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Gilcrease Museum Capital Project Moves Forward with Selection of Architects

This article was archived on 7/7/2019

The City of Tulsa announced the nationally recognized SmithGroup and Tulsa firm 1Architecture were selected to lead the design process for Tulsa’s most historic and valuable cultural institution, Gilcrease Museum. 

Planned improvements for the museum will be guided by the museum’s recently completed interpretive master plan and feasibility study, developed by Gallagher & Associates, and focused upon transforming the visitor experience and effectively showcasing the vast Gilcrease collection.   

The implementation of the Gallagher Plan as well as the museum’s improved design will allow Gilcrease Museum to better engage the Tulsa community as well as its national audience through architecture, exhibitions and programming that reflect a changing America. In addition, the improvements will allow for more of the Gilcrease collection to be exhibited as well as the addition of expanded space for hosting traveling exhibitions. Some of the other features will include a new building façade, a grand entry and great hall, open storage space for additional displays, and dedicated education space.

“Gilcrease Museum contains the greatest collection of American art and history outside of that owned by the federal government. The citizens of Tulsa own it, and they overwhelmingly approved funding in Vision Tulsa for the museum facility to be updated in a way that reflects the quality of their collection,” Mayor G.T. Bynum said. “We received proposals from many of the best architecture firms in the world, and after a difficult selection process I am excited to move forward with the team of internationally-renowned SmithGroup and Tulsa-based 1Architecture.”

Voters approved the Vision Tulsa package in 2016, which included the $65 million capital project for Gilcrease Museum. A generous donation of an additional $10 million from the A.R. and Marylouise Tandy Foundation will lead to a total project budget of $75 million. The University of Tulsa has managed Gilcrease Museum for 11 years on behalf of the City.  TU is committed to help move Gilcrease toward long-term sustainability as it continues to support its faculty and student engagement with the Gilcrease Collection through the Helmerich Center for American Research.   

With offices in 11 major cities nationwide, SmithGroup has in-depth museum renovation and expansion expertise. Highlights of their project experience includes the National Museum of African American History and Culture (Smithsonian), National Museum of the American Indian (Smithsonian), Library of Congress, National Gallery of Art, Museum of the Bible and International Spy Museum.

“We couldn’t be more excited to work with SmithGroup and 1Architecture on the largest makeover in the museum’s 70-year history,” said Susan Neal, executive director at Gilcrease Museum and TU Vice President for Public Affairs. “Keeping Gilcrease integral to Tulsa’s quality of life is at the heart of this project along with ensuring it serves as a major tourism driver for the Tulsa economy.  We’ve hired a world-class team to support this world class museum in keeping with the mayor’s goal to make Tulsa a nationally competitive city for talent, economic investment, and diversity.”  

About Vision Tulsa

Vision Tulsa, an $884 million sales tax renewal package approved by voters in 2016, is making substantial investments in economic development, education, public safety, streets and transportation needs citywide. With citizen priorities providing the driving force behind the creation of Vision Tulsa, transformative projects and enhancements are setting the stage for a bright future for Tulsa.