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! You can also check out our guide to FREE museums in the metro.
(9 E Sheridan Ave) 604-2793; Tuesday – Saturday, 11 a.m. – 6 p.m.; Sunday, noon – 5 p.m.
Adults, $8; kids (5-17), $6; kids (under 5), free; families (2 adults, 2 kids), $15
Women of Banjo
June 2020 – May 2021
Women of the Banjo chronicles the contributions of women to the colorful past, vibrant present and unlimited future of the banjo. From prominent contemporary performers such as Alison Brown and Rhiannon Giddens to pop icons Taylor Swift, Dolly Parton and many others, historic insights, instruments, stage attire, and a glimpse of ever-changing fashion trends all help in the telling of this important aspect of banjo history.
(27 E Edwards St, Edmond) 340-4481; Monday – Thursday, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.; Friday, 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Features the work of a different local artist each month.
- April – James Coplin
- May – Brad McNeil
- June – Joan Frimbureer
- July – Kendall Schulz
- August – Jordan Tacker
- September – Dead Feather (Joshua Garrett)
- October – Lezley Lynch
- November – Behnaz Sohrabian
(431 S Boulevard, Edmond) 340-0078; Tuesday – Friday, 10 a.m. – noon & 1:30 – 4 p.m.
Admission is free.
What’s Cooking, Edmond?
Oct. 16, 2020 – Aug. 2021
(555 Elm, Norman) 325-4938; Tuesday – Saturday, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.; Sunday, 1 – 5 p.m.
Admission is free.
Long Exposure: A Century of Pictorialism
Mar. 2 – June 27, 2021
This exhibition demonstrates Pictorialism’s lasting influence on photographic history through an investigation of its adoption by early proponents of art photography, amateurs, Hollywood portraitists and photographers of the American West. Long Exposure traces Pictorialism’s nineteenth-century beginnings to the present day when contemporary artists continue to manipulate and distort photographic images to create new art.
(1900 W MacArthur, Shawnee); Tuesday – Saturday, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Adults, $5; kids (6-17), $3; Kids (5 & under), free. – Museum is currently offering free admission during July and August. Reservations are recommended.
May 8 – June 20, 2021
Roberto Ugalde is an adept oil painter who expresses the essence of his subjects in a way that draws the viewer into the painting. He masters the use of oils in an impressionistic manner which breaths life to his landscapes and figures.
(301 W Reno Ave) 445-7080; Monday & Tuesday, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.; Wednesday-Saturday, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. Senior hour: Monday & Tuesday, 9-10 a.m.; ages 65 & up & caregivers.
Admission is free to see art.
“As I See It” – Carl Shortt Jr. Photography
March 3 – April 21, 2021
(508 N Peters Ave, Norman) 321-0156; Wednesday – Saturday, 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Admission is free.
Proper Ladies: Dressing to Impress in the Victorian Era
Feb. 25 – April 24
The “Proper Ladies” exhibit features four Victorian ladies in various attire from the late 1800s and early 1900s. Additionally, antique accessories, clothing catalogs and ads, and necessary items for making and embellishing clothing will be displayed throughout the house, along with educational signage discussing the etiquette of fashion. Authentic photos of women from the time period will complete the lesson on dressing to impress.
(1700 NE 63rd) 478-2250; Monday – Saturday, 10 a.m – 5 p.m.; Sunday, noon – 5 p.m.
Adults, $12.50; kids, (6-12), $5.57; kids (5 & under), free
Spiro and the Native American Art of the Mississippian World
Feb. 12, 2021 – April 28, 2021
The Spiro people, and their Mississippian peers, are nearly forgotten in the pages of North American history, yet they created one of the most exceptional and highly developed societies in all of the Americas. This exhibition explores the archaeological and historical data connecting the Spiro site and its people to other communities throughout North and Central America.
Blazing a Trail
Nov. 21, 2020 – May 16, 2021
2020 is the centennial for Women’s Suffrage in the United States. For most of the West, however, suffrage was realized years or even decades before the rest of the country. Blazing a Trail explores why Western Women as a whole were more successful than their Eastern counterparts in achieving polling parity with men.
