Philbrook Museum: Tulsa Visit

Philbrook Museum: Not Your Ordinary Art Museum

Once upon a time art museums were stuffy places that only the grown up ‘elite’ could visit – at least that is what some people thought. But not so!! Art museums are awesome places to take the kids. They love art of all types and often see the beauty in art when grown ups can’t. Asking kids what they think about art leads to very  interesting conversations! Try it and see what your kids think about your favorite art piece.

Philbrook Museum: Art is for everyone! Second Saturday

The Philbrook Museum staff prides itself on making art available to everyone – especially families with kids.  On the second Saturday of the month, entrance to the museum is FREE and unbelievably kid friendly.

Sign your kids up for My Museum so they can receive a new art supply to put in it their free green art container. The activities on the Second Saturday of the month are a great way to explore the museum for the kids.

My son made an art puzzle on our visit.

Philbrook Museum: Second Saturday

Philbrook Museum: Historical House

The Philbrook Museum wasn’t always a public building. It was the home of Waite and Genevieve Phillip during the roaring 20s. Admire the house as you walk around looking at art. Imagine living in this grand place!

This ‘disco’ lighted floor was installed after the Phillip family admired one in Paris.

Philbrook Museum: disco floor

Philbrook Museum: Stay For Lunch

Inside the Philbrook Museum is La Villa Restaurant. The menu is American and Vegetarian and their Sunday brunch has been voted as “Best of the Best” in Oklahoma magazine.

Philbrook Museum: Enjoy the Gardens

Not only are the gardens on 23 acres beautiful, especially in the spring when the hundreds of tulips bloom, but they are a perfect place for a wiggle break if one of the kiddos needs it!

Philbrook Museum: photo courtesy of PhilbrookPhilbrook Museum: photo courtesy of PhilbrookPhilbrook Museum: photo courtesy of PhilbrookPhilbrook Museum: Family Studio Saturdays

Come and go every Saturday EXCEPT the 2nd Saturday of the month between 12:30-3:30. Pick up a free Gallery Challenge Card at the front desk and head to studio C. Explore art in a safe and fun environment and create with the kids!

Challenge cards give you a starting point for discussing and creation!

Philbrook Museum: Family Studio Saturday

Philbrook Museum: Word Class Art Exhibits

Check out the current art exhibit on display through enjoy May 1, 2016 Legends of Design. Vote for your favorite piece with a cut out paper heart you can pick up at the front desk.

I loved this chair made out of melted plastic bags called ‘Direct From The Trash’! Isn’t it cool what can be made out of what is usually thrown away?

Philbrook Museum: Legends of Design

Philbrook Museum: Native American Art

What exactly is Native American art? Does it make you think of teepees and head dresses and buffalo hunts? Most people would think so, but the truth is Native American art can have any subject and any style. What makes Native American art –  Native American isn’t the subject or medium….it is the artist.

The Philbrook Museum has one of the best collections of 20th century Native American art in the country. You’ll find different mediums and styles and subjects here with the common thread of the Native American artist.

An example: Take a look at these two pieces of art with a similar subjects.

The first is from a Native American artist and so is Native American art.  Note the absence of background and the intense detail in costumes.

Native Artist:
Velino Shije Herrera
Zia, 1902-1973
Ceremonial Buffalo Dance, c. 1948
Watercolor on paper
Philbrook Museum of Art, Tulsa

Philbrook Art: Native American Art

The second is NOT from a Native American artist and thus, inspite of the subject is NOT Native American art. Notice the detailed background.

Non-Native Artist:
Leon Gaspard
American, born in Russia, 1882-1964
Buffalo Dance at Zuni, 1953-64
Oil on Canvas
Eugene B. Adkins Collection, Philbrook Museum of Art, Tulsa

Philbrook Museum: Non

Philbrook Museum: Talk!

Discuss the art with your family.

For example: What do you see in this piece of art? A sailboat? A butterfly?

Philbrook Museum: Talk about Art

What about this fun piece? Would you choose a different face? What would you use for legs? What would you name it? Don’t be afraid to question the art entirely. What makes this ‘art’ and not just a pile of stuff? Is it because it makes you think of something else? Is it a commentary on waste in our generation or is it just plain fun? There are no wrong answers here!

Philbrook Museum: Discuss the Art


Philbrook Museum: Stretch Your Mind

Sometimes art can make you stretch your mind and challenge the way things appear at first. Take this wonderful piece as an example.

Spot’s Suitcase by Marilyn Levine. Doesn’t it look like this suitcase has seen many travels? Can’t you imagine how supple the leather is? Can you smell the worn leather in your minds’ eye?

Philbrook Museum: Talk About the Art

Look again. This supple, soft, worn leather suitcase is made of…..ceramic.  Even after I knew it was ceramic, no matter how hard I looked – it looked like soft leather to me!

Philbrook Museum: Stretch your mind


The Philbrook Museum is a fantastic visit for families. Take the whole family and enjoy the experience!

Happy Travels,

Natalie, The Educational Tourist

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12 Responses

  1. Tonya says:

    The trash chair is pretty cool. I wish I was that creative!

  2. Kerri says:

    Love the ceramic suitcase. Always so many interesting things to find when we travel !

    • NatalieTanner says:

      It was my favorite, too. No matter how many times I looked at it and no matter how closely. I couldn’t tell it wasn’t leather!!! Amazinng. Thanks for stopping by.

  3. Jen Morrow says:

    I love art museums! To experience a wide variety of mediums and topics, include the local art like Native American, such a treat. The tulip gardens are an added bonus.

  4. kad8585 says:

    Art museums are always fun, but I love how interactive this museum is. Always nice to see a place that really strives to engage children and instill in them a love of art. Thanks for sharing.

  5. wanderingwagarschristina says:

    It’s so true. I feel like museums have changed so that they are definitely more kid-friendly. I like the examples you present here on how to make the visit more engaging with kids. This is definitely a challenge we have with boys with short attention spans. Philbrook sound like a great museum to visit in the summer time to also be able to explore the extensive gardens. I will keep this in mind when in the Tulsa area.

  6. Daisy says:

    I’ve always loved art but to be honest, I’ve never been a huge fan of museums because I just lack the patience :(. However, it’s so great to see a museum reaching out to people like me, who totally lack the background, and make it interesting through interactive activities! Will definitely look for these in my city!

  7. Only By Land says:

    The best of the best for American brunch sounds amazing without the museum as well! My daughter would be occupied for the day here, I don’t think she’d want to stop for brunch. She’d be able to run around crazy in the tulip gardens too!

  8. Joanna says:

    The Philbrook Museum sounds like a great place to spend an entire day and with so many different topics covered your children won’t get bored. I like museums that are interactive, even if I’m an adult. I still try to experience everything. 🙂 It’s really nice that they have a restaurant in there too, for when the little ones get hungry.

  9. Janine Good says:

    I must admit art and museums aren’t my thing that often, but sometimes I enjoy the creativity of artists. The trash chair looks really interesting and definitely a piece of art. It seems like this museum really does embrace all ages and allows for creativity to flow. I would consider a visit.

  10. Diana Chen says:

    The disco floor sounds like so much fun! This whole place sounds fun actually – there is enough of a variety of things to do that no one will get bored. I hope to have the opportunity to check out Philbrook for myself someday!

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