Previous Exhibits


"Native Voices: Native Peoples' Concepts of Health and Illness"
Dec. 7 through Jan. 17, 2018

This traveling exhibit explores the interconnectedness of wellness, illness and cultural life for Native Americans, Alaska Natives and Native Hawaiians.

The exhibition was developed by the U.S. National Library of Medicine and was displayed from 2011 to 2015 at the Library of Medicine in Bethesda, Maryland. Through a partnership with the American Library Association (ALA) Public Programs Office, the exhibition is touring across the country to public libraries, academic libraries, tribal libraries, tribal college libraries and special libraries.



"Explore Evolution" 
Sept. 23 through Dec. 31, 2017

Explore the evolution of life and learn all about Earth's organisms, from rapidly evolving viruses to whales that walked. Consider seven interpretive areas focusing on cutting-edge scientific research illustrating how the evolutionary principles of variation, inheritance, selection and time are at work in different organisms.

How does one species of fruit fly turn into 800? How can environmental changes and differing food supply cause finches' bills to change size and shape? Spearheaded by the University of Nebraska State Museum and funded by the National Science Foundation, this exhibit was created by the Sam Noble Museum as part of a consortium of six museums across the country.

This exhibit is sponsored by Love’s Travel Stops & Country Stores. 

exh17_gbof_webbanner"Comets, Asteroids, Meteors: Great Balls of Fire!"

May 20 through Sept. 10, 2017

The threat of a catastrophic impact from an asteroid or comet is a staple of popular culture. If there was a dinosaur killer in Earth’s past, is there a human killer in our future? What are the chances and how do we assess the risks? For that matter, what are asteroids, comets and meteorites, and where do they come from?

This exhibit was created by the Space Science Institute’s National Center for Interactive Learning, with funding from the National Science Foundation and NASA.

exh17_uglybugs_featured"Ugly Bugs! Celebrating 20 years of the Oklahoma Microscopy Society’s Ugly Bug Contest"

Feb. 11 through Sept. 4, 2017

The Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History and the Oklahoma Microscopy Society celebrate 20 years of the Oklahoma Ugly Bug contest with an exhibition of larger-than-life photos of insects, all captured by the contest’s 2016 winners.

Open to all Oklahoma elementary schools, the annual “ugly bug” competition is designed to get students interested in microscopy and entomology at a young age. The rules are simple: Each school can submit one bug — the uglier, the better — and a complete scientific description of the insect. Entries are processed at SEM labs across the state, including Oklahoma State University, Phillips 66 and the Samuel Roberts Noble Microscopy Laboratory on the University of Oklahoma campus, and imaged by a scanning electron microscope. The school with the winning entry, judged by a group of OMS members, receives a Leica stereomicroscope.

“This exhibit provides a great opportunity for kids to learn more about the world around them and do so on a much different scale than they’re used to,” said Katrina Menard, entomology curator at the Sam Noble Museum. “Visitors will be able to see the beauty of these bugs that they wouldn’t be able to see with the naked eye.” 

roots of wisdom

"Roots of Wisdom:  Native Knowledge.  Shared Science."

Jan. 28 through May 7, 2017

Overcoming environmental and cultural challenges can make for unexpected partnerships that result in extraordinary outcomes. With its newest exhibit, “Roots of Wisdom: Native Knowledge. Shared Science,” the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History shares the knowledge of native peoples and cutting-edge Western science, providing insight into how we can improve our relationship with the natural world.

“Roots of Wisdom” features stories from four indigenous communities, giving visitors real-life examples of how traditional knowledge and Western science together provide complementary solutions to ecological and health challenges we face today. Through the voices of elders and youth, engaging video interactives and hands-on games, visitors will gather resources, examine data and take part in the growing movement toward sustainability and the reclamation of age-old practices.



"Mystery of the Mayan Medallion"

Oct. 15, 2016, through Jan. 16, 2017

In this immersive exhibit, visitors are transported to Palenque, Mexico, where an archaeological team has mysteriously disappeared from a dig site while investigating rumors of a priceless jade medallion. They will follow the clues the team left behind to locate the precious medallion while avoiding the dangers lurking in the ruins. The exhibit includes archaeology, biology and astro-mathematic field stations, an observatory and a tomb area that yield clues to the medallion’s whereabouts. At these field stations and assorted sites, visitors must translate glyphs, discover which rainforest animals are poisonous, learn how the Maya recorded dates, take rubbings from a sarcophagus and interpret a battle mural to solve the mystery. Kids will love the hands-on components of this exhibit, but any museum visitor is likely to learn a great deal from it and possibly ignite a greater curiosity for archaeology and history. The Arkansas Discovery Network, a group of seven museums and educational centers that focuses on creating interactive museum experiences, developed the traveling exhibit in 2006.

