahoma Women Museum” or the “Women of the West” museum.

“I think they should just leave it alone, the way it is,” said Matt McGee of McGee Jewelers in downtown Ponca City.

KFOR spoke with seven people throughout Ponca City Thursday and all said they would like to see the name stay the same.

McGee Jewelers was one of the local businesses that has been around since before Oklahoma achieved its statehood. McGee’s grandparents were some of the original pioneers.

Within the museum are areas showing the achievements of many women throughout time who have called Oklahoma home.

Pioneer Woman Statue. {KFOR}
Potential name choices for the Pioneer Woman Museum. {KFOR}

In one section are women journalists who have shaped and informed Oklahomans over the years. Another section is about women politicians who have served the state throughout time.

Staff at the museum told KFOR that they often get calls from customers confusing the museum with The Pioneer Woman Food Network show hosted by Oklahoman Ree Drummond. They also get confused with the restaurant in Pawhuska called The Pioneer Woman Mercantile.

“Why would we just want to call it a women’s museum,” asked Verona Mair who has owned the downtown store The Gift Shoppe. “Even though those women are not pioneers old they are pioneers in their field.”

Mair has owned The Gift Shopped for decades and said that her grandparents were pioneers in Oklahoma too.

“Ree Drummond has done a lot for advertising Oklahomans but to even call herself that, she isn’t even old enough. But they have the money to change her name and whatnot,” said Mair. “They own lots and lots and lots of things in the state. It’s nothing against her but if they are changing the name because of her, no, make her change hers.”

The Oklahoma Historical Society had the museum transferred over to it in 1991. When asked to confirm that the name change was being discussed the museum replied:

“As a part of a broader strategic initiative, the Oklahoma Historical Society has had internal conversations regarding the mission and branding of the Pioneer Woman Museum in Ponca City for the past year or so. While no final decisions have been made, any future changes will recognize the unique role the museum plays in the community and will seek to engage visitors in an enhanced manner. If any changes are made, the OHS will keep the public informed.”

THE OKLAHOMA HISTORICAL SOCIETY

“Nope, nope I think change is bad,” said Yvonne who lives in Ponca City. “Neither one of those names will work. I think it would be better that it should be left up to a vote.”

“I love the museum,” said Becky who also has lived in Ponca City for most of her life. “I don’t think they should change the name. It’s been that way for years and I don’t know why they would change it.”

It hasn’t been finalized that the name is changing according to the Oklahoma Historical Society.

 

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