Every museum begins with a dream, someone's vision of what could be, what should be saved, and what stories need to be told. Dr. James “Jim” Frederick Lovell was one such man. Born in 1934 on the family farm near Lovell, Oklahoma. He attended Marshall High School and Oklahoma State University. Jim went on to obtain his PhD in Plant Ecology and spent his professional life serving the academic field in a variety of positions. He retired from his role as Vice President of Academic Affairs and Interim President of Northeastern Oklahoma State College in Miami, Oklahoma in 1988, returning to his wife’s hometown of Weatherford, Oklahoma.
While Jim had always been a collector, it was not until after his retirement that Jim became very involved in preserving the history of Oklahoma. Jim was an instrumental leader in the building of the Pioneer Monument that was dedicated to the first settlers of his hometown of Lovell. Jim also proposed the creation of the Frontier Country Museum in Crescent, Oklahoma, approaching the community with an idea, many historical objects, and much of the initial funding to build his dream. After the Frontier Country Museum was up and running Jim played an instrumental role in the creation of the Heartland Museum in Weatherford, Oklahoma where he lived. Jim remained an active member of both communities until the onset of Alzheimer's. He passed away on February 25, 2015.
While Jim has passed away, his dreams live on through these museums. The Frontier Country Museum continues to be run by a dedicated group of volunteers. They offer changing art exhibits in their gallery space, school programs for children in their one-room school house, and a good trip down memory lane with their permanent exhibits. The Heartland Museum features exhibits from the 1800s through the 1950s, even offering a look into an authentic Weatherford Route 66 diner.
This post is written in dedication to the efforts of Jim Lovell and the legacy he helped to create. He will be missed.
Amy Loch is the Executive Director of the Logan County Historical Society. This blog was created to share stories of experiential history in and connected to Logan County.