Guide to Current Museum Exhibits
Oklahoma City is home to many world-class museums and historical venues. Throughout the year, you can learn about a wide variety of topics through special exhibitions and displays.
This guide will help you find all the exhibits currently on display is museums across the OKC metro. This list is updated frequently, so check back often for new exhibits and other learning opportunities!
(301 W Reno Ave) 445-7080.
Through May 14
Sixteen oil on canvas works of art by Oklahoma artist Marc Barker on display at Myriad Botanical Gardens’ Crystal Bridge, South Lobby. Baker has more than 12-years experience in the field of interactive media and more than 20 years experience in the arts. He also draws inspiration equally from his backgrounds in science and art.
(555 Elm, Norman) 325-4938
The Cultivated Connoisseur: Works on Paper from the Creighton Gilbert Bequest
Through June 4
Creighton Eddy Gilbert (1924-2011) was a renowned art historian specializing in the Italian Renaissance and was one of the foremost authorities on Michelangelo. Dr. Eric Lee, former director of the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art, encouraged Gilbert to leave his private collection to the museum. The bequest includes a total of 272 objects, the majority of which are works on paper, spanning a time period from the fourteenth century to the twentieth.
Journey Toward an Open Mind
Through July 9
The collages in this gallery were inspired by PHOTO/SYNTHESIS, a photography exhibition by Will Wilson on view Jan. 27–April 2, 2017. Adapting themes from the exhibition, including the way we identify and represent ourselves, several students from Mission Academy High School created their own mixed-media self-portraits with direction from Oklahoma City photographer Shelby Hartzell. Discovering who you are can be a lifelong process, and for many of us, this journey begins as teenagers. Mission Academy is a recovery-based learning environment that helps teens reclaim their lives from addiction while rebuilding a healthy sense of selfhood. The works in this gallery express a range of emotions that reflect this process, but ultimately create a powerful statement about hope and the art of finding yourself.
Joe Andoe: Horizons
April 21 - Sept. 10
Contemporary artist Joe Andoe (b. 1955) was born and came of age in Tulsa, surrounded by churches, trees, highways, and horses, motifs that recur in his paintings and prints. Andoe considers himself a painter of landscapes and of things that inhabit the land. Andoe’s often stark, monochromatic images fosters contemplation and a sobering awe at the transience of life.
Picher, Oklahoma: Catastrophe, Memory, and Trauma
June 13 - Sept. 10
On May 10, 2008, a tornado in the northeastern Oklahoma town of Picher struck the final blow to a onetime boomtown. The lead and zinc mining that had given birth to the town had also proven its undoing, earning Picher the distinction of being the nation’s most toxic Superfund site in 2006. Todd Stewart’s photoessay Picher, Oklahoma: Catastrophe, Memory, and Trauma explores the otherworldly ghost town.
(431 S Boulevard, Edmond) 340-0078
Barbers in Edmond
Feb. 21 - Dec. 16
Barbers in Edmond: A Historic Trade tells the story of Edmond’s barbers, through the tools of the trade, photographs and advertisements. The profession has faced many challenges as changes in hygiene and the increase in modern conveniences led more men to do their grooming at home, turning a visit to the barber shop into a luxury rather than a part of daily life.
Trees in Our Town
March 11 - April 29
The Arbor Day Poster Contest originally began as a nationwide educational program for fifth grade students sponsored by the National Arbor Day Foundation. The Edmond Urban Forestry Commission and Edmond Public Schools’ art teachers saw value in continuing this program at the local level even after the contest ended nationally in 2011. Today Edmond area fifth grade students contribute to the exhibit each year.
(1400 Classen Dr.) 235-4458
Cowboys & Indians by Harold T. "H" Holden and Mike Larsen
April 20 - August 26
Featuring drawings, paintings and sculptures by the prolific, Oklahoma artists and Oklahoma Hall of Fame Members Harold T. “H” Holden and Mike Larsen, the exhibition captures history and heritage.
(190 W MacArthur, Shawnee) 878-5300
The Art of Jaime Arrendondo
May 13 - July 1
Born and raised in Dallas, Texas, Mr. Arredondo is the son of a Native American father of Mexican heritage, and a Tejana mother. He is a life-long artist and teaches at both Yale and New York University.
