Having grown up just five minutes from the Arcadia Round Barn on Route 66, I have to admit that I’ve taken it for granted. However, this architectural wonder and historic site set the area apart.
In our effort to highlight all of the best museums in Oklahoma, we spoke with Kimberly Burk, publicist and volunteer coordinator, to share what makes this museum special, why you should visit, and what you need to know before you go.
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Everything You Need to Know to Plan Your Visit to the Arcadia Round Barn
Here’s what you need to know before you visit!
Where is the museum located?
The Arcadia Round Barn is located at107 E. Highway 66, which is six miles east of the intersection of Interstate 35 in Edmond.
What topics does the museum cover?
Topics include the building and restoration of the Round Barn, Route 66 history and memorabilia, Oklahoma agriculture, the history of the town of Arcadia, history of the Kansas, Arkansas and Texas Railroad and stories and artifacts from the families who built the barn and lived in the area at the time it was built.
What is your museum’s claim to fame?
The red-painted 122-year-old Round Barn is an architectural wonder and one of the most-photographed sites on Route 66.
The interior of the loft is the crown jewel of the barn. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is the only round barn on Route66.
Many thousands of visitors from across the world visit the barn every year.
What is your favorite exhibit or artifact in the museum?
The first stop on the tour of the barn’s downstairs museum is the story of how the barn was built and how it was restored. Visitors marvel at what the builders were able to accomplish in 1898 without benefit of a crane or power tools.
Artifacts handed down through the families of pioneer homesteaders and donated to the barn after it was restored are also popular.
What kinds of special exhibits and events do you host throughout the year?
There’s live music every weekend at the Round Barn, presented by professional musicians.
Car clubs visit throughout the summer, parking their vehicles across the street near the historical marker. Veterans are invited to a free breakfast every year on Memorial Day.
The loft can be rented for private events such as weddings and birthday parties. To rent the loft, call 405-396-0824.
Are there guided tours available? What topics do they cover, how does someone sign up, and what languages are they held in?
Round Barn volunteers offer guided tours in English to all visitors. Guided tours for large groups can be arranged in advance, but pre-arrangement is not required. Tour buses are always welcome.
In some cases, interpreters can be provided with advance notice for languages other than English. To arrange a guided tour, call 405-396-2286.
How much time should someone plan to spend at the museum?
Visitors are welcome to stay for as long as they wish. Picnic tables beneath the shade trees on the north side of the barn provide a nice place to relax.
Visitors who want to read all the storyboards and text that accompany the exhibits should plan to stay at least 30 minutes.
What should someone bring with them and what items are not allowed in the museum?
Wear comfortable shoes suitable for climbing the stairs to the loft.
Strollers are not provided.
Smoking is strictly forbidden.
Service dogs are welcome, as are other small, well-behaved dogs on a leash.
Is photography allowed inside (without flash)?
Photography is allowed inside and outside the barn.
How can one purchase tickets and how much do they cost? Can guests use credit cards?
Admission is free, but donations pay the bills and are encouraged. The suggested donation is of $2 per adult. The Round Barn does not sell tickets.
Debit and credit cards and cash are accepted for donations and gift shop sales. Checks are also accepted.
Does the museum have a bag check or coat room?
What should parents of young children know before visiting the museum? What is there for kids to do?
Many of the exhibits are of as much interest to kids as they are to adults. There is also a children’s table where kids (and their parents) can play chess or checkers or create craft projects.
Some of the items in the museum and gift shop are breakable.
Children should not climb on the vintage farm implements outside the barn as they could be dangerous.
The windows in the loft are open when the weather is nice, but they are not screened, so young children should not go near the open windows without parental supervision.
Is the museum accessible?
Handicap-accessible parking spaces are in the parking lot on the north side of the barn. The downstairs museum is accessible through the southwest door, but the loft can be reached only by stairs.
The barn does not provide wheelchairs.
What’s the coolest item for sale in the gift shop?
Visitors love the rose rocks, which are found only in Oklahoma. Handcrafted souvenir items that feature vials of Oklahoma’s red dirt are also popular.
There is a vintage and a gently-used section of the gift shop that treasure hunters love.
What’s the tastiest thing for sale in the cafe or snack stand?
The Round Barn offers free coffee and sells bottled water, but does not have a food concession. Arcadia has several restaurants and convenience stores.
What are your normal days and hours of operation?
The barn is staffed by volunteers and is open every day except Thanksgiving, Christmas and when the weather is severe. Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
What should teachers planning a field trip know before reaching out to you?
The barn offers educational opportunities in several subject areas, including history, architecture and agriculture.
Children with disabilities might not be able to climb the stairs to the loft.
The gift shop has many items priced at $5 or less, if students are interested in shopping.
Tables and chairs are available if the teachers would like to make the Round Barn a lunch or snack stop.
What else should a visitor know before visiting?
The small town of Arcadia offers several other historical sites and tourist attractions. Free Arcadia brochures are available in the barn, as well as Oklahoma tourism brochures.
Clean restrooms are on the premises.
The nonprofit Round Barn is owned and managed by the Arcadia Historical and Preservation Society, which relies entirely on donations and gift shop sales to maintain the historic structure.