Pandemic closes historic Wilson Museum to visitors again


The growing number of active COVID-19 cases in Carter County prompted the Wilson Historical Museum to close for the second time. The decision comes after two weeks of active cases exceeding a threshold set earlier this year.

“If the county’s COVID count was 50 or below, we were going to open,” Melinda Taylor, president of the Wilson Historical Society, said Tuesday. After active cases recorded in the county by the Oklahoma State Department of Health fell to 38 on May 5 and continued to decline, the Wilson Museum reopened to walk-in patrons on Saturday. .

Last week, the OSDH recorded 74 active cases of COVID-19 in Carter County, up from 65 the previous week. As a result, the Wilson Historical Museum will not open this Saturday. Appointments can still be made, but Taylor said patrons wishing to book time at the museum will need to be vaccinated.

Phone services also remain available by calling (580) 668-2505 and leaving a voicemail, but Taylor said events scheduled with an area youth organization this month have been impacted by increased number of cases.

The Greater South West Historical Museum remains open four days a week and director Wesley Hull said precautions were still in place. He said museum leaders continue to monitor local COVID-19 data as they consider fully reopening operations.

“We are monitoring this very closely. That’s one of the reasons we didn’t open on Saturdays because a lot of people travel on weekends and go down (Interstate) 35, you never know where they’re coming from,” said Hull Tuesday.

Additional cleaning efforts are continuing at the Ardmore Museum and visitors are being greeted with masks for unvaccinated guests. He said the museum had been popular since it reopened from Tuesday to Friday from last month and had recorded visitors from as far away as the UK and South Korea.

“I think the first week of opening we had close to 280 visitors representing 12 to 15 states,” Hull said.

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Patrick F. Williams