Gilcrease Museum, through its Speaking of Gilcrease outreach programs, will come to you! The museum will send volunteers to clubs and organizations in the Tulsa metropolitan area and to businesses to share a visual presentation showcasing the artistic and historic treasures of the museum’s permanent collection. These presentations are free.
The images will come alive for your group, with descriptions behind each painting, sculpture, artifact and document. Learn insider information about these unique pieces that were acquired by Thomas Gilcrease from locations throughout North America.
Choose the perfect presentation for your group from one of 10 different topics. The length of each talk can be adapted to your time preferences. Presentations should be requested at least three weeks in advance. To schedule a presentation, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Speaking of Gilcrease Topics
Capturing the Light: The Taos Society of Artists
Discover the natural beauty of northern New Mexico and its mystical quality of light through the paintings of the artists of the Taos Society. At that time, Taos and the southwest were largely undiscovered by the art world in the eastern United States. These artists painted the landscapes and the Puebloan peoples in order to create a uniquely American art. Gain insight into the 20th-century southwestern landscape through the eyes and brushstrokes of these masters.
Get a comprehensive taste of the Gilcrease permanent collection and see the classic mastery of Frederic Remington, Charles M. Russell and Thomas Moran, as well as Olaf Seltzer and George Catlin. Native American artists, such as Acee Blue Eagle, Woody Crumbo and Willard Stone are displayed along with many others. Included is a brief overview of early American history in portraits of our Founding Fathers. The presentation culminates with a look at the museum’s certified copy of the Declaration of Independence.
Oklahoma has a rich history that began long before Europeans entered the picture. The first “Oklahomans” arrived thousands of years ago from Siberia. With a long and storied history, this state has been crossed by soldiers and Indians, cowboys and ranchers as well as outlaws and law abiding citizens alike. Learn how Indian Territory and Oklahoma Territory merged and became the 46th state. You’re doin’ fine, Oklahoma, OK!
The Gardens at Gilcrease
Nature lovers and those who admire outdoor sculpture will truly enjoy The Gardens at Gilcrease. This is a photographic journey that winds through seven themed gardens on 23 acres immediately surrounding the museum. Stop along the way to gaze at some magnificent bronze sculptures. See Allan Houser’s Sacred Rain Arrow, Denny Haskew’s Strength of the Maker, Doug Hyde’s charming Crucita, Jim Agius’ huge growling Plains Grizzly, and Jay O’Meilia’s tough Frontier Woman, as well as many other wildlife sculptures.
Gilcrease Museum also offers free public or group tours for those nature lovers who would like to visit the gardens in person.
Explorer Artists: George Catlin & Jacob Alfred Miller
Before the railroads brought the masses, the western United States was explored by two daring artists. These men were not only artists, but historians, as each made extensive notes of their journeys and about their works of art. Their observations and notes are important historical documents that help us understand and appreciate the people and places of the West.
Lost in Landscapes
The dramatic landscapes of the United States have long provided inspiration for American artists. Before cameras came into wide use, Albert Bierstadt introduced his romanticized view of the western United States through large oil paintings. Thomas Moran brought never before seen attention to the landscapes of Yellowstone and the Grand Canyon, which became national parks. From Hudson River School landscapes to the palettes of the American Impressionists, the Gilcrease collection showcases the beauty and wonder of America from sea to shining sea.
Stories abound about the life of Native Americans – some true, some false. Of the approximately 400 tribes in North America, this presentation focuses on the Plains Indians. These tribes had a single common denominator – each lived in tepees made of buffalo hides. See how these Plains Indians survived following the buffalo, then faced the difficult task of killing the buffalo. View a map of where the tribes roamed, and where the U.S. Army escorted them. The thrill of horse thievery was as common as the excitement of catching a wild horse. Village life is depicted, as well as clothing and artifacts. The early Plains Indians struggled, but they also exhibited nobility and respect.
Remington and Russell
Almost everyone is familiar with Frederic Remington and Charles M. Russell as the classic master artists of the West. Experience their superb paintings and bronzes. Feel the essence of life as a cowhand. Travel as a stagecoach passenger, and get in the action of Indian warfare. These two artists depict the West with all the grit, danger and, yes, romance imaginable.
From the establishment of the Jamestown Colony to the creation of the United States of America, influential leaders and artists alike reveal a portion of our nation’s history through fine artworks as well as historical books and documents. See works that are familiar, such as a portrait of George Washington or a certified copy of the Declaration of Independence. Perhaps you may discover new works that introduce previously unknown people and events that will make our history even more meaningful.
Trappers and Traders
North America’s fur trade began in Canada in the 1500s along the St. Lawrence River near Montreal. Those early rough and tumble trappers and traders endured unimaginable hardships. Through this beautiful presentation, take a trip with those men as they hunt the beaver pelts used to make the fashionable men’s top hats. Paddle canoes carrying the heavy fur cargo of bear, otter, bison, wolf, mink, rabbit, fox and seal. Get a sense of the savvy global business handlings of the Hudson’s Bay Company and the Northwest Fur Company, as many explorers went in search of the mythical “Northwest Passage.”
The Westward Movement
Daniel Boone had a yearning to venture West, just as explorers Meriwether Lewis and William Clark. This presentation is a rigorous travel westward, as experienced by those early adventurers, trappers, traders and settlers through a land devoid of roads or the amenities we know today. Come nose-to-nose with the buffaloes, moose and bears. See Indians called to council, Sioux playing ball and covered wagons along the Oregon Trail. Thrill at Thomas Moran’s Grand Canyon, and gaze on the rugged Sierra Nevada Mountains. Be caught in a cattle drive stampede, see the action of Indian warfare, and ponder the perils of those young Pony Express riders.
Willard Stone: Storyteller in Wood
Willard Stone let his philosophy on life come alive through his carvings. He once said, “Life is much like sculpting in wood – you have to follow the grain.” The grain of Willard Stone’s life (1916-1985) was altered by a childhood accident that destroyed part of his right hand and, along with it, his dream of becoming a painter. But it did not destroy his desire or his genius for art. When he had recovered sufficiently in body and in spirit, he began to mold figures in clay scooped from the Oklahoma earth. Later he settled on wood as the material he would spend his life transforming into elegant and powerful carved sculptures. This presentation features many of Stone’s sublimely carved works created during a three-year, artist-in-residence program with Thomas Gilcrease.
Faces and Tales: The Portraits of Gilcrease and Their Stories
One of the passions that drove Thomas Gilcrease was a love of American history, not just the history of the West, but the history of the nation as a whole. The official title of the museum is “The Thomas Gilcrease Institute of American History and Art.” Much of his effort in collecting American history focused on obtaining portraits of important Americans, because faces tell tales … they tell the stories of American history.