Oklahoma Baptist Homes for Children (OBHC) celebrated the grand opening of the Heritage Room at Baptist Children’s Home in Oklahoma City, 16301 S. Western, from March 24-26.

OBHC staff toured the new Heritage Room before it opened to the public. Photos by Heather Clark

OBHC President Greg McNeece shared, “I am excited we get to showcase the history of the Baptist Children’s Home, Oklahoma City campus. Since 1903 and continuing today, the work and ministry to children has been unwavering. Oklahoma Baptists have no idea of the impact they have made into thousands of children’s lives over these years. Through the generous donations of people, OBHC continues today as the largest not-for-profit provider to children in the state.”

The new and improved Heritage Room provides the history of OBHC through the lens of the Oklahoma City campus. Amy Van Dyke, lead curator of Art and Exhibitions for the Museum of the Bible, was hired to lead this project. The former Heritage Room located in the gymnasium at the Oklahoma City campus was crammed full of memorabilia, making it difficult to engage and accurately tell the story of OBHC. Van Dyke worked for months researching and creating a beautiful and professional display.

Many keepsakes and artifacts were preserved dating back to OBHC’s founding in 1903.

“I decided to create a display that was inspired by many history museums I’ve visited,” Van Dyke said. “(The Heritage Room) creates a scene and showcases groups of things that may not necessarily be interesting on their own, but together they tell a story. The planks and underlying structure are from old set pieces we used in exhibitions that toured the U.S., the Vatican, Germany and Cuba.”

Van Dyke enlisted the help of Stephen Maddox, who does carpentry work, Impressions Graphics and Denton’s Frame Shop, whose founder was a former resident at OBHC in the late 30s-early 40s.

Amy Van Dyke devoted herself to months of research and design to create OBHC’s new Heritage Room. Photo by TJ Van Dyke Photography

“I wrote the story for the room using the knowledge I had gained in my research,” she said. “I wanted to craft the story around the artifacts I found but highlight the children and the people who made OBHC so special.”

Upon entering the Heritage Room, visitors are greeted with a historical timeline of events from OBHC’s founding to present day, including visual elements such as artifacts, furniture, mementos, toys, Birthday Banks and so much more. These are a blast from the past for all former residents, churches, donors and supporters of the ministry.

Former OBHC President Tony Kennedy and current Vice President of Development Michael Williams reminisce while viewing old Birthday Banks used by churches for fundraising throughout the years.

The display is complemented by video components sharing the impact of the ministry of Baptist Children’s Home, OKC throughout the years. Van Dyke added, “Adding a moving element helps make the space feel more alive and fresh and is engaging for the visitor.”

“This Heritage Room tells the story of the early years to present and is open to everyone,” McNeece said. “We welcome anyone to call and schedule a time to come see this wonderful display of ministry and life impact.”

To schedule a tour of the Heritage Room, contact Baptist Children’s Home in Oklahoma City at 405/691-7781.