Close Encounters: Western Wildlife
Nov. 25, 2020 – July 11, 2021
The animals of the American West are as iconic as the landscapes they inhabit. See raccoons, owls, deer, elk, bison, mountain lions, and more. Stand within inches of a grizzly. No binoculars or bear spray required.
Find Her West
Dec. 12, 2020 – May 16, 2021
The American West is difficult to define and far more complex than stereotypes suggest. It is a destination, an experience, an idea, and for some even home. It has few boundaries and crosses cultures, geography, socioeconomics, gender, age, and eras. Photographs and other archival items from the Museum’s Dickinson Research Center reveal this diversity.
Mar. 17 – Aug. 8, 2021
During the unprecedented shutdown of March 2020, The Cowboy was forced to temporarily close its doors and staff was required to work from home. As one of the few employees allowed in the building, Tim took on the additional role of assisting with social media. His mix of dad jokes and positivity quickly resonated with hundreds of thousands of new followers. The unique exhibition is an opportunity for museum visitors and social media followers to physically interact with the online communities formed during the global pandemic and reflect on the challenges and unexpected joys of living through 2020. The exhibition will include displays of viral social media posts, fan gifts, art and letters and Tim’s famed security guard uniform, bolo tie and coffee mug.
Prix de West Invitation Art Exhibition & Sale
June 7 – Aug. 8, 2021
This year’s Prix de West will host nearly 100 invited contemporary Western artists including Ed Mell as well as guest artists Thomas Blackshear II, Huihan Liu and Roseta Santiago and will feature more than 300 paintings and sculptures.
July 9 – Oct. 17, 2021
Mexico’s independence from Spain had continental repercussions for the Americas. Using material culture and art objects from the museum’s collection this exhibition will focus on how Mexican independence influenced the American West, especially the evolution of the American cowboy.
Framework: Exploring the Artistic Process
July 21, 2021 – Feb. 27, 2022
Behind every piece of art is a creative process. People rarely see this framework: the hours of deliberation and preparation; the pages of practice; the energy expended; the materials purchased; the techniques utilized; and the overall approach guiding it all — until now. Explore the artistic process, not the finished piece, in this new Brodkin Contemporary Western Artists exhibition.
Find Your North
Aug. 20 – Oct. 17, 2021
Its name might indicate the eastern origins of those who labeled it, but the American West is far larger than a single perspective. It crosses gender, cultures, eras, age, geography and even directions. For many, it was the West. For many others, however, it was the North. Explore how Hispanic peoples shaped the region and its history, from vaqueros to modern vocabulary, through photographs, maps and illustrations from the Museum’s Dickinson Research Center.
Tattoos: Religion, Reality and ‘Regert’
Aug. 27 – May 9, 2022
Tattooing is a custom dating back thousands of years in North America. Traditionally, women and men used them to visually express tribal affiliation and war honors, as well as connections to divine beings, maturity rites, and social and religious affiliation. These expressions of identity continued on with the person after death—ensuring their place in the afterlife. Explore these traditions and artistic expressions through paintings from the permanent collection and photographs from the Dickinson Research Center.
(415 Couch Dr) 236-3100; Wednesday – Saturday, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.; Sunday, noon – 5 p.m.
Adults, $12; kids (17 & under), free – Complimentary admission offered twice a year during the Museum’s SONIC Free Family Days.
Art in Bloom
April 16-18, 2021
This year’s event will feature 12 floral sculptures – each one an interpretation of a work of art on view at the Museum and created by local florists.
Beaux Arts at 75
Nov. 7, 2020 – April 25, 2021
The Beaux Arts collection is an especially playful and eclectic body of work that includes everything from an idyllic summer landscape by a master Abstract Expressionist to a kitschy 1980s “altarpiece” featuring a pair of photorealistic Dalmatians.
Moving Vision: Op and Kinetic Art from the Sixties and Seventies
Feb. 20 – May 16, 2021
Moving Vision: Op and Kinetic Art from the Sixties and Seventies highlights one of the great strengths of the Museum’s permanent collection–OKCMOA’s extensive, high-quality holdings in Op (optical) and Kinetic (movement) art. Moving Vision will bring together approximately forty works.
