Retro Metro OKC is pending 501(c)(3) organization whose goal is to create an online exhibit of thousands of photos and documents relating to our city’s history, culture and heritage. The website debuts with more than 1,200 such materials, and thanks to a cooperative effort with the Oklahoma Historical Society and other area historical organizations, we hope to be adding many more historical Oklahoma City images in the near future.
Retro Metro OKC operates differently from other organizations in that we have no museum, we have no physical collections, and in most instances the materials we display remain in private ownership. In a typical situation our volunteer crews go to a home or business to scan an owner’s collection and the owner participates in the project by sharing information about the photos and documents as they are being scanned. The materials never have to leave an owner’s possession the owner is simply asked to sign a release that allows for the materials to be displayed online.
The owner of such materials is given a disc of the digitized images and documents and copies also will be given to the Oklahoma Historical Society and the Metropolitan Library System to ensure they will be preserved for future generations.
What’s the bane of the historian’s existence? Right: useful material forever locked away in someone’s vault. I have to figure the owners will happily share if they don’t actually have to give up physical possession.
Retro Metro OKC’s founding members include historians, authors, planners, a preservation architect, a retired Greater Oklahoma City Chamber executive, a city councilman, a city clerk, business owners, graphic designers and filmmakers. Our common history is Oklahoma City history. Our youngest member is 17; our oldest members are in their 70s.
Somewhere in the middle of that range is Oklahoman reporter and occasional dustbury.com reader Steve Lackmeyer, who is president of the new organization.