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Gilcrease Museum To Close Effective July 4 For Demolition, With New Facility In The Works

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Gilcrease Museum
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The Gilcrease Museum will close its doors at the end of the day on July 4th and be demolished, making way for a new museum building to be put up in the same spot.

"You may recall, the current museum structure – a collection of several aging buildings pieced together over many decades – will be completely rebuilt to modern museum standards, giving our $2 billion collection a more uniform and secure home that will serve it (and Tulsans) for generations to come," museum executive director Susan Neal said in a Thursday letter. "With the new building will come a new interpretive plan that will bring the collection to life like never before and deliver a 21st century visitor experience. Construction will begin in early 2022 and is expected to take 2-3 years."

"We are excited to be at this important threshold, but we also acknowledge the many memories made at Gilcrease Museum over the past 72 years," Neal said. "We are grateful for your support and look forward to sharing the journey ahead with you. The museum remains open for the immediate future and I welcome you to revisit some of your Gilcrease favorites. Spring at Gilcrease is beautiful and I hope you will participate in some of our upcoming programs and activities."

"The citizens of Tulsa own one of the world’s greatest collections of American art and history at Gilcrease Museum. 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,” Mayor G.T. Bynum said in a statement.

“Building the new museum necessarily requires closing the old building," Bynum said. "But the short-term inconvenience of a closed museum will be worth it for generations to come when the new museum opens.”

The museum says it will be hosting a number of special events before its closing, including live music on the grounds each Thursday night, members-only functions, and an exhibition featuring the museum's copies of the Declaration of Independence and the Emancipation Proclamation.

Note: KWGS is licensed by the University of Tulsa, which operates the museum.

Chris joined Public Radio Tulsa as a news anchor and reporter in April 2020. He’s a graduate of Hunter College and the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism, both at the City University of New York.
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