(1700 NE 63rd) 478-2250
Power and Prestige: Headdresses of the American Plains
August 26 - May 7, 2017
War bonnets are an iconic image of the American West, yet the truth behind these emblematic items is more complex than the name would indicate. Going back centuries, feather headdresses played a formalized role in both war and ritual. This exhibit explores the history and development of the Native American bonnet with a particular emphasis on the “flared” style—the most recognizable and commonly worn North American Great Plains bonnet. Headdresses, ledger art, and photographs from the museum's permanent collection, as well as headdresses from the Gilcrease Museum and the Oklahoma History Center will be on display.
Designed to complement the temporary exhibition, the Museum also offers a fun activity space to explore bravery, pageantry, artistry, community and respect for culture and diversity. The Power and Prestige Children’s Gallery features dramatic scenes and stories, a mapping journey, a story station reading area, make-and-take activity areas and continuous programming to engage children to explore on their own, in small groups or as a family.
The Artistry of the Western Paperback
Jan. 21 – May 14
During the 1940s and 1950s, book illustrators created dynamic and engaging paperback covers for western tales of cowboys, villains, duels and danger. They might not have been sold in galleries or taken months to complete, but they remain testaments to talent and skill. Study the works of A. Leslie Ross, Robert Stanley, George Gross, Stanley Borack, Tom Ryan, and Frank McCarthy.
A Yard of Turkey Red: The Western Bandanna
Feb. 3 – May 14
A rare collection of period bandannas provides visitors a glimpse of authentic neckwear once sought after by young horsemen on the range and later popularized in Western fiction.Many a 19th-century cowboys bought a square yard of Turkey red cloth at the local mercantile and proudly tied it around his neck. The bright red material derived its name from the traditional Turkish process of dying cotton fabric.
Hollywood and the American West
Feb. 3 – May 14
Candid, intimate and raw, these photographs showcase private access to the greatest movie stars, musicians and directors of all time. Subjects include John Wayne, Natalie Wood, Ann-Margret, John Ford, Gregory Peck, Paul Newman, Kirk Douglas, Bing Crosby, Danny Glover, Kevin Costner, and more.
Lowell Ellsworth Smith: My Theology of Painting
May 27 - July 9
Ohio watercolorist and Prix de West winner, Lowell Ellsworth Smith (1924-2008), once referenced his theology of painting during an interview. Short but meaningful, the phrase summarized his relationship with art. It was more than a hobby or pastime. More than a career. It was the lens through which he saw and experienced the world. Lowell Ellsworth Smith: My Theology of Painting explores this personal process and approach. Featuring watercolor studies and Smith’s own words and observations, it introduces the man, his methods, and his belief in the power and potential of creative energy.
Cartoons & Comics: The Early Art of Tom Ryan
July 21, 2017 - April 1, 2018
Dating from 1936 to 1945, the small drawings provide a snapshot of Ryan’s high school and Coast Guard years. Original characters Dan the Cop and Joe Campion Jr. spring from his teenage imagination.
Life and Legacy: The Art of Jerome Tiger
Aug. 25, 2017 - May 13, 2018
August 2017 marks the 50th anniversary of the passing of one of Oklahoma’s most celebrated artists—Jerome Tiger. Having only painted for 5 years, Jerome Tiger produced hundreds of works of art and won numerous awards throughout the country. Today, his work is shown in museums across the nation and he is recognized as one of the greatest Native American artists.
We the People: A Portrait of Early Oklahoma
Aug. 19 - Oct. 22
In 1891, Henry M. Wantland and his young family arrived in Oklahoma Territory and settled in Stillwater, a small town born of the Land Run and bustling with opportunity and ambition. He eventually purchased a photography studio and spent the next two decades recording the world around him—not just the people, but the streets they walked, the stores they frequented, the churches they attended, and the progress they celebrated. The diverse and vibrant communities of central Oklahoma emerge from his photographs.
(120 David L Boren Blvd, Norman) 325-3095
National Weather Center Biennale
April 23 - June 19
The international juried exhibition focuses on weather in contemporary art. The Biennale features selected works, including the prizewinners, and is free and open to the public daily from 7 a.m. - 7 p.m. Photo ID needed for check in.
(3000 General Pershing) 951-0000
Jeffery Gibson: Speak to Me
Feb. 9 - June 11
Jeffrey Gibson is a multimedia artist whose practice includes painting, sculpture, fiber, ceramics, video and performance. His solo exhibition will feature recent artworks that draw upon his Native American heritage (Choctaw and Cherokee) and intertribal aesthetics and traditions.
