Claremore Firearms Museum Fights For State Funding

Friday, February 25th 2011, 9:29 pm
By: News On 6

Laura Moss, News On 6

CLAREMORE, Oklahoma -- Claremore leaders are arming themselves with education to fight for museum funding being yanked from the state budget.

The J.M. Davis Arms and Historical Museum is preparing for their financial future.

"We do actively and very efficiently use taxpayer's dollars for caring for this collection," Jason Schubert said.

Curator Jason Schubert says they've seen their budget recess with the economy over the past few years.  The museum receives $300,000 a year from the state; funding a state house committee voted to shoot down this week.

"We're very concerned about it," Cassie Woods, a spokesperson for the city of Claremore, said. "Not just for the sake of Claremore but for the sake of Oklahoma because like I said those people are coming in from other states from other areas, they're not just stopping in Claremore."

The museum has the largest private collection of firearms in the world, with artifacts like a colt walker revolver dating back to the late 1840s. That and other artifacts in the museum are temporary property of the state with 54 years left on the lease.

"He created a foundation where all the artifacts would go to the state of Oklahoma on a 99 year lease for $1 if the state would build a museum and maintain it," Wayne McCombs, Executive Director, said.

Museum Directors say now the state wants to break the contract. So they are bringing that and other high caliber information to the legislators.

"As they say, this place is loaded so we are going to try our best to present our case," McCombs said.

While education may be their first line of financial defense, museum leaders are also staying busy with grant writing and working businesses and the city of Claremore for extra funds.

"I don't want to think about worst case scenario," Schubert said. "We're gonna be working to do our very best, we're going to be working with the legislators, we're gonna be working with outside sources to continue to bring in outside funds. We're not giving up. "