The Sand Springs Cultural and Historical Museum’s latest exhibit is not one in which visitors are likely to hope to find a long-lost relative among the archival pictures.
“Wanted: Dead or Alive” consists of more than three dozen black-and-white images showing mugshots, crime-scene photos, and group shots with criminals and law enforcement officers.
They span more than 70 years, starting before Oklahoma statehood in 1907 and reaching into the late 1950s.
Early Indian and Oklahoma territories became home to outlaws and assorted criminals.
The exhibit, on loan from the Oklahoma Historical Society, contains images from the society’s vast photographic archives, as well as from the FBI, the University of Oklahoma Western History Collections, the National Archives and private lenders.
Although a few names might be familiar, such as the Doolin and Dalton gangs and Ma Barker, the exhibit showcases stories that might not be as well-known.
Visitors will learn about whiskey towns, the Tulsa Central Park Gang, Spencer State Bank, Wanda Bartram, Ralph Roe, and many more personalities and places steeped in criminal lore.
Although many of the tales feature truly despicable characters, others tell of people who temporarily went astray.
Some of the accounts include strange twists and turns, and an unsolved mystery will likely have visitors doing some sleuthing of their own.
The new exhibit, sponsored by BancFirst, runs through Nov. 1 at the Sand Springs Cultural and Historical Museum, 9 W. Broadway St.
The museum is open from 1 to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. each Saturday. It is closed Sunday and Monday. Admission is free.