The Painters of Pompeii: Roman Frescoes from the National Archaeological Museum, Naples
June 26, 2021 – Sept. 26, 2021
The exhibition features over 80 artifacts and artworks that were buried and preserved during the 79 AD eruption of Mount Vesuvius. During the exhibition, the museum plans to host a series of lectures in the Noble Theater with several of the most renowned scholars in the field of Ancient Roman Art and History.
Classes that will take attendees on virtual visits to Naples and Southern Italy exploring the history, culture, food and wine will begin in January. Additionally, kids can look forward to virtually exploring archeology, Roman deities and mythology through family-oriented virtual classes in the spring.
For America: Paintings from the National Academy of Design
Nov. 6, 2021 – Jan. 30, 2022
For America provides a unique history of American art as told by many of the best-known American artists including masters such as Winslow Homer, John Singer Sargent and Andrew Wyeth. By presenting artists’ portraits together with their representative works, “For America” offers an opportunity to see how the artists viewed both themselves and their country.
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.
(11 NW 11th St) 951-0000; Wednesday – Monday, 11 a.m. – 6 p.m.; Thursday, until 9 p.m.
Admission is free.
Fieldworks: Beyond Measure
Dec. 17, 2020 – April 19, 2021
Beyond Measure features works produced by Fieldworks project collaborators Todd Stewart and Robert Bailey. Professors Stewart and Bailey initiated this program at the University of Oklahoma in 2015. The interdisciplinary residency invites artists, scholars and students to artistically respond to the presence of humans in the American Southwest. Each summer, they visit sites where people have left traces on the land.
Julian Opie: Faime Walking
Sept. 17, 2020 – May 2021
Faime Walking (2016), a double-sided electronic sculpture featuring a simplified moving image of a person in motion, is the first artwork to land in Oklahoma Contemporary’s Sculpture Garden. Installed adjacent to the walkway leading to the new building’s main entrance, this larger-than-life LED monolith display will reflect the movement of visitors as they arrive and depart from the new arts center. In combination with the famous John F. Kennedy quote on American civilization inscribed along the walkway, this installation inspires the sense of forward momentum embodied by Oklahoma Contemporary, the city and our art communities.
Ed Ruscha: OKLA
Feb. 11 – July 5, 2021
This exhibition is a landmark survey of work by Oklahoma-raised, world-renowned artist Ed Ruscha, in his first-ever solo exhibition in his home state. Focusing on his groundbreaking drawings, prints, books, photos, films and graphic design, the exhibition will include works from all stages of his 60-year career. Oklahoma looms large in Ruscha’s work, as a source of inspiration and as a foundation on which his unique perspective on America was first formed. In 1955, he embarked on the first of many road trips — frequently referenced in his art. Ruscha has repeatedly been quoted saying everything he’s done was already part of him when he left Oklahoma at 18.
Crystal Z Campbell: Flight
Opening this Spring
Using light, sound and digital film projection, Flight explores the physical, architectural and cultural residue of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre into the present. Timed with the 100-year commemoration of the massacre, Flight transforms the Artist-in-Residence Studio and Gallery, adding depth to the themes and histories explored in Ed Ruscha: OKLA and Chakaia Booker: Shaved Portions. Crystal Z Campbell is a multidisciplinary artist of African-American, Filipino and Chinese descent who uses film, live performance, sound, painting, installation and writing to amplify underacknowledged histories and public secrets.
Chakaia Booker: Shaved Portions
May 2021 – March 2022
Shaved Portions is a new work by renowned sculpture artist Chakaia Booker. Since the early 1990s, Booker has famously made energetic abstractions out of interwoven beams upholstered with discarded tires. Her expressionistic assemblages turn snarls of rubber fragments into large, elaborate and ornamental sculptures exploring ecological and social ideas of recombination and transformation. Shaved Portions reassembles tires into a towering, cathedral-like space that viewers may enter, created from multiple spiny-edged loops, stacked and linked together in a configuration specially designed for the park.
(1400 Classen Dr.) 235-4458; Tuesday – Thursday, 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.; Second Saturday, 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Adults, $7; kids (6-17), $5; kids (5 & under), free – Complimentary admission offered on the second Saturday of each month and Thursdays between Memorial & Labor Day.
