Top 12 Museums in Oklahoma City

Last Updated on February 10, 2024 by Emily Johnson

Oklahoma City offers a surprising number of exceptional museums that showcase art, history, science, and culture. From interactive children’s museums to exhibits focused on the Old West, aviation, and more, there are fascinating destinations for visitors of all ages and interests.

Museum NameFocus Area
National Cowboy & Western Heritage MuseumAmerican West culture and history
Science Museum OklahomaInteractive science concepts and exhibits
National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of FamePioneering women of the American West
Oklahoma City Museum of ArtVisual arts across various mediums and eras
National Memorial Museum1995 Oklahoma City bombing victims, survivors, rescuers
Oklahoma Railway MuseumRailroad history and train rides
National Softball Hall of Fame and MuseumSoftball history and memorabilia
American Banjo MuseumBanjo history and musicians
Oklahoma History CenterOklahoma’s history from Native American times to present
Oklahoma City Museum of Popular Culture (OKPOP)Oklahoma’s impact on popular music and culture
Fred Jones Jr. Museum of ArtFrench Impressionism, Native American art
Jasmine Moran Children’s MuseumHands-on exhibits for children
Will Rogers Memorial MuseumsWill Rogers’ life and career

Here are 12 of the top museums not to miss in Oklahoma City.

National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum

Name and Location: The National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum is located in Oklahoma City dedicated to preserving and showcasing Western heritage.

Collections and Exhibits: Over 28,000 objects and artworks related to cowboy culture and the American West including saddles, historic artifacts, photography, paintings, and memorabilia.

What to Expect: Immersive displays transporting visitors into the spirit and landscapes of the frontier West. Expansive Western art gallery. Interactive areas like roping cattle, film a Western. Multiple event spaces.

Visitor Information: Open daily 10am-5pm except major holidays. General admission $15 adults. Located in OKC Adventure District near other top attractions.

Immerse yourself in the history of the American West at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum. This world-class institution houses an extensive collection of artifacts and art celebrating Western lifestyle and culture. Permanent exhibits examine Native American traditions, rodeos, saddle making, and the lives of iconic cowboy stars like Gene Autry and John Wayne. The museum also hosts an annual Western Heritage Awards show and a changing schedule of visiting exhibitions. Outside, you can wander through recreations of an Old West town and cattle pens.

Science Museum Oklahoma

Name and Location: Science Museum Oklahoma is a world-class science center located in downtown Oklahoma City promoting science education through immersive exhibits.

Collections and Exhibits: Over 700 hands-on educational exhibits and programs focused on aerospace, energy, health sciences, physics, geology and more across multiple galleries.

What to Expect: Dynamic, interactive STEM exhibits crafting tornadoes or distortions, playing music with lasers, piloting flight simulators, digging dinosaur fossils, experimenting with Newton’s laws via engaging displays.

Visitor Information: Open daily 10am-5pm, closed Thanksgiving and Christmas. Admission $20 adults. Located in OKC Adventure District downtown with parking garages all around.

Science Museum Oklahoma makes science accessible and engaging for audiences of all ages. Creative permanent exhibits invite visitors to explore concepts like energy, health, flight, and more through innovative interactive displays. Visitors can design toy planes to test in a wind tunnel, experiment with numerical patterns and symmetry, or explore how their own bodies work. The museum also features an observatory and a state-of-the-art planetarium with original productions about astronomy and space.

National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame

Name and Location: National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame celebrates pioneering women of the American West through rotating exhibits in Fort Worth, Texas.

Collections and Exhibits: Over 25,000 sq ft of galleries focused on honoring cowgirls’ impact on Western history and culture through interactive multimedia exhibits, artifacts and photography collections.

What to Expect: Inspiring stories of trailblazing cowgirls, artists and ranch women. Art galleries, rare artifacts like saddles, textiles, Hopi dolls. Discover exhibit spaces tailored for young visitors about cowgirl history.

Visitor Information: Open Wed-Sun 10am-5pm, closed major holidays. General admission $10 adults. Gift shop and cafe on site. Audio tours available.

This unique museum in the city’s Bricktown district celebrates pioneering women of the American West. Learn about the trailblazers who made their mark in areas like sharpshooting, rodeo performances, journalism, and ranching. Permanent and temporary exhibits highlight both historic and contemporary honorees who embody the courageous Cowgirl spirit. You can see artifacts from Hall of Fame honorees like pioneer journalist Nellie Snyder Yost and Champion Lady Rodeo Rider Bonnie McCarroll. Interactive displays let you try roping and see your name in lights like the cowgirl stars of the past.

