Many people, especially in big cities, view pigeons as flying rats whose primary profession is taking a crap all over the place. Yet pigeons are incredibly intelligent and the relationship between humans and these often shimmering birds is extensive.
The American Pigeon Museum honors this long-standing interaction and the simple majesty of the birds themselves. First forming in 1973 as the American Homing Pigeon Institute, the organization was initially devoted to the sport of training pigeons. In 1993, the organization expanded, purchasing ten acres in Oklahoma City where they opened the pigeon museum and the affiliated “World of Wings” pigeon center. The museum gave the institute a place to house and display the ever increasing number of artifacts and memorabilia that it was accumulating from practitioners of the sport and other collectors.
In 2013, the museum was expanded into its new facility where it remains today. Among the displays, many of which are named after pigeon researchers and enthusiasts, there are a number of statues, paintings, clocks, ads, and even mounted wings. Most engagingly are the extensive displays on the role of homing pigeons in World Wars I and II. The exhibits honor specific hero birds and there are also a number of military artifacts related to the use of the trained couriers such as message pouches.
The museum and library also holds an extensive collection of live pigeons of various breeds so that visitors can see the wide and colorful variety of the birds. They even have flight shows. One visit to the American Pigeon Museum and you’ll start thinking of the term “dirt bird” as a slur.