The Oklahoma History Center

The Oklahoma History Center brings together the fascinating, rich, and colorful history of the 46th state in a new state-of-the-art facility. The History Center is located in a 210,000 square-foot building designed specifically to house the Museum, Research Center, and offices of the Oklahoma Historical Society. The Oklahoma History Center is located at 800 Nazih Zuhdi Drive, just east of the State Capitol. It opened in November 2005. 

The Museum is affiliated with the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C., and the Research Center is a National Archives affiliate.

Representing all 39 Native American tribes currently associated with Oklahoma, the ONEOK Gallery Exhibit offers visitors the opportunity to explore the traditional historic past of native peoples of Oklahoma, as well as experience contemporary Indian cultures.Using the 20th century Indian experience as a bridge between the past and the present, the exhibit offers artifacts, tribal music, photographic images, Indian art and oral histories from the Indian tribes of Oklahoma.

ONEOK Gallery topics include: dwellings, Indian lives, languages, living ways, origins, sovereignty, spirituality, and tribes.

The INASMUCH Gallery is featuring our newest exhibit titled "Oklahoma @ the Movies. This exhibit showcases Oklahomans' involvement in the motion picture industry from its beginning to the present. Oklahomans have worked as actors on the big screen, as well as behind-the-screen as directors, producers, screenwriters, cinematographers, editors, makeup artists and set designers. Many have been honored with a number of national and international awards for their work. This exhibit is the largest project the Museum staff has undertaken.  

Land runs and lotteries have played an enormous role in our development and settlement as a state. Through artifacts, images, and first-hand accounts of participants, visitors can relive the lives of those brave souls who settled our great plains and turned homesteads into farms and cities. It was their survival of and adaptation to the extremes of weather, economics, and politics that enabled them to create this magnificent state.

The Noble Foundation Gallery sections include: education, farm & ranch, fashions, government & politics, kitchens, land run, law & order, quilts, urban frontiers, and weather.

The Kerr-McGee Gallery is a rich history of Oklahoma from our oil and gas exploration to our military contributions since the first expeditions by the Spanish in the 16th century. Visitors can enjoy numerous artifacts including items from an 1830s riverboat recently excavated from the Red River, examples of Oklahoma's entrepreneurial history, and a 3-D reconstruction of an oil derrick.

The Kerr-McGee Gallery sections include: African Americans, business, military matters, natural resources, people and pathways, and transportation.

The Gaylord Special Exhibits Gallery is host to revolving exhibits heralding Oklahoma's important citizens and rich heritage. Some exhibits feature all or parts of a single collection while others bring together items from two or more collections to tell a story.

The Oklahoma History Center has several areas in the Museum containing exhibits not in actual galleries. They include: Devon Great Hall - Displays a replica of the world famous Winnie Mae Airplane; C.A. Vose Sr. Wing - Displays the Gemini 6 capsule and other Oklahoma-related space artifacts and information; and the West Family Wing - Displays The Oklahoma Family Tree exhibit and the Pioneers in Oklahoma Journalism exhibit.

Empires, explorers, nations and people are known and defined by their symbols. One measure of the last few hundred years of Oklahoma history are the flags of the different nations and peoples that have lived here, claimed the area and fought for control of Oklahoma's land, people and resources. The 14 Flags Over Oklahoma exhibit briefly identifies and interprets some of the most important flags and nations that tell the tale of Oklahoma. This exhibit is made possible by the generous support of OGE Energy Corp.

The flags interpreted here represent the following:

  • ROYAL STANDARD OF SPAIN
  • UNION JACK OF GREAT BRITAIN
  • ROYAL FLAG OF FRANCE
  • STANDARD OF THE EMPIRE OF SPAIN
  • STANDARD OF FRANCE
  • SECOND NATIONAL UNITED STATES FLAG
  • THIRD NATIONAL UNITED STATES FLAG
  • FLAG OF THE REPUBLIC OF MEXICO
  • FIRST FLAG OF THE REPUBLIC OF TEXAS
  • SECOND FLAG OF THE REPUBLIC OF TEXAS
  • FLAG OF THE CHOCTAW NATION
  • FIRST NATIONAL FLAG OF THE CONFEDERACY
  • FIRST OKLAHOMA STATE FLAG
  • OKLAHOMA STATE FLAG

The Oklahoma History Center Red River Journey is a relaxing 1/4-mile walking tour that replicates the Red River Valley along Oklahoma's southern boundary. A wonderful exploration of our state's historical landmarks, the Red River Journey offers visitors a sample of Oklahoma's diverse terrains as well as our indigenous trees, flowers and plants.

The story of oil and gas exploration and discovery is a tale of risk, innovation, fortunes won and lost, spectacular successes, and dramatic challenges. The Devon Oil and Gas Exploration Park at the Oklahoma History Center interprets some of the technology that is part of the fascinating history of Oklahoma’s oil industry. Technological innovations in Oklahoma oil fields revolutionized petroleum production worldwide and greatly expanded the industry.

Equipment found in the Park explores the drilling, production and transportation phases of the Oklahoma oil and gas industry. Much of the equipment located in the Park was donated to the Oklahoma Historical Society in the mid-1960s in an effort to begin the Mid-Continent Oil Museum. Oklahoma oil fields are part of the huge Mid-Continent Oil Region, which stretches from central Texas across Oklahoma to eastern Kansas.

Gracing the front entrance of the History Center is a sculpture "Unconquered." In late 1993 Allan Houser, Oklahoma Apache artist, conceived a monument for the Apache nation symbolizing their history, pride, and survival. The Apache were among the last tribes to be confined to reservations. In the final year of his life, Allan Houser would refine and complete his vision for the work "Unconquered," an image often seen in historic photographs, of two armed Chiricahua warriors proud and fearless as they face their enemies. To Houser, "Unconquered" symbolized not only Apache history, but that of all American Indian people. Today, Allan Houser is internationally recognized as a preeminent American Indian artist.

Two other pieces are located along the front of the building. The Oklahoma CCC sculpture is a tribute to the more than 100,000 Oklahoma men who served in the Civilian Conservation Corps safeguarding the natural resources of our nation. An original work of art created by John Gooden, the sculpture is modeled after Reverend Melvin Grant, CCC worker at Camp Wilkerson in Oklahoma from 1940 to 1941. 

"The Monarch at Rest" is a larger than life bronze buffalo sculpture created by the renowned Enid artist Harold T. Holden. Primarily known as a cowboy artist, sculptor Harold T. Holden has been capturing the West in sculptures and paintings for over thirty years.

The Research Division of the Oklahoma Historical Society is the repository of books, archival materials, and family research records about Oklahoma and its people. Since 1893 the collections have grown to 30 million pages of newspapers, 4 million documents on Indian history, 6,000 manuscript collections, 9 million photographs, 10,000 maps, and vital statistics on families that range from U.S. Census records to cemetery and county records for most counties in the state. If a person is trying to build their family tree, a visit to the OHS Research Division is the place to start.


The Oklahoma History Center is open Monday through Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. The Research Center is open Monday through Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. Museum admission is: adults $7, seniors age 62 and over $5, students $4, children five and under are admitted free. There is a special family rate of $18, and group rates for large groups. 

The Oklahoma History Center is only closed three days a year:  News Years Day, Thanksgiving Day, and Christmas Day. 

For more information contact Larry O'Dell at 405-522-6676 or email at lodell@okhistory.org