When the Earth Shakes - Featured

"When the Earth Shakes"
Sept. 16, 2016, through Jan. 2, 2017

Learn all about the science of earthquakes, tsunamis and tectonic plates through When the Earth Shakes, an immersive interactive exhibit exploring the world below our feet. Watch how continents move and re-form as you spin the dial through geologic history, from 600 million years ago all the way to 200 million years in the future, and see where earthquakes happen all around the world on the seismic monitor that shows them in real time. Museum-goers will see fast-paced videos of engineers working to make our world safer as they use amazing tools and technology to test and improve building techniques and materials. In the “Puzzled Earth” display, visitors can see how quickly they can assemble a map of giant tectonic plates before the clock runs out and all the pieces fall. On the “Shake Table” platform, they can test their engineering skills by using blocks and reinforcing rods to design and build a model of an earthquake-safe building. Visitors can spin the dial, replay the impact in slow-motion, then improve the design. When the Earth Shakes is sponsored by NEES, the National Network for Earthquake Engineering Simulation, a group of 14 university research facilities where engineers and scientists have tested buildings and structures with giant shake tables, centrifuges, a tsunami wave basin and other large-scale equipment. The exhibition was developed by Sciencenter in Ithaca, New York, with funding from the National Science Foundation and NEES.

Titanoboa: Monster Snake"Titanoboa"

July 2 through Sept. 25, 2016

The world’s largest snake stayed at the Sam Noble Museum! From a fossil bed deep within Colombia’s Cerrejón coal mine emerges Titanoboa, the largest snake ever found. This Paleocene reptile, from the epoch following the dinosaurs’ demise 60 million years ago, stretches our concept of what a snake can be. At 48 feet long and 2,900 lbs., Titanoboa was longer than a school bus and able to devour massive prehistoric crocodiles.This jaw-dropping exhibit will feature a full-scale model of Titanoboa and will explore its discovery, reconstruction and implications of the enormous, fearsome reptile.

"Be the Dinosaur"

March 5 through Sept. 5, 2016

A lifelike delight for the entire family, Be the Dinosaur features video game stations that require each player to decide — do they want to be an herbivore or a carnivore? The decision leads them on a virtual adventure for survival – deciding to eat the wrong plant or turning the wrong corner could spell the end of the game, which is set in an immersive recreation of the Cretaceous period, which took place over 65 million years ago. While Be the Dinosaur is heavy on video game magic, it comes with a strong dose of education as well. The world of Be the Dinosaur is one of the world’s most extensive restorations of an extinct ecosystem ever created and visitors are able to explore what the day in the life of a dinosaur may have actually been like. In addition to the game stations, the exhibit also features a paleontology field station and a Safari Jeep.

Galileo's World"Through the Eyes of the Lynx: Galileo and the Microscope"

Feb. 6 through Aug. 31, 2016

Through the Eyes of the Lynx is the second of two Galileo’s World exhibitions developed in collaboration with the University Libraries and the History of Science Collections. Galileo and the Academy of the Lynx, or Accademia dei Lincei, were responsible for the first published report of observations made with a microscope (Apiarium, 1625), as well as with the telescope. At the same time Galileo was making his telescopic discoveries, he was also experimenting with lenses to magnify the small. Another member of the Lincei, Johann Faber, named Galileo’s new instrument a microscope. In antiquity, the lynx was renowned for possessing sharp eyesight at night. The founder of the Lincei, Federigo Cesi, believed that the eyes of the Lincei would peer more deeply into the secrets of nature than ever before. The keen eyes of the Academy of the Lynx stretched the boundaries of European thought in the life sciences just as with Galileo’s discoveries in the physical sciences. This exhibition is in conjunction with Galileo's World: A Exhibition without Walls, a series of exhibits, events, and programs at the Bizzell Memorial Library, Sam Noble Museum, National Weather Center, Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art, Headington Hall, Robert M. Bird Health Sciences Library and OU-Tulsa Schusterman Library in celebration of OU’s 125th anniversary. Beginning Aug. 2015 and running through Aug. 2016, Galileo’s World illustrates connections between science, art, literature, music, religion, philosophy, politics and culture. View the Galileo's World video here. 

Collision and Creation Banner"Collision & Creation: Indigenous Arts of the Americas, 1890-2015"

Aug. 29 through Feb. 21, 2016

In celebration of the University of Oklahoma’s 125th anniversary, the Sam Noble Museum has developed Collision & Creation: Indigenous Arts of the Americas 1890-2015, an exhibit showcasing ethnographic arts created by Native peoples of the Americas between 1890 and 2015. Collision & Creation examines the conquest and colonization of the Western Hemisphere by Europeans beginning in the 1500s and the subsequent era of oppression of indigenous peoples. The harsh realities of European conquest fostered new forms of artistic expression and brought together a unique mixture of people, materials and ideas that influenced the history and future of indigenous arts. Some objects in Collision & Creation express traditional stability, while others directly result from the colonial exchange between Native peoples of the Americas and foreign nations. Europeans introduced new materials and tools that indigenous artists used to create innovative forms of art. Today, indigenous arts in the Americas reflect people’s efforts to balance traditions with contemporary community life.  


