From cowboys to dinosaurs and fine art to pop art, Oklahoma’s museums are a place to find education, information and entertainment, typically at a low cost.
Oklahoma is home to more than 300 museums, historic sites, zoos and botanical gardens, tribal cultural centers and other museum-related institutions.
In the metro area, there are more than 50 museums featuring photography, aviation, cowboys, art, musical instruments and more.
In 2011, the Oklahoma City Museum of Art hosted a Bible display like none before it. Numerous biblical artifacts and other items from the Green family collection were displayed May 16-Oct. 16, 2011, at the Oklahoma City Museum of Art in downtown Oklahoma City.
The artifacts featured in the “Passages” exhibit drew numerous church groups, schools and others interested in the history of the Bible and the commemoration of the 400th anniversary of the King James Version translation.
Parts of the exhibit later were exhibited at the Vatican.
More than 50,000 people visited “Passages” in Oklahoma City.
“It’s turned out to be a huge success on so many levels. We’ll always consider Oklahoma City our home because this is where it started,” said Scott Carroll, director of The Green Collection, in an Oct. 2011 interview. “It’s been very gratifying to be here. It’s a wonderful museum.”
Though the “Passages” exhibit has moved on, The Oklahoma City Museum of Art continues to have elegant exhibitions. “Princely Treasures: European Masterpieces 1600-1800 from the Victoria and Albert Museum” is on display through May 13.
Many museums contribute to the state’s economy, not only through the salaries of museum employees but, more importantly, from dollars tourists spend visiting restaurants and seeing other recreational sites nearby. Admission to most museums is free or at a small fee.
Oklahoma museums are in part funded by the Oklahoma Arts Council.
A report from the Oklahoma Museums Association reports that the Oklahoma Arts Council’s state appropriation of $4 million is less than a tenth of 1 percent of the state budget and that 80 percent of funding goes directly to communities across the state. OAC funding sustains Oklahoma’s $314.8 million nonprofit arts and cultural industry and more than 10,000 jobs, according to the report, and the industry generates $29 million in state and local tax revenue.