Nifty Fifties: Culture & Commerce in 1950s Tulsa

Nifty Fifties: Culture & Commerce in 1950s Tulsa

CLOSED (APRIL 2015 – AUGUST 2016)

For the first half of the 20th century, Tulsa’s efforts to build the local economy and create a modern skyline continued at a rapid pace. Businesses diversified and supported Tulsa citizens and the country as a whole. By the end of the 1940s Tulsa’s efforts had succeeded in building a bigger city but some began to wonder about turning it into a better city.  As the 50s dawned the people of Tulsa questioned why their hometown was lacking the cultural opportunities experienced in other cities of the same size. The hardworking pioneers and early oilmen of the city were ready to help provide those luxuries to the next generation.

While Tulsans joined the rest of the country focusing on the Cold War, the Space Race, television, and Rock and Roll, Tulsa’s leaders worked to provide a better and more culturally complete community for its citizens.  This focus remained even as the city grew geographically and business and lifestyle patterns changed tremendously. At the close of the decade, the citizens of Tulsa were living in a vastly different community than had existed 10 years earlier.

This exhibit gives visitors a glimpse at life in Tulsa during the 1950s including the ways the city grew and changed and the ways individuals and families spent their time as the second half of the twentieth century began.

  • 1983.005.027
  • 2002.013.533
  • B0087
  • A1241
  • B3691
  • D4654
  • 2002.013.639p
  • 2011.050.030
  • A1351