Oklahoma City Museum of Art

Name and Location: Oklahoma City Museum of Art spans 8 galleries focusing primarily on 19th & 20th century American and European artists in OKC’s downtown Arts District.

Collections and Exhibits: Over 5,400 objects including the most comprehensive collection of Jean-Baptiste Camille Corot paintings found stateside, collections of glass sculpture by Dale Chihuly, expansive collections of Fred Jones Jr.

What to Expect: Collection spanning American painting & sculpture, Native American art and artifacts along with classical 19th-century European works of art. Temporary shows & events year-round.

Visitor Information: Open Tue-Sat 10am-5pm, Thurs til 9pm, Sun noon-5pm. Located downtown OKC, paid garage parking around perimeter. Admission ranges $5-$20.

The Oklahoma City Museum of Art houses an internationally renowned collection of visual art spanning a variety of mediums and eras. The permanent collection boasts over 7,000 objects, including a hall of traditional African sculpture, significant Post-Impressionist works, and the country’s most comprehensive display of Chihuly glass. Touring exhibits have included masterpieces from Titian, Raphael, Botticelli and more. Have lunch at the Museum Cafe before browsing the Museum Store for unique gifts and souvenirs right on site.

National Memorial Museum

Name and Location: The National Memorial Museum is located in the former Journal Record Building damaged in the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing and memorializes the tragic event.

Collections and Exhibits: Rotating story-based exhibits contextualizing the 1995 bombing with archival films/images and narrative panels. Over 600 artifacts and evidence from the event preserved.

What to Expect: Immersive displays relaying witness testimonials from the bombing with imagery, artifacts and narrative accessing the experience from more perspectives. Reflective atmosphere overall.

Visitor Information: Free timed tickets required obtained onsite. Open Mon-Sat 9am-6pm, Sun noon-6pm with last entry at 5 pm. Located across from downtown Bombing Memorial.

Honor the victims, survivors and rescuers of the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing at this moving memorial museum. A minimalist glass entrance gives way to symbolic displays exploring the background, events and aftermath of the attack. Listen to survivor testimonies, view artifacts from the site, and see the Fence – a stretch of chain-link fence festooned with mementos left as tribute in the wake of the bombing. The memorial on site includes a quiet reflecting pool, monumental Gates of Time to mark each minute before and after the attack, and elegant Field of Empty Chairs representing those who lost their lives.

Oklahoma Railway Museum

Name and Location: The Oklahoma Railway Museum in OKC has vintage locomotives and railway cars on display showcasing railroad history through exhibits and train rides.

Collections and Exhibits: 19 rail stock on 20 acres including restored vintage locomotives, steam engines, passenger cars, cabooses focused on rail significance to Oklahoma’s development.

What to Expect: Outdoor exhibits to walk through inspecting rail cars and engines. Museum with model train layouts interpreting state railroad history. Weekend rides on vintage trains – diesel and steam options. Gift shop.

Visitor Information: Open year-round Saturdays 10am–4pm or by appointment for groups.Located 10 mins from downtown OKC with free parking onsite. Admission charged. Weekend train ride tickets sold separately.

All aboard for railroad history at the Oklahoma Railway Museum, where you can see more than 50 historic train cars and locomotives. This 14-acre railyard lets you peek inside old dining cars and Pullman sleeper cars while learning about the region’s railroad heritage. Take a ride on one of the museum’s vintage trains – like 1923 steam locomotive Frisco 1630 – for a fun and educational trip. Seasonal events like Day Out with Thomas and Polar Express-themed rides make this museum a hit with kids as well as railfans.

National Softball Hall of Fame and Museum

Name and Location: Located in Oklahoma City, the National Softball Hall of Fame and Museum preserves the history of softball through interactive exhibits.

Collections and Exhibits: Highlights softball’s culture and origins through memorabilia, equipment exhibits interpreting softball’s evolution from 1887 with halls of fame honoring contributors and champions.

What to Expect: Engaging exhibits about softball history, memorable players and moments including gloves, uniforms, balls from past eras and leagues. Interactive displays, film clips and trivia. Celebrates all levels from youth to pro.

Visitor Information: Open M-F 9am-5pm, Sat 10am-3pm with extended hours during tournaments at venue. General admission $8. Inside USA Softball Hall of Fame StadiumComplex.

