Oklahoma Historical Society eyes Tulsa spot for Oklahoma Museum of Music and Popular Culture

The Oklahoma Historical Society is in talks with Bank of Oklahoma to acquire a full square block of land where it hopes to build a 67,000-square-foot museum.
BY BRANDY MCDONNELL bmcdonnell@opubco.com Published: May 7, 2011
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“We're just saying it'd be worth investing the money in this, that it will generate more economic activity and serve a lot purposes,” he said.

Creative spirit

The OK Pop would feature Smithsonian-quality exhibitions showcasing the state's contributions to music, movies, TV, radio, literature and more. History Center exhibits such as “Another Hot Oklahoma Night: A Rock & Roll Exhibit,” “Chester Gould and Other Okie Cartoonists” and “Pickin' and Grinnin': Roy Clark, ‘Hee Haw' & Country Humor” would form the foundation of the OK Pop's offerings.

Jeff Moore, formerly the History Center's exhibitions director, has accepted the job as director of the as-yet-unbuilt museum. Creativity is “one of Oklahoma's major exports, and I don't think the state has always recognized that,” he said.

“It's got so much potential to do so much good for the state in so many ways, including in kind of self-identity, just increasing awareness of how creative and amazing the people of this state are and have been. There's just so many stories,” he said.

“Oklahoma deserves it. The creatives of Oklahoma deserve it, and Oklahoma needs to be inspired by it. And the world needs to know that Oklahoma's story is an international story.”

Hundreds of artists have offered their support and collections, ranging from Garth Brooks and Kristin Chenoweth to the families of the late Bob Wills and Gould, he said.

Business plan

Conservatively, the OK Pop would draw about 100,000 paid visitors a year, plus another 100,000 unpaid guests such as those attending special events, Blackburn estimated.

The museum would have an anticipated $1.8 million annual operations budget, and he anticipated the museum would be able to pay for its operations from the first year through a planned $3 million endowment, annual fundraising efforts and various revenue streams including admissions, gift shop sales, special event rentals and a planned parking garage. The parking garage would serve BOK employees, the museum and the surrounding area.

“Providing adequate parking will be an important element of this project,” Boudiette said. “Downtown currently has many parking options, and as the Blue Dome and Brady districts continue to expand within the corridor between ONEOK Field and the BOK Center, parking facilities for downtown workers and visitors will be in high demand.”



IN BRIEF

Man pleads not guilty

— A man accused of stabbing to death a Shawnee man pleaded not guilty this week to first-degree murder. Court proceedings had been delayed while Peter Stephen Floch, 34, underwent a psychiatric evaluation. Floch is accused of killing Jimmie Leroy Simon, 71, on May 12. Floch was arrested May 14, according to court records. He has waived his right to a preliminary hearing and is set to appear in court Tuesday, May 31. He is held in the county jail without bail.

Bicyclists get road space

— The Moore City Council this week passed an ordinance requiring drivers to give bicyclists 3 feet of roadway when driving past them. The ordinance was proposed by Councilman Terry Cavner. City Attorney Randy Brink said cyclists are supposed to bike in the same direction as traffic and remain as far over to the side of the road as possible. Drivers can be fined up to $500 for not giving cyclists the required space when passing.

ANN KELLEY, STAFF WRITER

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