September 21, 2018
Oklahoma History Center to Reopen Devon Energy Oil and Gas Park
OKLAHOMA CITY — The Oklahoma History Center is pleased to announce the reopening of the Devon Energy Oil and Gas Park, the symbolic entry to the History Center campus, on Sept. 24, 2018. At the end of April 2017, powerful winds from a passing storm toppled two historic oil derricks and damaged several other pieces of equipment in the oil and gas park. Fortunately, despite the proximity of the park to private homes, no one was hurt and no private property was damaged. At the time, the cleanup and replacement from the destruction was estimated to take five to six weeks. Sadly, due to state budget cuts, the park remained closed for a year and a half.
“My heart and soul are in that entire display and it was heartbreaking to see the devastation. But, it gave us an opportunity to re-evaluate the site and see what we could do better,” said Dr. Bob Blackburn, executive director of the Oklahoma Historical Society.
With no insurance coverage available, the History Center relied on private donations to cover those costs. With the generous assistance of Devon Energy, the Oklahoma Energy Resources Board and three private donors, some repairs became possible. The first phase of cleanup and restoration is now complete. Planning is ongoing to add new items and continue the development of the park.
The Oklahoma History Center is a division of the Oklahoma Historical Society and is an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution, National Archives and is an accredited member of the American Alliance of Museums. The mission of the Oklahoma Historical Society is to collect, preserve and share the history and culture of the state of Oklahoma. Founded in 1893 by members of the Territorial Press Association, the OHS maintains museums, historic sites and affiliates across the state. Through its research archives, exhibits, educational programs and publications the OHS chronicles the rich history of Oklahoma. For more information about the OHS, please visit www.okhistory.org.