Lester Harragarra: Photos of Northern Plains Culture
Feb. 9 - June 11
Lester Harragarra is an enrolled member of the Otoe-Missouria Tribe and a descendant of the Kiowa Tribe. Accompanying the Jeffery Gibson exhibition, the beautiful, large-scale photographs taken at powwows and other cultural gatherings illustrate how Jeffrey Gibson sources materials (like beads, jingles, fringe and coins) from cultural realms and combines them with influences from his own life.
Coded_Couture: Fashion Intersecting Technology
June 29 - Aug. 10
CODED_COUTURE features the work of 10 international artist-designers whose inventive techniques are rooted in new technology. These practitioners each use coding as a key element, as part of the manufacturing process or as an interactive element while the garment is worn.
Guerrilla Art Park 2017
June - Labor Day
Features an outdoor sculpture exhibition of sculptures submitted by local artists.
(415 Couch Dr) 236-3100
The Complete WPA Collection: 75th Anniversary
Dec. 16 - July 2
In 1935, in an effort to curb the mass unemployment of the Great Depression, President Franklin D. Roosevelt created the Works Progress Administration (WPA), one of a number of domestic programs known collectively as the New Deal. While much of the WPA was focused on improving the nation’s infrastructure, it also provided substantial resources for the arts and artists through the Federal Art Project (FAP), which employed 3,500 artists by 1936, and was instrumental in launching the careers of Jackson Pollock, Willem De Kooning, and Stuart Davis, among many others.
The Unsettled Lens
Feb. 18 - May 14
This exhibition showcases new acquisitions in photography and photographs from the permanent collection, stretching from the early twentieth-century to the year 2000. By converting nature into unrecognizable abstract impressions of reality, by intruding on moments of intimacy, by weaving enigmatic narratives, and by challenging notions of time and memory, these images elicit unsettling sensations and challenge our intellectual mastery of the new.
After the Floating World: The Enduring Art of Japanese Woodblock Prints
Feb. 18 - May 14
Images carved onto wooden blocks used to create colorful prints on paper are among the most famous Japanese art forms. These prints, popular in Japan from the 17th through the 19th centuries, are known as Ukiyo-e, which translates as “pictures from the floating world.”
Illuminations: Rediscovering the Art of Dale Chihuly
This museum houses one of the most comprehensive collections of Chihuly glass in the country. See these delicate pieces of glass art alongside drawings and other works by Dale Chihuly.
(2101 NE 50th St) 424-3344
Wallaby Walkabout showcases two species of the popular Australian marsupial. The new habitat enables guests of all ages to walk through a portion of the exhibit to observe and experience these lively, yet smaller relatives of the kangaroo in a safe, up-close environment. Wallaby Walkabout is located in front of the Children’s Zoo barn and encompasses the entire grassy knoll area. The exhibit features three large lounge areas for the wallabies with shade structures for optimal rest opportunities. The habitat is open daily from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., weather permitting, and is free to experience with regular Zoo admission.
The Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden planted waves of yellow, pink, red and purple tulips in specific color combinations and patterns to complement the Zoo’s landscape. More than 100,000 tulips, daffodils, hyacinths, irises and hundreds of blooming trees and shrubs are showing their colors. While some tulips may only bloom for three weeks, bulbs were selected to ensure new blooms will appear every week in waves of new colors from now through May. Just as the original gardens inspired Oklahoma photographers over a century ago, guests are encouraged to take photos, post them to social media and tag them with #OKCZOO and #OKCZOOBLOOMS.
(800 Nazih Zuhdi) 522-0765
This newly-expanded exhibit offers a glimpse of one of the earliest examples of western steamboats ever discovered. On May 6, 1838, Heroine was navigating the Red River on its way to Fort Towson to deliver much-needed supplies to the soldiers stationed there. Just twenty minutes from its destination, Heroine hit a snag and quickly sank. Although the majority of the superstructure of the Heroine had long since disintegrated, the surviving components were used to create an representation of the original vessel, as well as a look into the lives of the people of that era. Among the artifacts found in the wreckage were a number of personal items belonging to the crew and passengers.
