Caleb Slinkard was hired as the editor of the Norman Transcript in August of 2015. He is a graduate of Texas A&M University-Commerce and previously was in charge of several newspapers in northeast Texas.

Oklahoma Railway Museum

A 19th century steam engine is one of the oldest (and coolest) trains at the Oklahoma Railway Museum in Oklahoma City.

I've always loved going to museums.

The best I've ever visited is the National World War I Museum and Memorial in Kansas City. It's breathtaking in its sheer scope, and gives you context and insight into what the Great War was truly like. I spent several hours in it a few years ago, and I can't wait to go back. It's a sobering visit, to be sure -- it's impossible not to feel the human cost of World War I while touring the museum and memorial. It's a cost we all should seek to gain an understanding of.

Over the past few weeks I've visited two amazing museums in Oklahoma -- the Stafford Air & Space Museum in Weatherford and the Oklahoma Railway Museum in Oklahoma City. Both are a lot of fun, and I highly recommend them. The Stafford Air & Space Museum is named after Weatherford's own Lt. Gen. Thomas P. Stafford, and has a fascinating collection of spacecraft and aircraft that is presented in a beautiful way, including artifacts from Stafford's multiple trips in space.

I visited the Oklahoma Railway Museum on Saturday. The free museum features a variety of engines, railway cars, model trains and other interesting example's of the state's railroad history.

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While we're truly lucky to have so many fascinating museums in Oklahoma, we can't forget to advocate for them, particularly local museums. Last week, OU announced it would be shuttering the store at the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art (the Muse) and reducing the museum's hours.

It's truly a shame, because the gift shop is part of the museum experience. It's a way to take a piece of the museum home with you. The Fred Jones was one of the first places I took my parents when they visited Norman shortly after I moved here in the summer of 2015. They love it primarily for the variety of high quality exhibits, but they also loved the Muse. My mother purchased several items that I can remember and brought them back to Texas, including a mug with Shakespeare quotes and a William Shakespeare doll.

Look, it's not the end of the world that the Muse is closing. But the store is a small part of what makes Norman a special place, and it's just sad the university is looking to cut corners by shutting it down and reducing the museum's hours. Clearly, the museum and the store have plenty of fans -- a few days after OU announced it would be closing, a line wrapped around the corner and back toward the entrance. I love the Fred Jones and the Muse. I hope the store and the hours come back.

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With our first true heat wave of the year, you're probably looking for some things to do in the air conditioning with the kids/grandkids. The Sam Noble Museum on the OU campus is a favorite of my niece and nephew when their parents bring them up to Norman to visit. It's well worth a visit.

One of my favorite local museums is the Moore-Lindsay Historic House Museum. It's just a few blocks north of the Transcript, and it's free, open to the public Tuesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to noon and from 1 to 4 p.m. Right now, the museum is gearing up for its Children's Summer History Camp, with sessions on July 3, 10, 15, 24 and 31. To find out more, visit

But my absolute favorite time to visit the museum is during the Christmas season, when its decked out in beautiful Victorian-era decorations. It's like taking a step back in history during the best time of the year. I don't really feel like it's Christmas until I've had an opportunity to visit the house.

If you've never been, or if you haven't been in a while, I encourage you to go. It's located at 508 N. Peters in Norman.

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