Sod House to unveil sculpture of Marshal McCully on Saturday

The Sod House Museum near Aline will unveil a bronze sculpture of Marshal McCully, the builder of the sod house, from 1-3 p.m., Saturday, May 15, to continue the celebration of the 126th anniversary of the sod house. Sen. Roland Pederson, Rep. Carl Newton and OHS Board of Directors President Dr. Deena Fisher will assist with the unveiling of the sculpture.

Renowned sculptor and painter Burneta Venosdel created the likeness of McCully and will be on-site for the unveiling of her bronze sculpture, which she is donating to the museum, paying homage to settlers and her pioneer roots. In 2015, Venosdel presented a program at the museum explaining her sculpture techniques. It was then that she was inspired to create a sculpture of McCully.

“As a sculptor, my subject matter is connected to my upbringing and pioneering roots in northwestern Oklahoma,” said Venosdel. “I am driven to express myself and record these subjects in bronze.” Venosdel also has 22 pieces of her artwork on display at the museum through May. A portion of the sales from this exhibit benefit the Friends of the Sod Museum.

Venosdel was raised on a small farm in Oklahoma where the land run of 1893 rooted her family. She took a painting class from a local artist at the age of eight and knew then she wanted to become an artist.

Not realizing her dream until in her sixties, Venosdel has accomplished much in a very short time… a sculpture placed in the Fort Sill Indian Journey Museum, Lawton, Oklahoma, a Featured Artist’s Show at the Museum of Western Art, Kerrville, Texas, a three-woman Show at The Carriage Factory Art Gallery, Newton Kansas, unveiling of a sculpture at The Museum of Contemporary Art in Hot Springs, Arkansas and teaching 48 high school students Western Art Academy at Schreiner University are just a few of the highlights of her short career.

Founding member of Preserving Arts in the Osage, Venosdel has helped organize and bring fine art shows to Pawhuska and helped establish the Ole’#1 FireHouse Arts Center. Venosdel has volunteered many hours to education, mentoring, and working on the larger than life size monument of actor Ben Johnson for Bronze Horse Foundry, in Pawhuska. Other accomplishments include helping to form the TOSS (Tulsa Sculpting Society) as a secondary group of the Oklahoma Sculpture Society. 

She taught a sculpting class in the rotunda of the Woolaroc Museum near Bartlesville…greeting visitors from all over the world, during the three-day workshop.

Venosdel has volunteered at PleinAir events and set up workshops. She is past co-chair for the 48th WAOW National show in Bartlesville and is on the Women Artists of the West board as Vice President. 

Most sod houses only lasted three to eight years, but Marshal McCully lived in his sod house for 15 years. Thanks to the efforts of preservationists, the soddie is still standing after 126 years. The Friends of the Sod House Museum will celebrate this milestone with refreshments, door prizes and a drawing for a queen-sized “Nine Patch” quilt made by the group. The Friends work behind the scenes to assist the museum with funds needed for new exhibits and necessary repairs. At this time, they are assisting the Oklahoma Historical Society by raising funds needed for supplies to replace the exterior of the facility.      

The Sod House Museum is open Tuesday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and is located southeast of Aline on State Highway 8. For more information contact Director Renee Trindle at 580-463-2441 or sodhouse@okhistory.org.

The Sod House Museum is a division of the Oklahoma Historical Society. The mission of the Oklahoma Historical Society is to collect, preserve and share the history and culture of the state of Oklahoma and its people.

Founded in 1893 by members of the Territorial Press Association, the OHS maintains museums, historic sites and affiliates across the state. Through its research archives, exhibits, educational programs and publications the OHS chronicles the rich history of Oklahoma.

For more information about the OHS, please visit www.okhistory.org.

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