This intriguing museum reflects the legacy of Thomas Gilcrease, born in 1890 in Indian Territory. Gilcrease’s tribal membership eventually entitled him to an allotment of 160 acres of land south of Tulsa—land that became one of the area’s major oil fields. With his newfound wealth, Thomas financed travel throughout Europe in the 1920s and 1930s, and the art he saw there inspired him to start a collection. He eventually deeded everything to the city of Tulsa; it’s now jointly managed by the city and the University of Tulsa.
Museum highlights include the "Dreams and Visions" exhibit, with a variety of Western sculptures including bronzes by Remington and Charles Russell, as well as paintings such as the stunning "Shoshone Falls on the Snake River" by Thomas Moran. The Kravis Discovery Center holds thousands of early-American objects (dolls, moccasins, pipe bowls and war clubs), most contained in drawers so visitors can examine them up close. Stop in the Gilcrease Gallery to watch a short documentary about Gilcrease himself. Grounds take in a Victorian garden, rock garden, Colonial garden, vista garden, pioneer garden and a woodland area with a walking trail. If you’re traveling with children, a kids' area inside the museum offers a dig pit and coloring books to keep little hands busy.
The Gilcrease's archival collection contains more than 100,000 books, manuscripts, documents and maps from 1494 to the present. The Helmerich Center for American Research is under construction to house these archives for researchers.
The Gilcrease Museum is open Tuesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (closed Mondays). Adult admission is $8, kids 18 and under get in free.