Museum FAQs

What does OMA consider a museum?

The accepted definition of a museum by the Oklahoma Museums Association is:  A museum as recognized by the Oklahoma Museums Association, is defined as an organization which uses a professional staff or the equivalent, whether paid or unpaid, that is primarily engaged in the acquisition, care and exhibition to the public of objects or interactive displays/exhibits owned or used by the institution. Further, a museum is understood to possess a variety of the following characteristics: 1) is organized on a permanent or regular basis for essentially educational and/or aesthetic purposes; 2) owns or uses tangible objects, either animate or inanimate; 3) cares for these objects; and 4) exhibits these objects to the general public on a regular basis at or in a facility which it owns or operates; 5) provides educational and cultural programming.

How many museums are there in Oklahoma?

Oklahoma is home to over 500 museums.

Where can I find a list of the Oklahoma museums?

The Oklahoma Museums Association website hosts a list of Oklahoma museums which can be sorted alphabetical or by city. OMA institutional member museums have a link to their website.

Go to the Oklahoma Museum Directory

What types of museums are there in Oklahoma?

These figures are provided by a study conducted by the Oklahoma Museums Association, Oklahoma is home to over 500 museums. The approximate breakdown follows:

Museum Type Number
Art 49
Children’s 7
History 358
National History & Natural Science 27
Science & Technology 10
Tribal Museums and Cultural Centers 37
Zoos, Aquariums, Zoological Societies and Arboreta Botanical Gardens 12

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Where can I find information on museum best practices and standards?

The Oklahoma Museums Association encourages Oklahoma museums to take the Pledge of Excellence as provided by the American Alliance of Museums. OMA further encourages all Oklahoma museums to adopt best practices and standards for their institution. More information and a variety of resources to assist museums on the continuum of excellence can be found on the Alliance website including ethics, standards, and best practices. The American Association for State and Local History offers StEPS, Standards and Excellence in History Organizations. The Oklahoma Center for Nonprofits offers the Standards for Excellence. OMA offers a variety of training to assist Oklahoma museums with excellence.

How many American Alliance of Museums accredited museums are there in Oklahoma?

AAM Accreditation is a widely recognized seal of approval that brings national recognition to a museum for its commitment to excellence, accountability, high professional standards, and continued institutional improvement.

As of 2023, Oklahoma has 14 accredited museums:

      1. Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art, University of Oklahoma, Norman
      2. Gilcrease Museum, Tulsa
      3. Museum of the Great Plains, Lawton
      4. National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, Oklahoma City
      5. Oklahoma City Museum of Art, Oklahoma City
      6. Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum, Oklahoma City
      7. Oklahoma City Zoological Park & Botanical Garden, Oklahoma City
      8. Oklahoma History Center – Oklahoma Historical Society, Oklahoma City
      9. Oklahoma State University Museum of Art, Stillwater
      10. Philbrook Museum of Art, Tulsa
      11. Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History, University of Oklahoma, Norman
      12. Science Museum Oklahoma, Oklahoma City
      13. Sherwin Miller Museum of Jewish Art, Tulsa
      14. Tulsa Children’s Museum, Tulsa

    What is the economic impact of Oklahoma museums?

    Museums play an important role in the economy. Museums directly contribute more than $21 billion to the national economy. Oklahoma museums are an important part of these overall numbers. Total Oklahoma Museum Industry Expenditures totaled $482,429,927 which is broken down by spending by museums $220,795,818 and spending by museum visitors $261,634,109. This total supports 16,929 full-time equivalent jobs.  Economic impact information is available here.

    What programs and services does the Oklahoma Museums Association offer?

    OMA is the primary provider of professional training and technical information to staff and volunteers of Oklahoma’s 500 museums, historic sites, tribal cultural centers, and historical societies. List of programs and services

    How do I become a member of the Oklahoma Museums Association?

    The Oklahoma Museums Association is the professional membership organization for museum staff, volunteers, board members and other Oklahomans who have an interest in museums. OMA invites you to get involved by becoming a member.

    Who should join the Oklahoma Museums Association?

    Museum professionals at all levels (paid and volunteer) are encouraged to join as an individual. This includes executives, directors, managers, development officers, exhibit and program developers, educators, curators, collections managers, registrars, archivists, museum store managers, visitor services managers, board members, volunteers, students interested in museum careers, and others.

    Institutions also are encouraged to join under the museum category. OMA is the primary provider of training and information to Oklahoma’s 500 museums, historical societies, historic sites, zoos and botanical gardens, historic houses, living history museums, tribal cultural centers, and other related entities.

    Partner memberships are available to businesses and other organizations with an interest in museums. There is a University members category too. 

    Read more on OMA membership and benefits

    Does OMA offer scholarships to its training and programs?

    Find information about the OMA Scholarship Program here.

    How do I start a museum?
    A variety of resources for starting a museum can be found on the OMA website.

    Click here to view the resources

    Where can I find resources for an emergency in my museum?

    The Oklahoma Museums Association provides information to assist Oklahoma museums in the event of a disaster at this link.

    Where can I find someone to appraise an item?

    It is against the Code of Ethics of museums to place a value on an artifact or collection. Also, know that it is unethical for appraisers to base their fees on a percentage of the appraised value of an artifact or collection. There are three main appraisal organizations: American Society of Appraisers, Appraisers Association of America, and International Society of Appraisers. Members of these organizations generally work as individual contractors. Fees are based on the scope of the individual project and should be discussed directly with the appraiser.

    The Internal Revenue Service Publication 561 on determining the value of donated property including  definitions of qualified appraisal and appraisers can be found at this link.

    Where can I find resources for fundraising?

    OMA does not offer a grant program but makes available resources for museums to research further.

    How do I find out about job openings in museums?

    The Oklahoma Museums Association posts announcements for positions in Oklahoma and the region as a priority. The OMA website also lists where other job announcements can be found.

    View job opportunities here.

    Where can I find museum information on a national level?

    The American Alliance of Museums is the only national organization representing the entire scope of museums and professionals and nonpaid staff who work for and with museums.

    Visit the AAM website for more information.