Crews will break ground on the Oklahoma Museum of Pop Culture this fall in downtown Tulsa.
On Monday, the design of the building was revealed for the first time.
The more than 50,000 square foot building will be built across from the iconic Cain’s Ballroom on Main Street.
Special guest and Oklahoma actress Mary Kay Place introduced the new design.
While the museum has shown several “speculative” renderings, Monday’s drawings were the first from the architects. One spokesperson said the design reflects the “grit and glitz” that highlights the struggle and thrill of making it big, paying homage to Oklahoma artists and their journeys to stardom.
“They really had a dream and worked hard to get there, but they achieved enormous success in show business,” said OKPOP Executive Director Jeff Moore. “For the building to reflect those two concepts is really exciting.”
Carolyn Wills, the daughter of Bob Wills, said the reveal was more emotional than she expected.
“And everything has come together and the right things have happened at the right time,” she said. “For it to be built across the street from the Cain’s Ballroom, how perfect.”
OKPOP will be funded through a $25 million bond issue and is expected to bring in millions of dollars annually. The museum will be filled with artifacts, photos, video and audio recordings, all representing Oklahoma’s creative history.
It wasn’t an easy road getting to this point. The legislature voted against the bond issue four separate times, until recently passing by one vote.
“One day you are not going to find anybody in the legislature to say they voted against this,” said Dr. Bob Blackburn with the Oklahoma Historical Society. “It is going to be such a success everyone is going to claim they were part of it.”
On Monday, city councilors, developers, architects, and the chamber were all on board and ready to watch OKPOP tell the Oklahoma story to thousands of Tulsa visitors every year.
Blackburn says, “We keep investing and gaining new partners and the vision will become a reality, so, it just shows people, if they have a dream, they shouldn’t give up.”
Moore says the museum will have unique hours, often staying open late, to reflect the hours of the other entertainment venues.