The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

April 2, 2011

Keeping the lights on the past of Enid, area

Museum mixing history and fun

By Joe Malan, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle

ENID — Many, if not most, people in Enid know of Simpson’s Old Time Museum.

What a lot of people might not know is the museum sometimes holds weddings in a small chapel on the building’s east side.

That’s in addition to meetings, baby showers, birthday parties — you name it, they host it, basically.

The Simpson brothers, Larry and Rick, didn’t originally intend on the building as a museum. It was a mercantile that held a lot of historic memorabilia, too, for many years before the brothers decided on the idea of transforming it into a museum.

One highlight of the museum is a saloon on the building’s west side that can hold a maximum of 300 people.

In addition to its use as a movie set, the saloon can be booked for birthday parties.

“Most things are in the saloon,” Larry said.

Using the saloon for parties has become popular.

“We have two birthdays a week on average,” Larry said.

Weddings at the museum are more numerous, too, with six planned for this summer.

“We’ve had more weddings than ever before,” Rick said. “(The museum) stays booked constantly.”

All events at the museum are non-alcoholic.

There is a fee for holding weddings, birthdays and other events at the museum, but there is no fee to walk around the museum and look at everything. There is only the free-will donation box when you walk into the museum.

“We do it with very little advertising,” Larry said. “We just hope to get enough (donations) to keep the lights on.”

Although there was no longterm plan in the creation of the museum, it seems a successful endeavor.

“It has been successful in that a lot of people have come in to see us,” Larry said.

In addition to hosting parties and other events, the brothers hope to teach Enid’s heritage to museum-goers, and the Enid Room at the museum is adorned with all sorts of photos and other trinkets designed to tell everyone what Enid’s past is all about.

“We wanted to have some area to show what Enid is about,” Larry said.

He said a lot of children have enjoyed learning about Enid’s history, especially since a lot of them might not learn about it in school.