Beatriz. Behnaz. Brummell
Feb. 9 – April 15, 2021
Beatriz Mayorca combines modern materials and techniques with traditional influences, producing unique utilitarian designs with sculptural aesthetics. Behnaz Sohrabian paints bold strokes of color, generating rhythm and texture in her expressionistic portraits, landscapes, and non-objective paintings. Tammy Brummell layers collage and paint, revealing and obscuring, to create her playful mixed-media art.
May 20- Aug. 21, 2021
Jessica Bellamy creates visual journeys in encaustic and mixed media, embellished with natural elements foraged from the Oklahoma landscape. Sunni Mercer’s sculptural torsos radiate feminine elemental power and whisper forgotten mythologies.
Makerspace Mural by Kristopher Kanaly
New to the Museum
Clara Luper (1923-2011) was born and raised in Jim Crow era-Oklahoma and felt firsthand the racial discrimination and injustice that pervaded society. Through her activism with the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and her work as a history educator she spent her life combatting racism and segregation in Oklahoma and the United States. Her tireless efforts helped not only to desegregate public accommodations in Oklahoma, but to improve cooperation and understanding between all Oklahomans, Black and White alike, and her legacy lives on today.
The museum exhibit utilizes archival material to present a timeline of Luper’s life and accomplishments, while the virtual exhibit provides more historical information. As you explore, consider her impact on the Civil Rights movement both in Oklahoma and the United States.
The Life of Clara Luper: A Pioneer of the American Civil Rights Movement
New to the Museum
Kristopher Kanaly is known for his bold, abstract street murals throughout Oklahoma City’s Plaza District and its downtown. Much like his street art, Kanaly is an Oklahoma inspiration with a passion as rich as the state’s history. No matter the city or assignment, Kanaly’s work is distinguishable by the bright colors, abstract figures, and hidden elements.
(800 Nazih Zuhdi) 522-0765; Monday – Saturday, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Adults, $10; kids (6-17), $5; kids (5 & under), free; families (up to 6 people), $25
Born Dry: Prohibition in Oklahoma
Nov. 2020 – Nov. 2021
When Oklahoma became a state in 1907, prohibition was accepted as part of the state’s constitution. The exhibit features 25 black-and-white photographs taken during the decades-long fight over prohibition in Oklahoma, this exhibit explores the debate over the legality of alcohol sales through historical imagery.
Launch to Landing: Oklahomans and Space
Opened Nov. 17, 2020
This exhibit focuses on the many Oklahomans who played a part in the US air and space program, as well as early Oklahoma pioneers of aviation. The centerpiece of the exhibit is the Skylab 4 Apollo Command Module (CM-118). This spacecraft carried the final Skylab crew of astronauts—Gerald Carr (commander), Edward Gibson (science pilot), and William Pogue (pilot)—into space to live and work in the Skylab Orbiting Laboratory or Space Station. Launch to Landing will also feature a number of personal items utilized by astronauts and items that are generally associated with Oklahoma aviators and the U.S. air and space program, such as Oklahoma flags flown in space, a NASA Mission Control console, space shuttle heat shield tiles and lunar samples—also known as “moon rocks.”
In the Vernacular: Everyday Images of Oklahoma Life
June 22, 2020 – June 2021
In the Vernacular: Everyday Images of Oklahoma Life is a celebration of everyday image-making featuring thirty-two photographs from the Oklahoma Historical Society’s collections. Visitors will see fun, quirky, and sometimes odd images of Oklahomans. The photographs on display were captured for a variety of reasons, including souvenir postcards, government archives, magazines, newspapers, and family albums.
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.
(406 E Oklahoma Ave, Guthrie) 282-1889; Tuesday – Saturday, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Adults, $7; seniors (62 & up) & kids (6 – 18), $5; kids (5 & under) free; Family (up to 6 people), $18
A Place for All People: Introducing the National Museum of African American History and Culture
Feb. 2 – May 31, 2021
The commemorative poster exhibition highlights key artifacts that tell the rich and diverse story of the African American experience. From the child-size shackles of a slave and the clothing worn by Carlotta Walls on her first day at Little Rock Central High School to Chuck Berry’s Gibson guitar he called “Maybellene” and the track shoes worn by Olympian Carl Lewis, the exhibition presents a living history that reflects challenge, triumph, faith and hope.
