Oil and gas on exhibit

July 9, 2012
According to the American Association of Museums, there are at least 17,500 museums in the US. AAM estimates that American museums receive 850 million visitors per year.

According to the American Association of Museums, there are at least 17,500 museums in the US. AAM estimates that American museums receive 850 million visitors per year. AAM's 2009 Museum Financial Information survey found that the median annual attendance for natural history-anthropology museums and science-technology center museums is a respective 58,176 and 357,103.

The Permian Basin Petroleum Museum has welcomed more than 1 million visitors worldwide. The museum holds the nation's largest collection of art work by famed Western artist Tom Lovell. The 14 paintings commissioned by the Abell-Hanger Foundation of Midland are known as "The Crown Jewels of the Museum." The collection of paintings portrays the history of man in the Permian basin and his effect upon this unique place in the world.

Area-specific exhibits

In Roxana, Ill., museumgoers will find the Shell History Museum. It features over 1,000 artifacts and offers a visual review of the Wood River refinery's many changes and significant progress from its start-up in 1917 to the present. It has many of the older records from the refinery, in the form of logbooks, memoranda, books, and almost every other written form of communication. The museum sponsors an annual oil and gas collectibles swap meet in late September.

The California Oil Museum in Santa Paula explores the world of petroleum technology, science, and history in California. The museum highlights the inner workings of the state's black gold industry through interactive displays, videos, working models, games, and more.

Visitors can experience a walk down the street of a 1920's oil boom town at the Butler County History Center and Kansas Oil Museum. The museum has inspiring exhibits on the history of Kansas oil discovery and the Flint Hills.

The Oil Museum of Canada, in the Village of Oil Springs, preserves the site of the first commercial oil well in North America. This oil heritage district also developed the world's first gusher and the world's first oil exchange. Museum guests can explore a replica of the first oil well dug by James Miller Williams in 1858. They can also view original oil wells adjacent to the museum which continue to produce oil to this day, on one of the oldest oilfields in the world.

Focus on rigs

The Ocean Star Offshore Drilling Rig Museum and Education Center is on Galveston Island. Visitors board the retired jack up drilling rig and watch a video about the offshore industry. The museum features three floors of models and interactive displays illustrating the story of offshore oil and gas from seismic technology to exploration and production. Scale models of production platforms, actual drill bits, remotely operated vehicles, videos, and exhibits explain drilling, geology, seismic, well servicing, and production.

A collection of oil company signs are on exhibit at the Butler County History Center & Kansas Oil Museum in El Dorado, Kan. Photo from Butler County History Center & Kansas Oil Museum.

At the International Petroleum Museum and Exposition in Morgan City, La., visitors will find "Mr. Charlie," the first transportable, submersible drilling rig and an industry springboard to the current offshore rig technology. From 1954 until 1986, Mr. Charlie drilled hundreds of offshore wells off Morgan City in the Gulf of Mexico. The rig was capable of drilling wells in as much as 40 ft of water and lasted nearly 4 decades until drilling activity headed into deeper water. It revolutionized the offshore oil industry in the gulf and worldwide. This historic and renowned structure continues in a new role, teaching others about an industry that changed the world.

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About the Author

Leena Koottungal | Survey Editor / News Writer

Leena Koottungal is the Survey Editor/News Writer for Oil & Gas Journal. She joined PennWell in April 2006.