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Gilcrease Museum announces closing date, takes next steps in construction of new building

Posted at 8:08 AM, Apr 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-15 19:34:54-04

Gilcrease Museum is closing its doors on July 4, at the end of the day, as the City of Tulsa prepares to demolish the current structures and begin construction of a new museum on-site.

The current structure of Gilcrease is a collection of several aging buildings that have been pieced together over several decades. A new structure on-site is being built that can better protect the museum's collection, worth over $2 billion, while also delivering a 21st-century visiting experience.

“We’re excited about this next step toward building the new museum. The structure and its galleries will provide great new experiences for Tulsans and the entire region as well as a much safer environment to protect Tulsa’s asset,” said Gilcrease Museum Executive Director Susan Neal.

The construction of a new structure is expecting to last over several years. Gilcrease expects to open its doors to visitors again in early 2022.

“The citizens of Tulsa own one of the world’s greatest collections of American art and history at Gilcrease Museum," Mayor G.T. Bynum said. "Now, we are going to build a museum facility worthy of that collection – a museum that has more space to showcase our world-class collection while also serving as the only facility in the state capable of housing major traveling exhibitions."

Before Gilcrease closes for construction on July 5, Neal said the museum has planned a busy schedule of events and exhibitions for the community:

  • Offering its Music on the Porch live music series every Thursday night from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. on the porch of the Gilcrease house through June 24. The socially distanced events feature timed admission to the museum’s galleries, food trucks, wine and beer cash bar, and outdoor family activities. Tickets are limited and advanced registration is required.
  • Several special events for museum members
  • A special document exhibition featuring Gilcrease’s copies of the Declaration of Independence and the Emancipation Proclamation is also scheduled to open in mid-June through July 4.
  • Assignment Tulsa, a photography exhibition highlighting the works of Tulsa photographers, is currently on view through close.

“We’re also planning some special ways for Tulsans to share their memories of the current museum,” added Neal. “Gilcrease holds a special memory for many in our community, whether it was their first trip to a museum as a child or their wedding day. We intend to commemorate those moments, and we encourage people to come visit the building one last time before we launch a new chapter in the life of this important Tulsa treasure.”

Neal said the City of Tulsa, in coordination with the design team and museum staff, is finalizing preliminary designs and interpretive plans for the new Gilcrease museum site and will share architectural renderings of the building and galleries later this summer.

Gilcrease Museum was established by Tulsa oilman Thomas Gilcrease in 1949 as a private museum, according to the museum's historypage. The museum was built on the site of Gilcrease’s personal home northwest of Tulsa. The City of Tulsa then took ownership of the museum and its collection in the 1950s.

To plan a future visit to the museum before it closes, Gilcrease's planning page has more details.

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