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Tulsa

Gilcrease Museum

Gilcrease Museum is a museum located northwest of downtown Tulsa, Oklahoma. The museum now houses the world's largest, most comprehensive collection of art of the American West as well as a growing collection of art and artifacts from Central and South America. The museum is named for Thomas Gilcrease, an oil man and avid art collector.

Thomas Gilcrease grew up in the Creek Nation, located within present day Oklahoma. At the turn of the 20th century the federal government distributed lands held by American Indian tribes to private citizens. His tribal membership entitled him to an allotment of 160 acres (0.65 km2) located south of Tulsa near Glenpool. The land subsequently became part of one of Oklahoma's major oil fields, and Gilcrease proved to be an able businessman.

In 1922, he founded the Gilcrease Oil Company, and in less than ten years had greatly expanded his original holdings. Thomas Gilcrease traveled extensively in Europe during the 1920s and 1930s. His visits to European museums inspired him to create his own collection. Pride in his American Indian heritage and interest in the history of the American West provided a focus for his collecting.