If you love softball, don’t miss this museum and hall of fame in Oklahoma City’s Bricktown district. Learn about the sport’s history through historically significant artifacts and photos of softball’s star players and moments since its early days. Try your hand pitching and batting or see if you can strike out a hologram image of a softball pitcher in the interactive exhibits. Memorabilia honoring inductees into the National Softball Hall of Fame are prominently displayed so you can appreciate softball greats like Lisa Fernandez, Bob Lemon and others.

American Banjo Museum

Name and Location: The American Banjo Museum in Oklahoma City documents the evolution of the banjo through history within a unique 9,000 square foot facility.

Collections and Exhibits: World’s largest public display of banjos ranging from 18th century Africa through bluegrass legends spanning jazz to folk and more. Over 400 instruments contextualized by era.

What to Expect: Diverse banjo collection presented chronologically from roots in Africa through jazz and folk icons like Pete Seeger alongside cases dedicating banjo types by era from minstrel period through modern custom jobs.

Visitor Information: Self-guided audio tours included with admission-$10 adults, discounts for students/seniors. Located off I-44 at NW 11th St and Classen Blvd. Free parking beside museum.

As the only museum in the world dedicated solely to the banjo, this specialty museum houses the largest collection of banjos on public display anywhere. Its location in Oklahoma City is fitting since Oklahoma has been home to significant banjo music scenes through jazz, bluegrass, folk and other genres. View exhibits tracing the origins of early banjo ancestors in Africa to modern musical styles across the world featuring the instrument today. You can even explore the Banjo Hall of Fame immortalizing innovators who transformed the instrument and see banjos played by celebrities like Steve Martin, Keith Urban and more.

Oklahoma History Center

Name and Location: The Oklahoma History Center serves as the state’s history museum and archives displaying Oklahoma stories and artifacts within a Modernist glass building in OKC.

Collections and Exhibits: Utilizing objects, images and interpretive graphic panels across 25,000 sq ft of interactive galleries, core exhibits chronologically walk through defining Oklahoma events from earliest peoples through Dust Bowl and beyond.

What to Expect: Immersive indoor/outdoor displays bringing seminal moments in Oklahoma’s history to life alongside galleries showcasing art, artifacts and stories relaying the state’s diverse past – engaging for all ages.

Visitor Information: Open Mon-Sat 10am-5pm. Located 2 blocks from the Capitol building with free visitor parking in designated museum lot. General admission $7 adults.

Discover centuries of Oklahoma stories at the Oklahoma History Center next to the State Capitol. Permanent galleries lead you chronologically through the state’s diverse past, from Native American archaeology through the oil boom of the early 1900s into statehood. Stand on the symbolic Oklahoma Land Run starting line to kick off your journey into how the state came to be. Enjoy accounts from pioneers, soldiers, jazzmen, and ordinary citizens while surrounded by artifacts and engaging displays illuminating all aspects Oklahoma life over the years. The center also preserves important state archives and hosts rotating exhibits related to Oklahoma heritage.

Oklahoma City Museum of Popular Culture (OKPOP)

Name and Location: The Oklahoma City Museum of Popular Culture will be a 64,000 square-foot museum along the OKC streetcar line dedicated to celebrating Oklahoma’s creative history once completed.

Collections and Exhibits: Set to feature permanent & temporary exhibits relaying Oklahoma’s rich popular culture history through visual arts, film, television and music created in the state – encompassing diverse artists Emmylou Harris to Brad Pitt when opens 2024.

What to Expect: State-of-the-art interactive displays around significant Oklahoma popular culture contributions spanning multiple eras, industries and media including native sons, iconic films/TV plus locales that spawned new genres when opens.

Visitor Information: In progress, set to open 2024 at NW 11th and Hudson in downtown OKC’s evolving Innovation District near other top attractions with streetcar access.

Oklahoma City will soon be home to a one-of-a-kind museum showcasing Oklahoma’s significant impact on popular music and culture. Set to open in spring 2023, the Oklahoma City Museum of Popular Culture (OKPOP) will feature exhibit galleries focused on renowned musical acts from Oklahoma in pop genres ranging from Western Swing to Rock & Roll and beyond. Original artifacts, memorabilia, clothing, handwritten lyrics and much more will immerse you into the stories behind stars like Garth Brooks, Woody Guthrie, Leon Russell, Reba McEntyre and The Flaming Lips. With its eye-catching architecture and vision celebrating the state’s pop culture heritage, OKPOP is poised to become one of Oklahoma City’s most distinctive and dynamic museums.

Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art

Name and Location: The Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art at the University of Oklahoma has collections interpreting Asian art, Native American traditions, European masters and more.

