The Science Museum Oklahoma just celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2008. The Museum was opened in 1958 as a way to expose locals to the wonders of space. Over time, the museum has developed into a forum to share the accomplishments of Oklahomans in space with the general public, as well as provide the opportunity for future education about science and culture. Some have criticized the museum as trying to be too many things at once, but all the different elements can be extremely educational.
Exhibits were first known simply as the Kirkpatrick Planetarium. The Planetarium has had to move once since it opened, from a temporary home to a permanent dome at the Oklahoma City State Fairgrounds. Once it moved to the new dome, the planetarium attracted like-minded individuals and science organizations who helped to create many of the exhibits seen today.
The Kirkpatrick Planetarium may be the oldest exhibit at the Science Museum Oklahoma, but some of the later exhibits have more elderly artifacts. The Red Earth Museum, for example, is located on the second floor of the museum and focuses on Native American artifacts and cultural achievements. The International Photography Hall of Fame and Museum focuses on photo-murals, including many very old prints.
Younger visitors, however, are unlikely to be impressed by these more culturally oriented displays. They will likely enjoy the Photography Hall's mural of the Grand Canyon, and perhaps some of the tepees, but it would be better to focus on a Planetarium show or the lunar displays if children are in the see-and-touch stage.
The lunar models on display accompany the Planetarium and are reconstructions of an Apollo Lunar Module. There is also an Apollo Command Simulator. The replicas were built by William Lishman, and can provide a lot of interactive discussion and opportunity.
The museum is open seven days a week year-round. Visitors to the web site should note that it uses some advanced graphics and can be very slow to load; it may be equally time effective to call the museum directly for information at 405 - 602- 6664.