Historical Society Receives Donation For New Museum

Monday, August 10th 2009, 5:08 pm
By: News On 6

By Chris Wright, The News On 6

TULSA, OK -- The Oklahoma Historical Society continues to push for a proposed Pop Museum.  The $33 million so-called celebration of pop culture would be built in the heart of the Brady District.

The Pop Museum would be pricey, but the Oklahoma Historical Society says it would be a fitting tribute to Oklahoma entertainers.  When cartoonist, writer, and native Tulsan Michael Vance decided to donate his body of work, someone suggested the Oklahoma Historical Society.

After hearing about the society's plans for a pop culture museum, he decided to contribute the comics and novels he has written over the course of more than 30 years.

"They have some exciting plans for Tulsa.  They said this might be the beginning of something for Tulsa in accepting this collection," said Michael Vance.

Bob Blackburn, the society's executive director, is leading the push for pop.  He says the museum would be on par with Cleveland's Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and Seattle's Experience Music Experiment.

"Tulsa is the perfect place for a museum on popular culture, not just in Oklahoma, but for the entire country," said Dr. Bob Blackburn with the Oklahoma Historical Society.

The 45,000 square foot museum would feature a giant LED screen and several levels.  Also, 16,000 feet would be used for exhibits paying homage to Oklahoma legends in literature, music, television and radio.

"We're going to share this history with everyone that connects through our own memory and this popular culture, and how it expresses the Oklahoma spirit," said Dr. Bob Blackburn with the Oklahoma Historical Society.     

Oklahoma Pop would come with a price tag.  The historical society hopes to secure $25 million in taxpayer money.  The remaining $8 million needed for its construction would come from private donors.

Despite the funding obstacles, Blackburn believes the pop museum will become a reality, and be a boon to downtown.

"People have memories of seeing those movies, listening to those songs, traveling that Route 66. We can tap into those memories," said Dr. Bob Blackburn with the Oklahoma Historical Society.           

If it happens, the Oklahoma Historical Society says the museum would be completed and open for business in four years. 

5/19/2009 Related Story: Oklahoma Pop Museum May Be Built In Tulsa