BOK Commits Land For Tulsa Pop Culture Museum

Tuesday, May 10th 2011, 12:03 pm
By: News On 6

Emory Bryan News On 6

TULSA, Oklahoma – Oklahoma Historical Society Director Bob Blackburn said the Bank of Oklahoma is committed on land for a proposed downtown Tulsa pop culture museum.

The plan calls for a top quality museum on what's now a parking lot for the Bank of Oklahoma tower.

Blackburn briefed Tulsa City Council Tuesday morning and said they would like to build a 600 space parking garage in conjunction with the museum to replace lost parking.

Blackburn said it's now a political question as to whether they get the votes for the bond issue

05/06/2011 Related Story: Funding Hurdles Ahead For Downtown Tulsa Pop Culture Museum

"I don't need another museum. I need an institutional home in Tulsa, to deliver our services in this area," Blackburn told City Councilors.

Blackburn said he's been asked by legislators why not put the collection in Oklahoma City, but the Historical Society wants something in Tulsa.

"This will be an unconventional museum. We will be open at night. We'll have a regular series of entertainers who will come in and share their creative spirit," he said.

The Tulsa City Council is on board with the idea of another major development downtown - and hopes to twist some arms to get funding from the state capitol. The museum has a $1 million start from George Kaiser.

"It's just going to be a great part of the engine of the Brady District and downtown Tulsa for decades to come," said Ken Levit of the George Kaiser Family Foundation.

And the museum already has a director.

"We were are already collecting those stories, we just needed a new venue to share those stories," said Jeff Moore, OK Pop Project Director.

What the museum doesn't have is the state funding that's exactly what an Oklahoma City museum is in line for.

The museum will pay sales tax; employ 18 or 19 employees and many volunteers. The Tulsa Chamber of Commerce estimates it would generate $3 million in tax revenue annually.

The City Council will vote Thursday night on a resolution of support for museum.