Demolition Begins On Historic Gilcrease Museum

Tuesday, January 25th 2022, 10:30 pm

TULSA, Oklahoma -

It's time to say goodbye to the historic Gilcrease Museum. Demolition starts January 26.

The multi-million-dollar project is expected to be complete by the end of 2024.

There will be big changes happening.

Crews will start demolition on the north end and work their way south.

"I know lots of people are emotionally attached to the museum, but the museum is really the collection," said Susan Neal, Executive Director.

Executive Director Susan Neal said the Gilcrease Musuem includes five buildings within the core structure, with about 36 separate roofs.

"Starting with the 1913 carriage house. An addition in 1949. An addition in 1963 I believe. An addition in 1975. An addition in 1987," said Neal.

Neal said 1987 was the last time the museum saw a true upgrade.

"I am one of those people who are attached to this place. I was married in Gilcrease Museum. It'll be 40 years this next August. I have many happy memories here with my children and my family," said Neal.

Neal said none of the buildings are up to code for museum standards.

She said they've spent the last two years consulting with community members and the 35 tribes whose artifacts are represented in the collection.

Neal said the number one recommendation they've received is to incorporate the grounds into the visitor experience.

The 460 acres will feature a 91,340-square-foot building, trails, an outdoor amphitheater, educational opportunities, and host world class traveling exhibits.

"Do I think it'll lose its charm? I think it'll make the visitors experience for Tulsans dramatically improved," said Neal.

Neal said they are making loans to a number of prestigious museums across the country and are preparing a traveling exhibit in partnership with the American Federation of Arts.

The new Gilcrease Museum is being funded through both public and private groups.

Neal said the city of Tulsa contributed $65 million approved by voters through Vision Tulsa.

In addition, the A.R. and Marylouise Tandy Foundation gave a lead gift of $10 million.

The museum is raising additional funds while finalizing the plans for the new project.

Neal said the project is being led by Flintco.

The demolition is not open to the public.