Oklahoma City has excellent museums

Steve and I have spent just about three months in Oklahoma City during my brother’s illness. We visited many museums, attractions, and restaurants during our stay and discovered that Oklahoma City has excellent museums.

We had visited Oklahoma City many times before and visited many attractions (see Every mile is a memory). Still, we’ve never had time available to visit these six museums.

Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum

The Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum is the saddest, sobering, and most thought-provoking museum I have ever visited. This museum was created to honor all affected by the horrendous Oklahoma City bombing on April 19, 1995, including the rescuers, survivors, and victims.

Oklahoma City has excellent museums

This museum includes an indoor museum as well as an outdoor symbolic memorial. Some of the features to be seen outside:

Oklahoma City has excellent museums

The Survivor Tree is an over 100-year-old American elm located in a gravel parking lot next to the explosion. This tree was severely damaged but survives the bombing, earning it the name of Survivor Tree.

Gates of Time. The memorial grounds are entered by passing through a large gate on either side of the memorial property. On one end is a gate labeled 9:01, the last minute before the bombing occurred. The gate at the other end is marked 9:03, one minute after the bombing occurred.

Oklahoma has excellent museums

Reflecting Pool. This shallow pool was put in place between the two gates and fills the space of what was where NW Fifth Street was before the bombing.

Field of Empty Chairs. 168 empty chairs are constructed in nine rows to represent each individual person who lost their lives in the bombing on the nine floors of the Federal Building. Children’s lives lost that day are represented by 19 smaller chairs.

Survivor Wall – Names of survivors of the bombing are inscribed on the remaining walls of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building. More than 600 names are inscribed here.

The indoor museum is designed as a chronological tour through the April 19, 1995 bombing and continues on to follow the days and years of recovery after the bombing. The incredible hope and resilience of Oklahoma City are remarkably illustrated.

I highly recommend a visit here if you find yourself in Oklahoma City. The entire experience is incredibly moving.

First Americans Museum

What an incredible museum this is. Exhibits throughout this 173,000 square-foot facility chronicle the histories of 39 unique First American Nations, all under one roof. Some are permanent exhibits, and some are currently on loan from the Smithsonian.

Oklahoma City has excellent museums

This is a terrific center of education about Native Americans throughout this state’s history and showcases the resilience of Native American nations and the contributions these nations have made to the state of Oklahoma.

Oklahoma City has excellent museums

The Xchange theatre is one of the features found here. Multiple immersive exhibits, videos, maps, and artifacts are on view throughout the property. The most extensive feature is an earthen mound created in honor of First American ancestors. The mound is accessible to the public.

Oklahoma City has excellent museums

Although we did not walk out to the mound, we took the time to have a fabulous lunch at the restaurant. Great food is served here.

Most museums have gift shops, and this is no exception. Many products for sale here were made by Native artists or tribal businesses.

The First American Museum was a long time in construction. The building started in 2006, was halted in 2012, and finally continued construction in 2012.

National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum

I have to say that Oklahoma City museums are not small things. Each of these museums mentioned so far is simply huge! The National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, founded in 1955, is gigantic and has indoor and outdoor exhibits.

Oklahoma City has excellent museums

Fascinating art exhibits, sculptures, painting, leatherwork, and beadwork are displayed here. I was particularly interested in an exhibition that explained Native American tattoo history. You could easily spend two days at this museum.

Oklahoma City has excellent museums

A replica rodeo arena that visitors can walk into is another of the spectacular exhibit creations. This rodeo section contains the world’s most extensive collection of American rodeo memorabilia.

Oklahoma City has excellent museums

At the same time, another wing of the museum contains is a full-sized turn-of-the-century town complete with a school, chapel, and saloon. If you are interested in the old west, this is the place to see.

Oklahoma City has excellent museums

A large outdoor play area for children and a garden is outdoors.

Oklahoma City has excellent museums

Oklahoma City Museum of Art

Oklahoma City has excellent museums

The Oklahoma City Museum of Art, established in 1945, is located in downtown Oklahoma City and contains two floors of primarily American art. The fabulous Chihuly glass collection is a permanent exhibit here. It is well worth the trip downtown just to see this one exhibit.

Oklahoma City has excellent museums

I’ve always been fascinated by glass artwork. One of my bucket list items is taking a glass blowing class, which is on the edge of weird since I have zero artistic ability. Nonetheless, I think it would be great fun to give it a try.

Oklahoma City has excellent museums

The paintings on display are also interesting to see, but these glass-art objects are simply beautiful, as you can see. A lovely gift shop and full-service café are also on the museum’s main floor.

Oklahoma City has excellent museums

Amenities include the Museum Store, a roof terrace, and the Museum Cafe, a full-service restaurant offering lunch, dinner, Sunday brunch, afternoon tea, a full bar, and catering services.

Oklahoma History Center

Oklahoma City has excellent museums

We expected Oklahoma City to have a traditional history museum. This museum, however, encompasses all historical aspects of Oklahoma City including, oil and gas, space exploration, tornadoes, the Land Run, aviation, Native Americans, and even Route 66. Exhibits are also in an outdoor space.

The Oklahoma Historical Society operates the Oklahoma History Center.

The 99s Museum of Women Pilots

Oklahoma City has excellent museums

I have always had a keen interest in flying, and years ago even owned a small private plane. I truly enjoyed the freedom of flying and have always admired women pilots, so I made it a point to visit this museum.

The 99s Museum of Women Pilots contains exhibits focusing on the history of women pilots and displays that honor the current achievements of women pilots. The museum is in a small space but includes an incredible amount of information about women in aviation.

Oklahoma City has excellent museums

The 99s is an international organization established in 1929 by 99 women pilots to support the advancement of aviation for all women pilots. Amelia Earhart was the founder and original president of this organization. This museum houses an extensive collection of Amelia Earhart memorabilia.

The 99s Museum of Women Pilots is a non-profit museum opened in 1999. was Initiated by the 99s. We had a fantastic afternoon learning about these dynamic women pilots, all with huge personalities and extraordinary life stories.

We visited a few other museums in Oklahoma City, but these are our favorites. Next week, please check back to read about other adventures and sites we discovered during our extended visit here.

Living in our RV in Oklahoma City

During my brother’s illness and stay at Heart Hospital, we “camped” in our RV in the Mercy Hospital parking lot, where they have full hookups for six rigs. These RV sites are available, free of charge, to family members of patients in Mercy and Oklahoma City Heart Hospital North.

Oklahoma City has excellent museums

We were so very fortunate to have this amazing amenity available to us and immensely appreciate Mercy Hospital’s hospitality.

Oklahoma City has excellent museums

4 thoughts on “Oklahoma City has excellent museums

  1. Chihuly also has a collection at an art center in St. Petersburg, FL. Amazing. Especially his chandeliers.

  2. I love visiting museums and while having been in Oklahoma City often have yet to see all the ones you mention in your blog. I look forward to it.

    1. They were all interesting and there are more we did not get a chance to visit. Revisit?

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