Collections and Exhibits: Spanning ancient to contemporary, the museum holds over 15,000 objects including the Weitzenhoffer Collection of French Impressionism, acclaimed Asian art objects, pieces by Picasso and Warhol alongside traditional Native artifacts.

What to Expect: Multiple galleries with artworks and installations thoughtfully arranged by category, era and origin – from medieval altarpieces to Qing Dynasty treasures. Regular rotation of visiting collections aligned with public programs.

Visitor Information: Located on OU campus near the Sam Noble Museum of Natural History. Open T-W 10am-5pm, Th-Sat 10am-9pm, closed Mondays and holidays. Admission free.

Located on the University of Oklahoma campus in Norman, just south of Oklahoma City center, the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art houses important collections of French Impressionism, Native American art and artifacts, Southwestern and California art, and contemporary works. Highlights include the Weitzenhoffer Collection of French Impressionism showcasing masters like Degas, Renoir, Monet and Gauguin, as well as the largest collection of Charles M. Russell paintings and sculptures found anywhere. Don’t miss visiting the museum’s extensive Gilcrease Museum Gardens, featuring recreated village sites from the ancient Southwest along sculpture trails interwoven with natural landscaping. Temporary exhibitions range from student works to shows centered on renowned artists.

Jasmine Moran Children’s Museum

Name and Location: The Jasmine Moran Children’s Museum in Seminole, OK features 17,000 square feet of hands-on discovery exhibits designed to inspire learning for young children located between OKC and Tulsa.

Collections and Exhibits: Interactive environments focused on science, role playing, miniature city building, literacy, health, culture and arts across 3 buildings designed for preschool through elementary engagement.

What to Expect: Imaginative kids hands-on gallery spaces like art studios, baby care unit dramatic play areas facilitating learning. Traveling exhibits around habitats, Maker spaces and iconic kids story themes rotate through.

Visitor Information: Open T-Sat 10am-5pm year-round. General admission $10 per person. Located off I-40 at Seminole with free parking beside museum. Perfect for families with young kids.

The Jasmine Moran Children’s Museum makes playtime educational with 17,000 square feet of hands-on exhibits designed just for kids. Let little ones roleplay careers like veterinarians, chefs, and construction workers, explore giant bubbles, or make art projects inspired by museum tours. The museum’s centerpiece is a replica 1926 Seminole oil derrick flanked by multimedia children’s galleries focused on science, health, diversity and the arts. Daily programming ranges from story times to special bubble days in the Bubblearium. As both an entertaining and enriching experience for families, this museum is a must-visit on any Oklahoma City itinerary.

Will Rogers Memorial Museums

Name and Location: Will Rogers Memorial Museum and Birthplace Ranch commemorate the life and diversity of Will Rogers – part Cherokee cowboy, humorist, performer and commentator – through sites in Claremore and Oologah.

Collections and Exhibits: Sprawling museums contain Rogers’ writings, correspondences alongside Wild West and Hollywood mementos housed in detailed replica buildings illustrating chapters of his life before tragic 1935 death.

What to Expect: Witty and wise Will Rogers history via films, recordings, artifacts from vaudeville tours, movies traveled in a Model T, riding horses and flying planes giving glimpses into Oklahoma’s favorite son’s adventures.

Visitor Information: Both locations open daily featuring memorabilia and interactive exhibits bringing Will Rogers story to life. Combo tickets $7. Birthplace closes in winter.

Just east of Oklahoma City in Claremore is this duo of Will Rogers museums commemorating the prolific actor, performer and writer who was born and raised in the area. The Will Rogers Memorial Museum houses an extensive collection of Rogers memorabilia from his storied career in Wild West shows, Broadway, radio programs, and film. Peruse Rogers’ writings, play props, personal artifacts, photos and more before venturing to his historic birthplace, the Dog Iron Ranch. You can tour the well-preserved log cabin home where he was born in 1879 along with other authentic ranch buildings reconstructing the setting where Rogers spent his early childhood. Together these two sites celebrate the life and enduring legacy of this beloved Oklahoma native son known as “America’s Cowboy Philosopher.”

With top museums focused on everything from Western history to children’s activities, railroad heritage to musical legends, Oklahoma City offers diverse and dynamic options to discover something new. Whether you’re an art aficionado, history buff, science nerd or just looking for a family-friendly outing, visiting these exceptional museums promises memorable experiences for travelers of all interests. Just pick your passions and explore Oklahoma City’s vibrant museum scene on your next trip.

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