In 1926, oilman Waite Phillips commissioned a Renaissance-style villa on his 23 acres of Tulsa land. Finished in 1927, the structure served as his home until 1938, when Phillips decided to focus on a different kind of oil: oil painting. He converted his 72-room mansion and all 23 acres into the Philbrook Museum of Art, which houses an extensive collection to this day.
Its international pieces range from African word sculptures and an 18th-century Chinese porcelain docai vase to funerary objects flanking an Egyptian mummiform coffin. From its homeland, the Philbrook showcases Native American basketry and paintings spanning the 18th through 21st centuries, including 15 works by Andrew Wyeth. Outside, the museum's remaining acreage hosts a lush garden whose trails run alongside native Oklahoma plants and plants that relocated to Oklahoma after college.
Along with permanent and rotating exhibitions, the Philbrook stakes its claim as a cultural hub with interactive, enlightening programs and events. In the summer, these include daytime art camps for six- to 12-year-olds and a nighttime film series that screens features in the garden.