Gilcrease Museum is the world’s leader in western art and artifacts with a permanent display of over 10,000 art pieces the Gilcrease Museum is a treasure trove of the American West. However the 10,000 artifacts that can be seen at one time is just the tip of the iceberg because this Tulsa art museum has over 400,000 pieces that relate to America and its expansion west.
The museum collection mostly comes from the private collection of Thomas Gilcrease a member of the Creek Nation who struck it rich when grant of land was on one of the largest oilfields in Oklahoma. Gilcrease with his good business sense increased his holdings and created his own oil company. With his vast wealth and love of art and his people Gilcrease started collecting various western artifacts and art. His wonderful collection is now on display in this wonderful museum.
The Gilcrease Museum has a stunning variety of both art and archaeological collections. There are more than 10,000 paintings, drawings, prints, and sculptures included in the collection. Their exhibit areas include collections on Ancient America, the Southwest, Mesoamerica, Native American traditions, a kids activity center, and the Kravis Discovery Center which has thousands of cataloged artifacts. The museum also has a restaurant and a vista room with floor to ceiling windows overlooking the Osage Hills.
One of our favorite galleries was the Landscapes of Thomas Moran which were several sketches of the west. Moran is one my favorite artists because his subject is a place that love to travel to which is the American West. Karen was very impressed with the Kravis Discovery Center and looking through what seems like hundreds of drawers of artifacts. She could have stayed in that room all day going through western objects that included everything from clothing to dolls to weapons.
Besides all of the wonderful things that are permanently housed there the Gilcrease Museum also brings in world-class exhibits. One of the reasons that we decided to visit the Gilcrease Museum was that they had a George Washington exhibit for a limited time. The Washington exhibit was very exciting for me to see because as a U.S. history teacher I got to see some of the artifacts that i just got done telling my class about. For example, earlier that week we were discussing Washington’s role in the French and Indian War. I then got to see a large diorama of the battle of Fort Necessity. I also got to see George Washington’s last set of dentures and despite what elementary school teachers had taught my students they were not made out of wood. I went back to school that next Monday I told them that I actually got to see Washington’s teeth and I told them once again they were not made out of wood, but actually a variety of things and none of them wood. Now the Washington’s exhibit is no longer there but after just checking the Gilcrease Museum website there are several exhibits that coming that look very interesting.
Another great thing to check out while visiting the Gilcrease Museum is many gardens that they have on the museum grounds. The museum has over 450 acres and 23 of them have been designed to enhance the artwork and sculptures found through the different garden areas. The gardens reflect different time periods including but not limited to Pre-Columbian Colonial and Pioneer. The garden and park areas have extended hours so check the website to find out more about the beautiful gardens at the Gilcrease Museum.
Karen and I really enjoyed our time at the Gilcrease Museum. It will definitely be on our list of must see if we ever go back to the Tulsa area. If you are interested in western history at all then the Gilcrease Museum needs to be on your destination list.
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Located at 1400 Gilcrease Museum Road, Tulsa, OK
Hours of Operation- Tuesday through Sunday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. closed Mondays and Christmas Day
Cost as of this Posting- Adults 19 to 61 $8.00 Seniors 62 and over $6.00 Children 18 and under are free
For more information visit their website at http://gilcrease.utulsa.edu/