Visit to the American Pigeon Museum and Library

January 6, 2015
By
Lorrie Monteiro, curator of the American Pigeon Museum and Library.

Lorrie Monteiro, curator of the American Pigeon Museum and Library.

My wife Emy and I decided this year instead of flying to California for the holidays that we should drive and see some of the country. Always up for an adventure we left our home in Washington, D.C. on December 20 taking Interstate 40 West which took us through Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Oklahoma City is the home of the American Racing Pigeon Union (AU) and the American Pigeon Museum and Library formally known as the World of Wings.

WOW museum

Having served for a brief time on the World of Wings Board in the mid 2000’s and having never actually been there I figured it would be a good idea to stop and visit.

Army Pigeon Signal Corps display at the American Pigeon Museum and Library

Army Pigeon Signal Corps display at the American Pigeon Museum and Library

We found our way to the Museum which sits right next door to the AU Headquarters.  My first impression was how beautiful the building was with its newly paved parking lot and appointed brick walls. On entering there was a display of about 20 fancy pigeons all in their own individual cages. This display was a great ‘hook’ to get visitors into the building!

Fancy (show) pigeons greet visitors to the American Pigeon Museum and Library

Fancy (show) pigeons greet visitors to the American Pigeon Museum and Library

We were greeted warmly by a staff member who introduced us to Lorrie. I’ve communicated with Lorrie a lot since she was hired as curator and it was nice to finally meet her. We were both crunched for time so she gave me an expedited tour of the facilities and wow is it amazing!

Main display area at the American Pigeon Museum and Library

Main display area at the American Pigeon Museum and Library

Every inch of the museum is filled with artifacts or informational displays starting from the beginning of time to present day. It was remarkable to finally see the ‘vision’ of the museum come together, it made me proud. A lot of fanciers can take credit for the museums conception and realization including Thelma Snyder former owner of the American Racing Pigeon News, celebrated geneticist Dr Willard Hollander, Bill Bonwell, Jr. former AU Legal Advisor, Gene Yoes owner of the Racing Pigeon Digest and philanthropist and business owner Jim Gabler. There are countless others who have helped make the museum a reality that I have not mentioned and I know they would understand you can’t list everyone but I do think they would all agree that a good share of the credit needs to be given to Executive Committee member Rick Barker for taking the bull by the horns and getting the building built.

Bill Bonwell, Jr. display at the American Pigeon Museum and Library

Bill Bonwell, Jr. display at the American Pigeon Museum and Library

The Museum is not specific to just racing pigeons; the National Pigeon Association (NPA) is a major supporter along with many of its members. The NPA has donated a large part of the library and library space is used for NPA meetings with plans to expand their role in the future.

Library at the American Pigeon Museum and Library that's open to the public for research and study

Library at the American Pigeon Museum and Library that’s open to the public for research and study

The collections on display were very educational and were just a tip of the ice burg. Renowned geneticists Dr. Hollands display was very educationally and worthy of further study. Former WOW board member Bill Bonwell has a nice display as well along with Sion specialist Charels Heitzman among other prominently displayed exhibits such as the Army Pigeon Signal Corps display.

Me with Charles Heitzman's demonstration loft. This loft was used in his book "Loft for Racing Pigeons."

Me with Charles Heitzman’s demonstration loft. This loft was used in his book “Loft for Racing Pigeons.”

Lorrie was very excited to show off all the hard work that has gone into setting up the museum. It was really a joy to see everything on display which is geared to be public friendly. It struck me while we were visiting that this is our history – not other people’s history that I was seeing on display. As a fancier I was excited to know that we have a place where we can share our history with the general public for years to come.  I urge you to visit the Museum when you’re in Oklahoma City as well as visit their website and follow them on social media and I encourage you to make a donation to the museum as well. This is our history and it needs to be shared and promoted and they can’t do it without OUR support. The American Pigeon Museum and Library is the ONLY museum dedicated to racing and showing pigeons.

Additional display area at the American Pigeon Museum and Library

Additional display area at the American Pigeon Museum and Library

To learn more about the American Pigeon Museum and Library please visit their website: http://www.theamericanpigeonmuseum.org/ and don’t forget to follow them on Twitter: @ThePigeonMuseum or Instagram: ThePigeonMuseum and on Facebook:http://www.facebook.com/theamericanpigeonmuseum

 

Yours in the sport,

Drew Lesofski

 

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