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Gilcrease Museum has secured the final commitments to fully fund its new facility, making possible the museum’s re-opening in 2026. Construction of the new museum is in progress on its historical site northwest of downtown Tulsa. The museum opened in 1949 and continued operating until 2021, when it was demolished to pave the way for the new facility.
Key Components of the Gilcrease Campus
The Thomas Gilcrease House and the Helmerich Center for American Research will continue to operate. This is happening even during museum construction.
“This is a major milestone for this project and for Tulsa. With full funding for the core museum secure, we can look forward to making Gilcrease a cultural destination the residents of Tulsa can be proud of and enjoy for generations to come,” says Susan Neal, Gilcrease Museum executive director.
Gilcrease Museum Funding Sources
Commitments for the final $20 million in project funding come from two sources – public and private. Tulsa voters in August approved $10 million in Improve Our Tulsa 3 funds for the museum. It’s available to match the museum’s own fundraising from private donors.
“We are thrilled how quickly the community has stepped up to match the $10 million in Improve Our Tulsa funding. Clearly, the overwhelming support for Gilcrease Museum from Tulsa voters was an important signal to donors that we have a shared commitment to complete this cultural crown jewel,” Neal says.
Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum reflected, “I want to thank my fellow Tulsans – both the voters and the private donors – for their investments in the Gilcrease Museum, which will allow us to complete this once-in-a-generation project. In the Gilcrease Museum, Tulsans own the greatest collection of American art and history outside of that owned by the federal government, and we are building a museum that is worthy of this treasure we own.”
Meeting Financial Challenges
The $20 million is the final component of additional funding required. This is a result of cost increases to the original project budget. The budget increased by more than a third to $139 million as a result of COVID/supply-chain issues and inflationary pressures. To reach this ultimate goal, Gilcrease raised a total of $48 million. This comes from the private sector’s support of the overall project.
“We are filled with gratitude for our donors, Tulsa voters and our champions in city government, all of whom stepped up to help us achieve the dream of a new Gilcrease Museum, against a backdrop of unprecedented economic challenges,” Neal says. “We can’t wait to welcome our neighbors in Tulsa and visitors from around the world through our doors in 2026 when the Gilcrease collections are installed.”
The museum will focus its fundraising on an education wing, outdoor amenities, gardens, and growing its endowment for future sustainability. This is based on the community’s priority for incorporating the 460-acre grounds and education into the visitor experience. Naming opportunities for galleries and additional outdoor amenities are still available.