On Behalf of the Pioneers: The Oklahoma Century Chest 1913-2013
The Century Chest time capsule was buried on April 22, 1913, in the basement of the First Lutheran Church of Oklahoma City. One hundred years later, on April 22, 2013, the church opened the chest and revealed the perfectly preserved contents deposited by the pioneers of Oklahoma. The exhibit opening marks the 125th anniversary of the Oklahoma Land Run of 1889. Visitors can view never-before-seen photographs, documents and American Indian artifacts and hear Oklahoma pioneer Angelo C. Scott's speech delivered at the burial of the chest in 1913.
Photographing the Plains: Depression Era Images from the FSA
This exhibit features 20 black and white photographs by six Farm Security Administration photographers who photographed in Oklahoma or captured images of Oklahomans seeking work elsewhere.
Tipi with Battle Pictures
While doing regular upkeep on the American Indian collections housed within the Oklahoma Museum of History, an Oklahoma History Center curator discovered a rolled canvas tipi that had been forgotten for many years. This tipi is known as the Tipi with Battle Pictures. The tradition and history embodied by this tipi can be traced ultimately to 1833 when Little Bluff became the sole leader of the Kiowa people.
Crossroads of Commerce: A History of Free Enterprise in Oklahoma
This exhibit tells the story of economic development in Oklahoma through five time periods from 1716 to the present day, connecting the dots between history and economic development in a way that celebrates creativity and hard work and inspires young people to take a chance. The exhibit features a number of structural reproductions and interactive opportunities. Visitors will see an actual truss from the Wiley Post Hangar and enter the simulated cockpit of a Lockheed Vega airplane. Other features include scenes of a newspaper printing operation, grist mill, cotton gin, grain elevator, Cain's Ballroom, a TG&Y store in the 1950s, the studios of WKY-Radio and WKY-TV, the Shelter Church Studio and the Thunder scoreboard from Chesapeake Energy Arena.
(2401 Chautauqua, Norman) 325-4712
Roots of Wisdom: Native Knowledge. Shared Science
Jan. 28 - May 7
In Roots of Wisdom, stories from four indigenous communities are brought to life in real-world examples of how traditional knowledge and Western science combine to provide complementary solutions to contemporary concerns. From restoring ecosystems to rediscovering traditional foods and crafts, Roots of Wisdom helps guests understand the important issues facing indigenous communities and discover innovative ways native peoples are solving challenges and strengthening the growing movement towards sustainability and the reclamation of age-old practices.
Ugly Bugs: Celebrating 20 Years of the Oklahoma Microscopy Society’s Ugly Bug Contest
Feb. 11 - June 18
The Oklahoma Microscopy Society is celebrating 20 years of the Ugly Bug competition with an exhibit of 2016’s ugliest bugs. The competition was designed to get Oklahoma students interested in microscopy and entomology at a young age. The rules were simple: each school can submit one bug — the uglier, the better. The resulting images are weird, strangely fascinating and, well, downright ugly.
Great Balls of Fire
May 20 - Sept. 10
The threat of a catastrophic impact from an asteroid or comet is a staple of popular culture. Learn the answers to common questions and explore the science of the solar system. This exhibit was created by the Space Science Institute’s National Center for Interactive Learning, with funding from the National Science Foundation and NASA.
(2020 Remington Pl) 602-6664
The exhibit displays the work of five artists and scientists. The work of Thomas Shahan, whose work has appeared in National Geographic, features stunning macro portraits of spiders. Photographer Christian Bruggeman details the surface of the human iris. Visitors can compare actual insect specimens with the larger than life photo-stacked prints by artist Bob Sober, and guess what is revealed in the SEM photography in the “Eye of Science “ a collaboration by Oliver Meckes and Nicole Ottawa. MAGNIFIcence also includes hands-on exploration. Guests will be able to use digital microscopes to project different materials, specimens and even themselves onto a gallery wall, and various lenses will be on display for guests to experiment with magnification, distortions and enlargements.
Reflect on the power and majesty of the Oklahoma’s severe weather at “Scattering Light,” an exhibit of oil paintings by David J. Holland featuring a storms and cloud scapes. To produce the paintings, Holland takes as many as 100 photos of a storm as it develops. He then chooses one photo of the storm at its most dramatic stage to paint.
Sole Expressions: The Art of the Shoe
Opened Feb. 18
“Sole Expression: The Art of the Shoe” features 25 shoe designers and artists from throughout the state, nation and world and includes six unique elements, from how shoes have been interpreted in art throughout history to local artists’ interpretations of their relationships with shoes.