An Architectural Exhibition
that Analyzes Towns in Oklahoma Through the Lens of Architecture

The exhibition “The Legend of the Town Center: Ordinary Form, Radical Ideology” critically examines the historical narratives and architectural forms that made colonizing what was once designated “Indian Territory” possible. This process of colonization—the taking of Tribal land, the erasure of Tribal culture, and replacing it with new pioneer narratives—was accomplished by designing and constructing towns that were used, in conjunction with land runs, to impose new power and ideologies on this territory. The exhibition explores, analyzes, and critiques the histories of towns in Oklahoma, in particular the main streets that were at the center of the communities that made these towns possible. The exhibition starts to revise staid historical narratives that do not accurately portray the motivations behind colonization, while at the same time highlight moments where the ideals of underrepresented communities have been suppressed. What results is just a beginning, a starting point for retelling this particular phase of America’s expansion through the lens of architectural knowledge and methodologies.

This exhibition is the research of Assistant Professor Dr. Jared Macken. For more information or questions, email him at:

Exhibition Location:
Edmon Low Library
Peggy V. Helmerich Browsing Room #205