'Where the Buffalo Roam': Stained Glass from the American Frontier

12 September 2019 - September 2020 (Extended Dates)

Where the Buffalo Roam: Stained Glass from the American Frontier, an exhibit by award-winning photojournalist M.J. Alexander, reflects the tumultuous history of the region, as memorialized in the windows of its churches and chapels.

Where the Buffalo Roam Exhibition 2019-20  (c) Stained Glass Museum

Where the Buffalo Roam Exhibition 2019-20

About the Exhibition

For centuries, the North American Plains were home to indigenous tribes that travelled with the seasons and the bison herds. The frontier was largely unsettled, and unexplored by outsiders. In 1803, rights to the vast lands between the Rocky Mountains and the Mississippi River were acquired from France by the newly formed United States as part of the Louisiana Purchase.

The area north of Texas and south of Kansas was reserved as Indian Territory. Beginning in the 1830s, under treaties that made way for white settlers, the region was designated as a new homeland for Native Americans. Tribes from the Southeast were forcibly marched there from their ancestral homes on routes that became known as The Trail of Tears.

After 50 years of relocations and the establishment of sovereign Indian Nations, the territory was opened to Land Runs for non-Natives beginning in 1889. The population would soon surpass 1 million, and the territory joined the Union in 1907. It became the 46th state under the name of Oklahoma, from the Choctaw words for “red people.”

In the wake of statehood, several churches commissioned stained glass windows with portrayals of Native Americans, fat bison, rich crops and tall oil wells. In the years to come, new windows would commemorate the introduction of Christianity by 19th century missionaries; negotiations between tribal chiefs and wily top-hatted, treaty-wielding federal agents; streams of settlers in covered wagons in an exodus to the promised land; and tributes to Native and Oklahoma-born martyrs and saints.

Where the Buffalo Roam examines windows from European and American glassmakers, offering a variety of artistic styles and vantage points. The exhibition is in the museum main gallery and is free with usual paying admission.

M.J. Alexander chronicles the people and places of the Great Plains and American West. Her work has been published by The New York Times and Time magazine, and featured in more than two dozen solo shows, including a 2018 European debut at London’s Crypt Gallery. A veteran journalist, playwright, librettist and lyricist, she is author and illustrator of two award-winning books of fine-art portraiture. The International Photography Hall of Fame describes her as “combining the vision of an artist with the skills of a storyteller.” She was inducted into the Oklahoma Journalism Hall of Fame in 2019.

Previous Exhibitions


During September 2020
Tuesday - Saturday: 10:30 - 15:30





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