My Favorite Museum: Woolaroc

Monday, March 19, 2012

Researching Lonely Planet guidebooks, you end up seeing dozens and dozens of museums no one would really bother with. Some of them I loved. The Romanian Peasant Museum in Bucharest, for example, has hand-written signs and an arrow leading to a makeshift "grandma" room. It's filled with various knick-knacks once belonging to various grandmas, with the gentle suggestion that "life is busy, but we should always keep one grandma keepsake after she dies." That's the sweetest thing I've ever seen.

But it's not my favorite museum. My favorite, decked in limestone and nostalgia, is the museum at Woolaroc, a collection of Western and Native American art at the one-time summer home of Frank Phillips of Phillips '66, in the rolling prairies of the Osage Nation outside Bartlesville, Oklahoma. I've been, probably 20 times (and counting) in my life, often meeting cousins to picnic to the soundtrack of locust buzz and lingering long below paintings of Custer's Last Stand.

There's plenty of wildlife to see and one fake one I love: a (fake) talking buffalo, who used to suck up trash and still tells you not to touch him if you pet him. Which I always do.

The video above is a look at Woolaroc (named for the area's Wood, Lakes, Rocks) in 15 seconds.