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Cultural Museums in Oklahoma
With more than 250 museums offering ways to learn about history, science and art appreciation, spend the day exploring everything from western heritage to cultural museums in Oklahoma. Enjoy a wide range of Western art and artifacts, all celebrating the life and times of Thomas Gilcrease, at the Gilcrease Museum in Tulsa, or head to the Philbrook Museum of Art offering a wide range of art from around the globe. Found in the city of Claremore, the Will Rogers Memorial Museum features eight galleries, a wealth of exhibits, and plenty of artifacts across 16,000 square feet.
If your Oklahoma visit has you exploring the Panhandle region, be sure to check out the Old Town Museum Complex in Elk City, which celebrates and preserves the history of the western Oklahoma pioneers of 1892. Explore Oklahoma’s old western past at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in OKC, or check out the Oklahoma City Museum where you'll find one of the largest collections of Chihuly Glass art in the world. Make sure to pay a visit to the Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum honoring the lives lost in the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building. An ideal destination for families, the Tulsa Zoo & Living offers an expansive variety of animals on display. The kids will especially enjoy the Tropical American Rain Forest, and the Robert J. LaFortune Wild Life Trek.
Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art
Founded in 1936, the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art is a university-based fine art museum located on the campus of the University of Oklahoma just outside of greater Oklahoma City. The museum notably features nearly 17,000 pieces spread across its many impressive collections.
Noteworthy collections include the Weitzenhoffer collection of French Impressionism and the Eugene T. Bialac Native American Art Collection. The museum hosts a variety of special events and lectures, like Art Adventures occurring weekly and OU Lab Theatre.
Named in honor of oil man and art collector Thomas Gilgrease, Gilcrease Museum is located just northwest of downtown Tulsa, Oklahoma. In addition to a number of Central American artifacts and South American artifacts, the museum holds the largest collection of the art of the American West.
History buffs and literature fans relish in over 100,000 books, manuscripts, and maps – including a letter from Diego Columbus dating back to 1512. Special tours through Gilcrease Museum’s gardens are also available, drawing thousands of visitors each year.
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
Founded in 1955, the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum showcases an impressive collection of fine art, Native American artifacts, firearms and historical cowboy gear. This Oklahoma City museum has become America's "premier institution of Western history."
The 8,000-square-foot gallery houses seven galleries, featuring impressive sculptures, a replica of a Old West cattle town, and even an interactive children's area. The National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum also houses three Halls of Fame commemorating the men and women who have aided in preserving American West heritage.
With year-round events hosted by the museum, any time of the year is a good time to stop by during your visit to Oklahoma City. Seeing the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum is just one of 24 things to do in Oklahoma in 24 hours!
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
Originally established in 1945, the three-story Oklahoma City Museum of Art is set in the Arts District in downtown Oklahoma City.
Special to OKCMOA, one of the world’s largest Chihuly glass collections is found right inside, along with a museums school, museum café, and a museum store.
OKCMOA features a collection of European, American, and contemporary artworks on the second and third floors, along with up to four current exhibits, including NEW FRONTIERS Series for Contemporary Art.
Tours are available for the OKCMOA in downtown Oklahoma City.
Old Town Museum Complex
Great for history buffs, the Old Town Museum Complex honors western Oklahoma pioneers from 1892, who persevered in their quest to establish homesteads on Arapaho and Cheyenne land. The historical artifacts in the Pioneer Museum allow visitors to learn what Elk City near Weatherford was like long ago.
Oklahoma Panhandle visitors also enjoy strolling through the Beutler Brothers Rodeo Hall, the Train Depot, the Wagon Yard, Livery Stable and the Farm and Ranch Museum. The National Route 66 Museum and Transportation Museum are also great places to spend an afternoon.
Philbrook Museum of Art
More than just a museum, the Philbrook Museum of Art is a place to dine, shop, and celebrate a special occasion near the Arkansas River.
Visit this Tulsa museum to view the collection of fine art from Africa, Europe, Asia and America in the exhibitions and permanent collections. Browse the collection of books, gift items and art in the Museum Shop or enjoy a delicious meal in the la Villa Restaurant.
Stroll through the beautiful outdoor gardens, while listening to the audio tour and admire the wonderful plants, flowers and peaceful surroundings. The gardens' sculpture walk and pathways provide an escape from a busy Tulsa area day.
Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History
Founded in 1899, the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History is a natural history museum located on the University of Oklahoma campus in the OKC suburb of Norman. The museum features a permanent collection of nearly seven million items across 12 collections.
Spanning nearly 50,000 square feet, the museum is thought to be one of the largest university-based natural history museums in the world. Plan your visit accordingly – the museum frequently rotates intriguing exhibits, as well as hosting special events like Sooner Saturday and Free First Monday for Kids.
Sherwin Miller Museum of Jewish Art
Boasting a collection of over 10,000 pieces, the Sherwin Miller Museum of Jewish Art is located in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The museum is part of the Fenster/Sanditen Cultural Center, which it shares with the National Council of Jewish Women Holocaust Education Center.
As the only Jewish museum in the Southwest, the Sherwin Miller Museum houses the most extensive collection of Judaica in the region.
The headquarters of the Jewish Historical Society of Oklahoma and Oklahoma Jewish Archives, the museum houses exhibits like the Herman & Kate Kaiser Holocaust Collection, which focus on survivors who settled in Oklahoma after World War II.
Will Rogers Memorial Museum
The Will Rogers Memorial Museum showcases a wonderful collection of artifacts and photographs of Will Rogers, as a celebration of his life.
Located in northern Oklahoma, near Owasso, the museum's memorabilia is featured in eight galleries in a 16,000 sq. ft. building. Visit the museum to view the family tomb in the garden on the site's twenty acres.
Rogers planned to retire on the site when he purchased the land in 1911. After his death, his widow and children donated the land and much of the collection.
Stroll through the library and archives to view the 18,000 piece collection of Will Rogers documents, photographs, manuscripts and letters.