From Interstate 44, take exit 41 (Key Gate) and turn west on Sheridan Road. Turn rightonto Randolph Road and drive .6 mile. Turn right onto Chickasha Road, them immediately left onto Quanah Road. The museum visitors' center is Building 435 on your left. The second building on your left, B437, is the museum administrative office.
From Lawton, follow Fort Sill Boulevard northbound onto Fort Sill. Turn right at the stop light onto Sheridan Road, eastbound. Turn left at the stop light onto Geronimo Road, northbound. Cross Randolph Road and turn right on Quanah Road. The third building on your right is the museum center, 435 Quanah Road.
Admission to the Fort Sill Museum is free and open to the public daily from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., except December 25-26 and January 1-2. The Larter Art Gallery is open Wednesday through Sunday, 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Guided tours for large groups may be arranged by contacting the Fort Sill Museum office at 580-442-5123. Persons wishing to donate items to the museum, provide historical information, arrange museum tours, or gain access to research facilities should contact the museum office, 437 Quanah Road.
The museum is open 7:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m., Monday through Friday.
The site of Fort Sill was staked out on January 8, 1869 by Maj. Gen. Philip H. Sheridan who led a Campaign into Indian Territory to stop hostile tribes from raiding border settlements in Texas Kansas.
Sheridan's massive winter campaign involved six cavalry regiments accompanied by frontier scouts such as"Buffalo Bill" Cody, "Wild Bill" Hickok, Ben Clark and Jack Stilwell. Troops camped at the location of the new fort included the 7th Cavalry, the 19th Kansas Volunteers and the 10th Cavalry, a distinguished of black "buffalo soldiers" who constructed many of the stone buildings still surrounding the old post quadrangle.
At first the garrison was called Camp Wichita and referred to by the Indians as "the Soldier House at Medicine Bluffs." Sheridan later named it in honor of his West Point classmate and friend, Brig. Gen. Joshua W. Sill, who was killed during the Civil War. The first post commander was Brevet Maj. Gen. Benjamin Grierson and the first Indian agent was Colonel Albert Gallatin Boone, grandson of Daniel Boone.
Several months after the establishment of Fort Sill, President Grant approved a peace policy placing responsibility for the Southwest tribes under Quaker Indian agents. Fort Sill soldiers were restricted from taking punitive action against the Indians who interpreted this as a sign of weakness. They resumed raiding the Texas frontier and used Fort Sill as a sanctuary. In 1871 General of the Army William Tecumseh Sherman arrived at Fort Sill to find several Kiowa chiefs boasting about a wagon train massacre. When Sherman ordered their arrest during a meeting on Grierson's porch two of the Indians attempted to assassinate him. In memory of the event, the Commanding General's quarters were dubbed Sherman House.
In June 1874 the Comanches, Kiowas and Southern Cheyennes went on the warpath and the South Plains shook with the hoofbeats of Indian raiders. The resulting Red River Campaign, which lasted a year, was a war of attrition involving relentless pursuit by converging military columns.
Without a chance to graze their livestock and faced with a disappearance of the great buffalo herds, the hostile tribes eventually surrendered. Quanah Parker and his Quohada Comanches were the last to abandon the struggle and their arrival at Fort Sill in June 1875 marked the end of Indian warfare on the south Plains.
Until the territory opened for settlement, Fort Sill's mission was on of law enforcement and soldiers protected the Indians from outlaws, squatters and cattle rustlers.