Director’s Report – Fall 2018

Susan Neal
Susan Neal

Fast and Furious is the movie title I would choose to best describe my first year as Gilcrease’s executive director. Although marked by the loss of committed Gilcrease leaders, this year also brought great joy in working with a wonderful, multi-organizational team — Gilcrease, TU and the City of Tulsa — to implement our strategic plan, highlights of which include:

  • Engaging Gallagher and Associates to develop the Gilcrease Interpretive Plan
  • Securing new operating dollars to hire Learning and Community Engagement staff
  • Realigning existing resources to ensure results-driven marketing
  • Initiating a Gilcrease team focused solely on the visitor experience
  • Establishing the Duane King Fellows Program to further open the Gilcrease Archive and Bob Dylan ArchiveSM to researchers worldwide
  • Securing a second $250,000 IMLS grant to continue digitizing the Gilcrease collection
  • Growing an endowment toward a sustainable future
  • Completing all “Improve Our Tulsa” projects possible before Vision construction
  • Celebrating the 10-year anniversary of the TU, Gilcrease partnership and 50 plus years of Gillies volunteer support

The most important initiative among these achievements is the engagement of Gallagher and Associates, a world-renowned museum services firm, charged with developing the first interpretive plan in the museum’s history. Scheduled for completion this fall, the plan is charting a course for how Gilcrease will best serve the next generation. While Gilcrease has always had the capacity to be an economic engine for Tulsa, it is through this work that we are unlocking the vast collection and its importance to multiple generations, cultures and ethnicities.

All of these efforts help us realize a deeper relationship with the residents of Tulsa and other stakeholders invested in Gilcrease. There is a heightened commitment by our team to deliver exciting, relevant experiences — both digitally and at the museum — that inspire joy, discovery and meaningful engagement to grow understanding of ourselves, our world and how we make it better.

I’m thrilled to join you on this game-changing journey for Tulsa and Gilcrease, and I look forward to working for you as we continue to chart a new course for Tulsa’s most valuable treasure — Gilcrease Museum.


Susan Neal

Susan Neal
Executive Director of Gilcrease Museum and
Helmerich Center for American Research
Vice President for Public Affairs,
The University of Tulsa