The Oklahoma History Center is a museum that educates its visitors about the history of the State of Oklahoma and its people. The museum collects, illustrates and disseminates knowledge about Oklahoma and the Southwest from prehistoric Native American tribes to the present day. It is a division of the Oklahoma Historical Society which aims to conserve and maintain the history of Oklahoma. The museum is also an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institute.
The Oklahoma History Center opened in 2005, after ten years of construction, with a mission of preserving the State?s history by utilizing the highest standards of meticulous care on its collections, by hosting diverse permanent and travelling exhibits and by showcasing multi-disciplinary educational programs.
The museum features five historic and interactive exhibits that were designed by the Haley Sharpe Design Limited of Washington, D.C and Leicester, Great Britain. Each exhibit has its own theme that includes subjects such as the State?s artistic achievements, the tribes that became part of its history, the oil and gas explorations that helped in the progress of the state, and the settlement description of its people. There is also a special gallery that hosts in-house and roving exhibits.
On the first floor of the museum building, two galleries welcome its visitors. On the south end is the Inasmuch Gallery and on the north end is the ONEOK Gallery. The Inasmuch Gallery illustrates not just Oklahoma?s achievements in the field of arts but also the exceptionally diverse inhabitants and its influence in the development of its rich history. In this gallery, Oklahoma?s culture is also presented, including the state?s entertainment importance as a land of Cowboys and Indians with Wild West shows, its ground-breaking innovations in radio and television broadcasting such as the vacuum tubes, and how sports and sporting events unified the communities and how it affected the lives of many.
To represent the 39 American Indian tribes that form part of Oklahoma?s diverse culture, the ONEOK Gallery features the interesting background of the natives of Oklahoma and gives its visitors a one of a kind experience in discovering the past and link it to the present. Here, visitors will learn about the natives? dwellings, their ways of living, their languages, their spirituality, their sovereignty and most specially their origins.
At the third floor of the museum there are two galleries, the Kerr-McGee Gallery on the south end and the Noble Foundation Gallery on the north end. At the Kerr-McGee Gallery, African American culture is described here, but the most prominent of all exhibits is the oil and gas exploration history as well as Oklahoma?s military contributions dating back to the Spanish expeditions in the 16th century. One of the most fascinating pieces here are those found from an 1830?s riverboat that was excavated just recently. The gallery also discusses entrepreneurial and industrial history with a 3D rendition of an oil derrick.
The Noble Foundation Gallery is about Oklahoma?s governmental and political history. Here, artifacts, images and first-hand narratives of participants provide great information about the lives of the natives and how they turned ranches into farms and cities. Visitors can also learn about law and order, urban frontiers and weather that Oklahoma natives dealt with during their existence.
Lastly, the Special Exhibits Gallery of the museum hosts various presentations such as exhibit about rock and roll, the music and artists behind it. An interactive Latino exhibit is staged here to also showcase cultural diversity in the state. Also on display here are the Oklahoma Apollo 11 Moon rock and the Apollo 17 Goodwill Moon Rock; two moon rocks the Nixon Administration conferred to the people of Oklahoma.