Oklahoma History Center Explores State's Past and Present
June 11, 2019
The history museum of the state of Oklahoma, the Oklahoma History Center is located on 18 acres across from the state capitol at 800 Nazih Zuhdi Drive in Oklahoma City. Operated by the Oklahoma Historical Society, it explores everything from the ancient past of Native American tribal nations to the state’s present. A Smithsonian affiliate, the center opened in 2005 and offers the chance to experience more than 50 topics and 2,000 artifacts in its 215,000 square-foot learning center. Multiple hands-on audio, video and computer activities are housed in five galleries: Inasmuch Gallery Located on the south end of the first floor, this gallery explores a broad range of subjects, including Cowboys and Indians as entertainment, the state’s pioneering innovations in broadcasting, and the impact of sports and sporting events on Oklahoma communities. This gallery also houses rotating exhibits on cultural diversity and the arts. ONEOK Gallery On the north end of the first floor, this gallery represents all 39 American Indian tribes currently associated with Oklahoma. The ONEOK Gallery offers visitors the chance to explore both the traditional past of the native peoples of Oklahoma, as well as contemporary Native American cultures. There’s tribal music, photography, artifacts, Indian art, and oral histories from Oklahoma tribes. Gallery topics include Native American dwellings, lives, languages, origins, sovereignty, spirituality and tribes. Kerr-McGee Gallery Found on the south end of the third floor, the Kerr-McGee Gallery explores the history of oil and gas exploration in the state, as well as how the state has contributed to military operations throughout its history. The numerous artifacts found here include items found on an 1830s riverboat excavated from the Red River, in addition to a 3-D reconstruction of an oil derrick. Information on the African American experience in Oklahoma, people and pathways, and transportation are found here as well. Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation Gallery Located on the north end of the third floor, the Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation Gallery provides information on the enormous impact land runs and lotteries have played in developing and settling the state. The lives of the individuals who settled the Great Plains are explored through their first-hand accounts, as well as through images and artifacts. Information can be found here on weather and the Dust Bowl, fashions, government and politics, plus farming and ranching. E.L. and Thelma Gaylord Special Exhibit Gallery This gallery hosts revolving exhibits that honor Oklahoma’s rich heritage and citizens. It currently houses Welcome Home: Oklahomans and the War in Vietnam, which explores the impact of that particular war on Oklahoma families, as well as the immigrant families who fled Vietnam at the conclusion of the war and sought refuge in the state. An important part of this exhibit is a Huey helicopter, a type of aircraft extensively used by the U.S. Military during the Vietnam War, which is suspended from the History Center atrium. Outside the Museum Outside the museum, visitors are able to undertake a walking tour of the Red River Valley by taking the history center’s Red River Journey, which includes land forms, vegetation, and important historical locations. Also found on the center’s grounds are an outdoor oilfield exhibit with drilling derrick, a portable derrick, and machinery associated with oil exploration in Oklahoma. Hours and Admission The Research Center is open Tuesday through Saturday, 10:00 a.m – 4:45 p.m. The museum is open Monday through Saturday, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Oklahoma Historical Society members receive free admission, as do children age five and under, plus active military, veterans and their dependents. Adults pay $7, seniors $5 and students $4.