Vision Tulsa Frequently Asked Questions

Gilcrease From Above

Q: I heard the museum will close for four years. Is that true?

A: No. The museum will remain open and serving visitors through much of the design phase and then close during a two-year construction phase. Gilcrease will be engaged with a number of community partners to provide “pop-up” Gilcrease museum activities at partner locations until the grand re-opening.

Q: What is the timeline for design and then construction?

A: Design is projected to take two years, during which time the museum will be open. Design is followed by two years of construction; during that period, the museum will be closed.

Q: Who is in charge of this project?

A: Because Gilcrease is a city-owned facility, this project is led by the City of Tulsa in collaboration with the mayor’s Gilcrease Vision Task Force and museum staff. Outside organizations involved in the project include Gallagher & Associates, a world-renowned exhibition planning and design firm;  SmithGroup, an internationally known museum design company; and 1Architecture, a locally owned architecture firm led by Shelby Navarro; and Flintco.

Q: When will renderings or schematic design be made public?

A: Renderings will follow the preliminary design process, which is still underway. The public will be kept informed throughout the process as to when designs become available.

Q: Will there be any attempts to salvage historic pieces from the original 1913 building?

A: Pinpoint exploration of the current facility will be conducted to determine if there are any historic elements that can be incorporated into the new facility.

Q: Have you considered relocating Gilcrease Museum?

A: The museum’s current location, selected by Thomas Gilcrease and just a five-minute drive from downtown, is deeply rooted in Tulsa’s history. Both the story of its founder, Thomas Gilcrease, and the collection are closely tied to the museum’s beautiful location. Plans include incorporating the museum experience and vistas along with outdoor experiences uniquely available to its setting in the Osage Hills.

Q: Why reduce the square footage instead of increase?

A: The cost to renovate the museum in a way that would create more exhibit space and protect the collection would be substantially more than constructing a new museum. By being thoughtful about the design, the 89,000-square-foot facility will have more exhibition space than the current 134,000-square-foot structure, transform the visitor experience and  ensure visitors can enjoy more of the museum’s permanent collection alongside traveling exhibitions.  Additionally, the new building will provide best-in-class storage of the Gilcrease collection, protecting it for generations to come.

Q: What are the advantages of constructing a new building instead of renovating?

A: Providing more exhibition space for the Gilcrease collection, more exhibition space for a traveling exhibition and ensuring best-in-class storage for the collection are primary advantages. A new facility ensures Gilcrease can operate in compliance with museum standards required in order to protect the collection and secure art loans from other museums. While renovation of the existing building would cost more than a new facility, it would not ensure a sustainable building for years to come, continuing to cost taxpayers in additional updates and repairs. Renovation would require such significant dollars to bring the museum up to operating standards that a transformative visitor experience could not be realized. Additionally, a new facility will also meet ADA standards, ensuring that all visitors can access this wonderful public asset.

Q: Isn’t a new building more expensive than a remodel?

A: No. The cost to renovate the old museum in a way that would create more exhibit space and protect the collection would cost substantially more than a new structure.

Q: Will taxpayers be asked to pay more for new construction?

A: No. The City of Tulsa has $83.6 million to spend on the project, $65 million of which was approved by Tulsans in 2016 as part of the Vision Tulsa sales tax package. Gilcrease has $8.6 million in Improve Our Tulsa funding set aside as well as a $10 million gift from the A.R. and Marylouise Tandy Foundation. The city will oversee the design, construction and delivery of an exceptional museum within the total $83.6 million budget.