Hiding In Plain Sight

LeFLore County Historical Society Museum

LeFLore County Historical Society Museum

Traveling and exploring new places offers opportunities to take in and appreciate cultural resources.

It’s funny: When you are close to something and see it every day, you lose perspective on its value. It’s the “you can’t see the forest for the trees” thing, I think.

We miss the treasures that sit right under our noses.

I recently visited a small town in eastern Oklahoma where my father has lived for at least 30 years. I have visited this place many times over the years.

On my latest trip, I saw a sign that I had never seen before. It was small and pointed vaguely in the direction of downtown.

It simply read: Museum.

I asked my dad if he had ever visited the museum. He admitted he knew nothing about it. In fact, he didn’t even know where it was located.

A few days later, we found ourselves in the area with some time to kill, and I suggested that we go explore the museum together.

The sign led us right to the museum, a three-story historic hotel that covers almost an entire city block. In a small downtown area, it is hard to miss. But that’s not the worst part. The museum sits directly across the street from the post office.

My father has visited this post office at least once a week for 30 years.

Of course, I ribbed him about his keen powers of observation, and I fully intend to do so again the next time I see him.

Our visit was brief, but very enjoyable. Seeing the hotel’s grandeur is worth the visit, with its beautiful original tile floors, large windows and high ceilings.

The collection, while small, contained some really impressive, unexpected items. For example, there’s a wonderful display of panoramic photos of the town’s residents over a period of several years. Apparently, for a period of time in the early 20th century, the residents would gather for an annual photograph.

I was puzzled: How did my father not know about this museum? How could he miss one of the best cultural assets for miles around?

As far as I know, it is one of the only cultural institutions in that county.

Well, truth be told, he is not the only one to miss cultural assets in his own neighborhood;  I, too, am guilty of the same thing right here in Orlando.

Like father, like son, as they say..

All too often, we become complacent about the riches we have within our reach.

Why do we lose our curiosity when it comes to exploring our own backyards?

Museums like the one I discovered with my father beckon us to rekindle our sense of adventure and see our everyday surroundings with the fresh eyes of sightseers.

When is the last time you set out to explore you community like an intrepid traveler, thirsty for adventure?

Is there something we should all know about hiding in your local community?  Tell us in a message here.