Hall of Ancient Life
Life in Oklahoma has existed for quite a long time - over 4 billion years, to be exact. Step into the past as you tour Oklahoma's rich prehistory, from the formation of the planet through the last Ice Age. In this remarkably detailed gallery, the past comes to life through spectacular models, interactive tools, detailed dioramas and exhibits featuring the paleontology collection's most impressive specimens.
Begin your journey by gazing upon a cutaway model of Earth as you discover how our planet was formed. Unearth the history of plate tectonics as you learn about the techniques scientists use to date rocks and fossils.
Now touch Oklahoma's prehistoric roots as you run your hands along a large meteorite. Explore a piece of the oldest surface rock found in Oklahoma or feel the cratered surface of stromatolites—dome-shaped rocks that were produced by one of the earliest forms of life on the planet.
As you pass between a paleozoic and jurassic realm, explore the exotic world of a Pennsylvanian coal swamp forest, packed with plants and animals from nearly 300 million years ago. Gaze upon dragonflies with wingspans nearly two feet wide, or pet the ridged back of the Arthropleura, a six-foot-long ancestor of the modern millipede.
Look out! Two dinosaurs fight to the death in "The Clash of the Titans", the gallery's centerpiece exhibit. The world's largest Apatosaurus extends his long neck as he faces a most fearsome, Oklahoma predator, the Saurophaganax. Flee the battle and take a ride in the museum's glass dinovators. There, you will meet the Apatosaurus eye to eye.
Continue on your prehistorical voyage and watch as a mother Tenontosaurus protects her young from a pair of marauding Deinonychus. Then behold the breathtaking, fully articulated skeleton of the Pentaceratops, whose 10.5-foot skull holds the Guinness World Record as the world's largest.
Finally, witness the mass extinction of the dinosaurs 65 million years ago as you enter the Cenozoic Era. Stroll up to the massive skeletons of the ancient mammals of Oklahoma's Ice Age as you pass between worlds. As you end your voyage, walk beside a Columbian mammoth or Arctodus, the short-faced bear. But watch out! The Smilodon saber-toothed cat is always on the prowl.
Hall of Natural Wonders
Picture yourself in the mixed-grass prairies of Oklahoma, strolling beneath a hot summer sun. Butterflies lightly open and close their wings as a nearby bee rests upon a flower. You look closer and spot a black-tailed jack rabbit hiding in the brush. Slowly, you walk closer. But watch out! A rattlesnake slides underfoot and rattles a warning.
These are the sights and sounds of the Hall of Natural Wonders, where immersion style dioramas transport you from the museum to the Oklahoma outdoors. With five dioramas, representing each climate region of the sooner state, there's plenty of adventure to be had.
Night-owls will enjoy exploring a walk-through limestone cave. Inside, bats, crayfish and other animals dwell in near total darkness.
In the Ozark highlands diorama, oak and hickory branches arch overhead as whistling birds and rushing water serenade you. You can stop to examine the life of a highland stream, spot warblers and other birds in the branches, and discover the hidden life of the forest floor.
At the Sam Noble Museum, anyone can become a wilderness explorer. Come discover why the Oklahoma great outdoors is, well, great!
Hall of the People of Oklahoma
The Hall of the People of Oklahoma traces the 30,000-year history of the Native people of the state. Exhibits begin with the earliest archaeological evidence of humans in Oklahoma, and travel through time to an examination of what it means to be Native American in Oklahoma today.
The entry walls are covered in handprints made by representatives from 26 of Oklahoma's 39 federally recognized tribes. Gallery highlights include the "Cooper Skull," the crushed skull of a now-extinct bison, painted with a red zigzag pattern.
At 10,000 years old, it is the oldest painted object in North America. An audio-visual display takes you to the box canyon in northern Oklahoma where this important artifact was found. In the Mississippian Cultural Universe exhibit, you can walk through full-scale reproductions of the pole houses built by the people of the Mississippian culture, who lived 1,200 years ago and built Oklahoma's famous Spiro mounds.
You can also climb into a reproduction of a cedar canoe such as those used by these ancient artisans and see examples of some of the finest pre-Columbian artwork in North America. The modern-era exhibits in this gallery focus on the Native American experience in Oklahoma in the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries, including examples of clothing, toys and other objects that represent ceremonial and everyday traditional activities of the western tribes.
What does the museum do? Why do they do it? How does it get done? The Noble Corporation and Noble Energy Orientation Gallery answers these questions—and more! This interactive gallery provides insight into the behind-the-scenes work of our museum's collections and research departments. Learn about the ongoing research of museum scientists as you browse some of the most spectacular specimens and artifacts from our extensive collection.
As you enter, say hello to the, the world's tallest dinosaur. The 40-foot-long neck and skull peek into the museum's Great Hall to greet visitors. Like many of our visitors, this dinosaur is an Oklahoma native. In fact, several neck bones of this one-of-a-kind specimen were unearthed in southeast Oklahoma in 1994. Each neck bone measures more than 3 feet in length, but is surprisingly lightweight. In places, the bone is no thicker than a fingernail!
Whether you are learning about Oklahoma's prehistoric past, fauna of the present or the museum's future research endeavors, the Orientation Gallery is the perfect place to begin your journey at the Sam Noble Museum.
Conoco Oil Plaza
The history of the state of Oklahoma is inextricably linked with the remarkable history of the oil industry. The individuals identified here are true Oklahoma Oil Pioneers whose work laid the groundwork for the oil and gas industry in a young state. Their stories are not only inspirational, but serve as testaments to the extraordinary opportunities the early oil industry provided for individual achievements and public good. Although these individuals are now deceased, their stories of hard work, foresight, courage and accomplishment against overwhelming odds speaks to generations of Americans.
Thanks to President David L. Boren, Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History Director Michael Mares and Vice President for University Development David L. Maloney, this plaza reflects the museums mission of celebrating Oklahoma's history.
So whether you're grabbing a bite to eat, pausing for a quick photo or soaking up a little sun, take a moment to reflect upon the beautiful Conoco Oil Pioneers of Oklahoma Plaza and the men who inspired it.
Our Discovery Room is a hands-on exhibit space designed for visitors to explore museum objects in a stimulating and fun environment. Discover objects housed in the collection drawers, complete a series of tabletop activities, excavate dinosaur bones or simply examine the many wonders displayed in the room. All programs offered in the Discovery Room are free with museum admission.
It’s Feeding Time! Saturdays | 11:30 a.m. Observe local reptiles, amphibians and fish during their feeding time and learn more about these Oklahoma animals.
Discovery Time Saturdays | 2 p.m. Sundays | 2:30 p.m. Join us in the Discovery Room for programs geared for preschool and elementary-age children. Programs are interactive with a hands-on activity and may include stories, crafts, and touchable specimens.