SmithGroup has unveiled its concept design for Gilcrease Museum's entirely new facility. The concept reimagines the museum from the ground up, creating a new space for Gilcrease to explore broad, complex stories of American history, art and culture.
The 83,500-square-foot building will provide a much-improved visitor experience and state-of-the-art exhibition spaces. Gilcrease Museum has an extensive collection of more than 350 years of American paintings, sculptures, and works on paper, housing the world's largest public holding of art of the American West. As an essential American cultural institution, the Gilcrease holdings include a comprehensive collection of Indigenous works from 12,000 BCE to the 21st century and an archive of more than 100,000 manuscripts, photographs, maps, rare books, and other materials related to the history of the Americas from the 15th to 20th centuries. With new gallery spaces, Gilcrease will be able to utilize these unparalleled collections to tell a richer, more nuanced story of American history and culture, offering multiple perspectives and exploring the relevance of the past to today.
Under the direction of SmithGroup, the new building is conceptually centered on reconnecting humankind to nature. Considering the location of the building within the Osage Nation Reservation, the design incorporates subtle elements of Osage culture and references the architectural styles of Tulsa. New exhibition and gallery spaces designed by Gallagher & Associates in collaboration with the Gilcrease curatorial team will be organized around themes of landscape and place; identities and communities; and healing and conflict. Through a mix of art, history, and anthropology representing America's diverse populations, the new Gilcrease aims to inspire conversation and learning, challenge preconceived ideas, and become a bridge to deeper connections within the community. The concept for the exhibitions, building, and campus emerged following numerous community engagement sessions organized by the museum and design team.
The current Gilcrease Museum building will close to the public on July 5, 2021 for de-installation in preparation for groundbreaking in winter 2022. The new Gilcrease is expected to be completed by the end of 2024.
Images: Courtesy of SmithGroup and Gilcrease Museum