The Duncan Banner

March 7, 2013

CTHC award nomination could bring more funding for educational programs

Rebeka Miller
The Duncan Banner

DUNCAN —  

There are 19,000 nonprofit organizations in the state of Oklahoma and out of that gigantic number, 24 have been nominated as finalists for the title of the state’s top nonprofit, one of which is at home in Duncan.
Full of technological wonder and key elements of the Old West, the Chisholm Trail Heritage Center provides interactive exhibits and several educational programs that can be tailored to any age level or subject matter. 
These aspects, along with having a highly qualified staff, are reasons for the center’s nomination for a Oklahoma Nonprofits Excellence (ONE) Awards.
“It is flattering and humbling to be included in this group,” said Stacy Cramer Moore, executive director of CTHC. “It was unexpected and wonderful.”
Though CTHC was asked by the nominating committee to apply, which is a good sign, Moore said they didn’t expect anything to come from it. The center was nominated in the Arts and Humanities category along with Allied Arts and Tulsa Town Hall.
“To me, to be included in that list of major players in nonprofit is extremely exciting,” said Moore. “I’m so proud of the work we do and the of the staff.”
When applying, CTHC provided information detailing their education programming. All instructors are Great Expectation certified and the center is the only nonprofit in Oklahoma to have that. More than 5,600 students were brought to CTHC last year from Central Oklahoma and Texas.
“All of our programs coordinate with PASS Skills and CORE curriculum, which is extremely important to be fulfilling and worthwhile for each student,” Moore said.
“The Chisholm Trail Heritage Center really is the story of settling the Old West and that can be incorporated for any age in all different areas such as history, math and science, and entrepreneurship.”
Winners for each category and the overall grand prize will be announced April 20 in Tulsa. Moore and Mike Smith, CTHC board chairman, are planning to attend the event, which will be a good networking opportunity.
“They mix everyone all throughout different tables, so you’re not sitting with who you came with, but with other nonprofits and sponsors of the event,” she said. “It’s a really good opportunity; I’m definitely looking forward to it.”
The possibility of winning also gives Moore a chance for dreaming of what they could improve in the center. Just for being nominated, CTHC will receive $5,000, however, these funds will go back into programming and continue allowing schools to come for free.
Should CTHC win its category, it will be awarded $7,500 and the overall winner will receive $10,000. Should CTHC win either of those, Moore has thought over what might be done with the funds.
“The Heritage Center is a mix of technology and the Old West, which is part of what makes it unique, but most of the technology is 10-years-old, so we would focus on technology upgrades and exhibit upgrades to stay at the front edge,” she said.
“There is so much technology that is interactive and customizable that wasn’t out there 10 years ago and we’re working hard to implement those things.”
The center also learned Tuesday that it was named the Best Museum of Chickasaw Country.