What's 13 feet tall and weighs 3,500 pounds? If you guessed the museum director, no, it isn't him. It's our new sign! Take a look.
In its 55-year history, the museum has always had something on or beside the building that says, "Museum of the Great Plains." But because we're set back from the street, in Elmer Thomas Park, that hasn't helped direct traffic toward us. Now, at last, we finally have a sign right on Ferris Avenue.
We first began thinking about the sign a year and a half ago. By July 2015, we had a plan, courtesy of SLA Architects of Wichita Falls TX. Then our general contractor, Herring Construction (Lawton) hired Sign Dynamic (Lawton) to fabricate the piece. Along the way there were a few changes, some by the museum, some by the contractor, some by the fabricator. But in the end, everyone is happy with the final result.
So what secrets can we tell you about the sign? Well, let's see. It's hollow for a start, fastened to a big popsicle stick. Here's the proof.
What else.... The body of the bison is cold-rolled steel (silvery looking), but the rest of the monument is hot-rolled (dull gray). The difference? The two types of steel will develop a distinct patina (weathering pattern), maintaining a contrast between the bison and the background. The horn on the inside of the panel (not the one that sticks out to the side), and "Museum of the Great Plains," are made from aluminum, which won't rust at all, again to maintain contrast.
As for rumors of a secret prairie dog spy station (them spying on us) inside the hollow base of the sign, no comment. Classified.
People ask, they do, what's the animal on the sign? A longhorn? Not a buffalo, they suggest. In fact, our logo represents Bison latifrons, an extinct type of long-horned bison, an ancestor of the modern buffalo, Bison bison. We've got a statue of B latifrons near the entrance of the museum.
So that's it for this episode. Credits, please. Thanks, Clark Brown, of Clark Brown Creative, for designing our logo in the first place (it's got staying power). Thank you SLA Architects, especially Marcela Trice, for designing an impressive monument. We're always appreciative of the City of Lawton for its steadfast support--and in this case, for helping us locate the sign properly in the right-of-way. Many thanks to our general contractor, Ryan Herring of Herring Construction, for all the good work he and his crew have done at the museum. Thank you Curtis Thorp (artiste), Matt Purvis, and Gene Purvis of Sign Dynamic for taking the piece from paper to steel. (Here's the TV story on KSWO.)
And finally, we ask that you keep off the sign. Don't be like this guy.
From time to time, we'll post info here about what's going on at the museum.