(2401 Chautauqua, Norman) 325-4712; Wednesday – Saturday, 9 a.m. – noon & 2 – 5 p.m.; Sunday, 1 – 5 p.m.
Adults, $8; kids (4 – 17), $5; kids (3 & under) free – Promotion postponed: Free for children 17 and under on the first Monday of each month; complimentary admission offered at select events throughout the year.
Places of Power
Jan. 4 – May 2, 2021
The exhibit features breathtaking, hand-painted photographs of ancient, sacred spaces including cultural and archaeological sites, cultural landscapes and petroglyphs from over 20 different countries.
Dinosaurs: Land of Fire and Ice
Jan. 30 – May 23, 2021
Dinosaurs: Land of Fire and Ice features a brand-new exhibit created by Minnesota Children’s Museum that explores dinosaur habitats to better understand how these mysterious animals lived and use inquiry skills to examine what they left behind.
(2020 Remington Pl) 602-6664; Monday – Friday, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m. – 6 p.m. – Complimentary admission offered during the Museum’s Tinkerfest event.
Adults, $16.95; kids (3-12), $13.95
Oct. 17, 2020 – Oct. 10, 2021
Created by artists Andy Arkley and Julie Alpert specifically for SMO, JUMBLE activates the senses by encouraging play and collaboration while experiencing joy. Up to 16 visitors at a time can interact with the exhibit by pressing buttons that will create a unique composition of sounds and visuals.
*The Game is Afoot! Sherlock Holmes – The Exhibition
May 1 – Sept. 6, 2021
The interactive experience combines science with history and culture to bring to life the historic underpinnings of author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s rich and vibrant stories. Museum guests will learn how Sherlock Holmes, a scientific expert ahead of his time, used seemingly trivial observations of clues others missed to solve some of his era’s most mysterious crimes. His practices and techniques, created in the mind of doctor-turned-author Conan Doyle, changed the way police work was conducted and remain in practice today. Sherlock Holmes – The Exhibition features original manuscripts and period artifacts, investigative tools influenced and used by Sherlock Holmes, and interactive crime-solving opportunities. Guests will be transported into Sherlock Holmes’ London to solve a crime in a world filled with innovation and experimentation – and just receiving its introduction to his ground-breaking methods.
*The Worst-Case Scenario: An Ultimate Survival Experience
May 1 – Sept. 6, 2021
The Worst-Case Scenario: An Ultimate Survival Experience is a full-body physical and minds-on exhibition providing the essential instructions for everything people need to know when encountering the unexpected. As they tackle unlikely—but POSSIBLE!—real-life scenarios, guests will find countless moments of excitement and laughter along the way. Need to escape from a locked room? No problem. Stuck on the subway and need to jump from car-to-car to escape? The Worst-Case Scenario: An Ultimate Survival Experience is themed as a “survival challenge” training facility. The exhibition is broken into three galleries: the Hall of Fame Lobby, the Survival Gym and the Challenges. Costumed team members, in the role of “Worst-Case Scenario Professionals,” will be there to support the guest’s experience. Worst-Case Scenario Professionals will also be on hand to periodically provide demonstrations of survival skills and the occasional survival “don’t.” In addition to the physical aspects of the exhibition, guests will learn about the science behind the seven steps of survival and learn the stories of real-life heroes and survivors.
*Both Sherlock Holmes – The Exhibition and The Worst-Case Scenario: An Ultimate Survival Experience are available for a single price and must be purchased in addition to general admission. Tickets are $9.95 for adults; $7.95 for children and seniors.
(10301 S Sunnylane Rd) 814-0006; Monday – Friday, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.; Saturday, 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.; Sunday, 1 – 5 p.m.
Adults, $11; kids (3-12), $9
From comparative anatomy to classification to adaptation and locomotion, SKELETONS has been designed with learning in mind! Currently displaying over 300 skeletons from all corners of the world, visitors have a unique opportunity to compare and contrast many rare species normally not seen in museum exhibits. In addition, The museum features a variety of North American specimens ranging from tiny mice and shrew skeletons to a 40 foot humpback whale.