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!

Crystal Bridge Conservatory Lobby

(301 W Reno Ave) 445-7080

Jan. 16 - March 1

Oklahoma: All That Southwest Jazz

The photographic exhibit features Oklahoma legends instrumental in creating the music form. Using narrative text and historic photographs, visitors can trace Oklahoma blues lineage from Count Basie, who began his climb to stardom from Oklahoma City’s “Blue Devils,” to Yale native Chet Baker’s contribution to the art form. Among legendary jazzmen who staged their early careers in Oklahoma are Jimmy Rushing, Charlie Christian, Lester Young, Earl Bostic, and more.

March 10 - April 15

Kaleidoscope of Colors

The Gardens present a unique perspective on the colors of spring with an orchid and spring flower show. Hundreds of orchids, spring flowers and colorful tropical plants will be on display in exhibits and arrangements inside the conservatory. Outside, see thousands of more tulips, daffodils and other spring flowers.

Fred Jones Jr. Museum of 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.


Jan. 26 - April 2

PHOTO/SYNTHESIS is an exhibition of photography by Will Wilson. Wilson, working with curator heather ahtone, photographically responds to Edward S. Curtis’s original work of portraits made in 1927 by photographing descendants of the same communities.

Abbreviated Portrait Series: Poteet Victory

Jan. 27 - April 2

Native Oklahoma artist Poteet Victory (Cherokee/ Choctaw) distills portraits of celebrities and other iconic figures to the most minimal forms and associated colors.Victory’s portraits employ common mental cues or triggers commonly associated with popular personalities, the titles of which are abbreviated in a manner akin to popular acronyms.

Gaylord-Pickens Museum

(1400 Classen Dr.) 235-4458

Oklahoma Pride: The Next 50 Years of Oklahoma Art

Jan. 19 - April 8

Artists in the wake of WWII took a new look at creative expression and progressive politics, like T.C. Cannon and Jack Vallee. Artists such as Eugene Bavinger, Doel Reed and Wallace Owens Jr,, along with other artists of the time, focused on self-expression, self-discovery and concepts beyond arts ordinary function.

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.

General Tommy Franks Leadership Institute and Museum

(507 S. Main St, Hobart) 580-726-5900

9/11: Never Forget

Opens Sept. 11

‘Never Forget’ is a new permanent exhibit that will showcase a 14-foot- long, 3,000-lb. steel I-beam from the World Trade Center, one of the few remaining pieces to be released from The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.  Areas are also dedicated to the Pentagon and Flight 93 and our nation’s response featuring President Bush’s address, vowing that America, its friends and allies would “stand together to win the war against terrorism.” The exhibit is designed to place visitors into the day in New York City and give them an opportunity to pay homage to the nearly 3,000 men, women and children from 93 nations who perished that day.

Mabee-Gerrer Museum of Art

(190 W MacArthur, Shawnee) 878-5300

Saints and Sinners

Dec. 17 - Jan. 29

Saints and Sinners features Renaissance to contemporary paintings of saints. Accompanying each painting, the life story of each saint reveals how these once sinners became saints.

The Art of John Hernandez

Feb. 11 - March 26

Drawing on popular culture, John Hernandez’s paintings and sculptures seem caught in a psychedelic moment. His dynamic polychrome forms confront the viewer with familiar yet fragmented forms: a virus, a cartoon figure, a carnival.

National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum

(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.

Oklahoma History Center

(800 Nazih Zuhdi) 522-0765

Child Labor in Oklahoma: Photographs by Lewis Hine, 1916–1917

Child Labor in Oklahoma: Photographs by Lewis Hine, 1916–1917 is a snapshot of images by Lewis Hine whose photography captured the soul of the child laborer in north America in the early 1900s. Hine photographed in Tulsa, Oklahoma City, Lawton, Shawnee, Okmulgee, Sulphur and a few other small communities. Cameras from Hine's era and photographs of similar subject matter from the Oklahoma Historical Society photograph archives will also be on exhibit.

Oklahoma Celebrates the National Historic Preservation Act

The Oklahoma History Center's newest photographic exhibit celebrates the 50th anniversary of the signing of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) into law and its positive impact on historic preservation. The exhibit is located in the West Family Hall of the Oklahoma History Center. The twenty-nine images included in the display illustrate how the NHPA fosters the preservation of significant buildings, structures, sites, districts, and objects across Oklahoma.

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.

Oklahoma City Museum of Art

(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.

Oklahoma Contemporary Arts Center

(3000 General Pershing) 951-0000

ArtNow 2017

Jan. 9 - 20

ArtNow, an annual exhibition and art sale, showcases works from Oklahoma’s top artists. The 2017 exhibition will end with the "party with a purpose" the night of Jan. 20.

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.

Red Earth Art Center

(6 Santa Fe Plaza) 427-5228

Kiowa Black Leggings: Through the lens of Lester Harragarra

Feb. 25 - March 31

Kiowa Black Leggings: Through the lens of Lester Harragarra features photographs of the Kiowa Black Leggings Warrior Society as seen through the camera of the award-winning photographer from Yukon, OK, Lester Harragarra

Sam Noble Museum

(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.

Science Museum Oklahoma

(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.

Scattering Light

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.

Red Dirt Dinos: An Oklahoma Dinosaur Adventure

Oct. 3 - March 27

After trips to museums around our state, "Red Dirt Dinos: An Oklahoma Dinosaur Adventure" returns to Science Museum Oklahoma. Featuring three animatronic dinosaurs, the exhibit explores the great giants that once roamed Oklahoma.

Sole Expressions: The Art of the Shoe

Opens 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.

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