Tulsa Museums Plan For Rebound With ‘Strong Sense Of Hope’ After Pandemic Hardships

Tuesday, March 16th 2021, 9:46 pm
By: Grant Stephens

TULSA, Okla. -

Museums taking a financial hit because of the pandemic are hoping for a rebound as more Oklahomans get vaccines.

Museums, like the restaurant and service industries, were hit hard by the pandemic, but this spring many are looking to put that tough past behind them.

Though she thinks a much better future is on the horizon, the executive director of the Tulsa Historical Society and Museum Michelle Place still has one big question.

"Very excited about getting back to normal, we say that often, but the conversation generally segues into what does normal really mean?" Place said.

Museums are pretty good at looking back and learning lessons. One thing both Place and Tulsa Air and Space Museum Curator Alex London are taking with them into the post-pandemic world is more virtual options.

"Videos, teaching tools, things like that," London said.

Place agrees, and said, "What will be lasting? I think generally this virtual component will be something that we hang on to."

Still, London said there's no way around it, the best part of a museum is being there.

"So much about the joys of coming to a museum are exactly that. You come here physically, and you see the objects," London said.

London and Place say warmer weather and an increased sense of safety brought by vaccines are drawing people back to their museums. That gives them hope for the future when they can bring back students for tours, one of the museum's biggest patrons.

"We have such a strong sense of optimism about all of that," London said.

"We are looking forward to the day when we can have school groups and cub scouts and girl scouts all here for tours,” Place said. “It'll be interesting to see what opening up really and truly means. I believe that we're changed forever."

Both museums have new exhibits on the way, so they'll be ready for the day they can fully open their doors.