Tulsa Moves Forward with Discovery Lab, World-Class Renovation of Gilcrease Museum

Courtesy photo
OPENING DAY CELEBRATION: In celebration of the Discovery Lab at the ribbon cutting Jan. 24 are, from left, Jamie Oliphant, Campaign Committee Chair and founding board member; Ray Vandiver, Discovery Lab’s Executive Director; G.T. Bynum, Mayor of Tulsa; Dr. Deborah Gist, Tulsa Public Schools Superintendent; and Anne Mannell, Discovery Lab’s Director of Organizational Development and founding board member.

Earlier this year Tulsans saw $73 million of their money at work in two separate museums.
On Jan. 24, we opened Discovery Lab – Tulsa’s newest museum located along Riverside Drive next to Gathering Place that was funded in part by $8 million of Vision Tulsa tax dollars.

And on Jan. 26, we started demolition of Tulsa’s old Gilcrease Museum to make way for a new and much-improved museum – a project that is funded in large part with $65 million of Vision Tulsa tax dollars.

Discovery Lab is a world-class museum that started as a dream from a group of parents who wanted children and families in Tulsa to have the ability to access new experiences in science and innovation. As their work progressed, Discovery Lab’s first facility opened at Owen Park. Subsequently, voters approved this larger and custom-designed building that is now open to the public after several years of construction.

Tulsa would not have this world-class amenity without the work of these parents. They worked tirelessly to convince voters of the importance of this museum and championed it every step of the way. I am incredibly grateful for them, for Tulsa voters, for the private donors, and for the museum’s executive director Ray Vandiver and his passionate team for working together to make this dream a reality for future generations of Tulsans.

And two days after we cut the ribbon at Discovery Lab, we started demolition of the old Gilcrease Museum, which for many Tulsans was a bittersweet event that symbolized our love for the memories we made in the old museum, but the hope we all share as we look to make memories in a new, world-class museum.

With a groundbreaking expected later this year, Gilcrease Museum, which is home to the greatest collection of American art and history outside of that owned by the federal government, will boast a vastly improved visitor experience and a state-of-the-art exhibition space. The new 83,500-square-foot building will bring new opportunities for people to explore the stories of our country through art, culture and history.

I thank Tulsa voters, private donors, museum staff, and so many others who have worked to move these projects forward.

Tulsa voters have trusted the City and our community partners with moving Tulsa forward, and I’m thankful these two museums reflect that spirit and vision.

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