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Oklahoma pop museum gets support from stars but lacks go-ahead from Legislature

Oklahoma lawmakers would have to authorize a $42.5 million bond issue this year in order for the Oklahoma Museum of Popular Culture to open in 2017 in Tulsa, the director of the state's historical society says.
BY MICHAEL MCNUTT mmcnutt@opubco.com Modified: May 6, 2013 at 11:18 pm •  Published: May 7, 2013

Actress Mary Kay Place lent her support — and some of her movie wardrobe — to an effort to build a pop culture museum, while the head of the Oklahoma Historical Society urged lawmakers to authorize a bond issue for the project.

Bob Blackburn said Monday no additional state appropriations are needed to construct or operate the Oklahoma Museum of Popular Culture in Tulsa, but the Legislature would need to support a $42.5 million bond issue for the project to move forward.

He said he is concerned that a donation of land in the Brady Arts District for the OKPOP Museum and parking garage may be revoked if the bonds don't proceed.

“It's critical,” he said. “If that donation were to fall through for that location, I'm not sure the business plan works. ... If we don't do it this year, we'll miss that opportunity.”'

Blackburn made the comments after Place, a Tulsa native, talked with legislators in both the House of Representatives and Senate chambers.

Place, who graduated from Nathan Hale High School and the University of Tulsa, starred in the “Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman” TV series, the movie “The Big Chill” and the HBO series “Big Love.”

Place donated the cowboy hat and outfit she wore as would-be country and western star Loretta Haggers on the 1976-77 “Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman” TV series and a sweater from the 1983 movie “The Big Chill.”

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