"First Folio! The Book that Gave Us Shakespeare"

Jan. 4 through Jan. 30, 2016

In honor of the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death in 1616, First Folio! The Book that Gave Us Shakespeare will be on exhibit beginning January 2016. First Folio!, organized by the Folger Shakespeare Library, the Cincinnati Museum Center and the American Library Association, will be opened to the most quoted line from Shakespeare and one of the most quoted lines in the world: “To be or not to be,” from Hamlet. Accompanying the rare book will be a multi-panel exhibition exploring the significance of Shakespeare, then and now, with additional digital content and interactive activities. During the exhibition, the University of Oklahoma, with the cooperation of the university’s medieval and early modern faculty, will present numerous public programs. Also on display in complement to the First Folio exhibition will be Shakespeare’s Second Folio (1632), held in the John and Mary Nichols Special Collections at Bizzell Memorial Library, as a part of the Galileo’s World exhibition celebrating the university’s 125th anniversary. First Folio’s exhibition in Oklahoma is a collaboration between the Sam Noble Museum and the University of Oklahoma English Department, College of Arts & Sciences’ Center for Medieval & Renaissance Studies and University Libraries’ Special Collections. Click here for a full list of programs and events in conjunction with First Folio! Admission is complimentary to this exhibit only. 

Galileo's World

"Through the Eyes of the Lynx: Galileo, Natural History and the Americas"

Aug. 1 through Jan. 18, 2016

Through the Eyes of the Lynx is the first of two Galileo’s World exhibitions developed in collaboration with the University Libraries and the History of Science Collections. This exhibit showcases the written works of The Academy of the Lynx, one of the world’s earliest scientific societies, stretching Europeans’ understanding of the life sciences, and its most well-known member, Galileo Galilei, who brought his expertise in mathematics, engineering, literature, art and medicine, expanding the Lynx's understanding of the physical sciences. Founded by an Italian aristocrat Federico Cesi in 1603, the Accademia dei Lincei (The Academy of the Lynx) published the research of Francisco Hernandez, the court physician to King Philip II, who traveled across the ocean to explore the Americas in the 1500s. His works described hundreds of plants and animals — and, perhaps most importantly, the medicinal and daily uses of each. This exhibition is in conjunction with Galileo's World: A Exhibition without Walls, a series of exhibits, events, and programs at the Bizzell Memorial Library, Sam Noble Museum, National Weather Center, Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art, Headington Hall, Robert M. Bird Health Sciences Library and OU-Tulsa Schusterman Library in celebration of OU’s 125th anniversary. Beginning Aug. 2015 and running through Aug. 2016, Galileo’s World illustrates connections between science, art, literature, music, religion, philosophy, politics and culture. View the Galileo's World video here.   

A Forest Journey

"A Forest Journey: How Trees Shape our World"

Jan. 17 through May 3, 2015

This rich and inviting interactive exhibit is inspired by the Harvard classic A Forest Journey: The Role of Wood in the Development of Civilization by science writer John Perlin. It sheds new light on the history of the use of wood throughout the world, on forest products (from paper to lifesaving pharmaceuticals) and on the relationship between forests and the green house effect. The exhibit is a journey through time from modern day trees to their prehistoric counterparts. From deforestation and erosion, to fuel and product uses, A Forest Journey illustrates the diversity of needs and effects trees have environmentally, socially, communally and economically. Exhibit sponsored by Love’s Travel Stops and Country Stores.

harmless-hunter"Harmless Hunter: The Wildlife Work of Charles M. Russell"

Jan. 31 through April 26, 2015

Paintings, sketches and sculptures from Charles M. Russell, one of the most popular and influential American wildlife artists of his time, are on display at the Sam Noble Museum. Organized by the National Museum of Wildlife Art in Jackson, Wyoming in collaboration with the Charles M. Russell Center for the Study of Art of the American West, University of Oklahoma, this exhibit was curated by B. Byron Price, Director, Charles M. Russell Center and University of Oklahoma Press. Exhibit sponsored by Love’s Travel Stops and Country Stores.

Enriched! Paintings by Oklahoma City Zoo Animals

"Enriched: The Oklahoma City Zoo animals paint"

Feb. 16 through April 5, 2015

Painting provides the animals with new sights, smells and textures that enrich their lives. Their art also spreads a message of hope for animals in Oklahoma and around the world. Periodically, the painted canvases are sold so that the proceeds can be donated to designated animal conservation projects.


"RARE: Portraits of America's Endangered Species"

Sept. 13 through Jan. 19, 2015

Well-known endangered species like bald eagles and sea turtles are showcased alongside more unfamiliar species including the Delhi Sands flower-loving fly and the Higgins eye mussel. In addition to highlighting those species most in danger, National Geographic’s RARE also celebrates endangered species making a comeback including the red wolf and the American alligator, which have both rebounded from the verge of extinction. The exhibition is based on Joel Sartore’s book by the same title, which, like the exhibition, organizes the featured species by number of living populations remaining. The project’s message was made particularly poignant when one of the featured animals, the Columbian Basin pygmy rabbit, went extinct while the book was being produced. The exhibition also examines the history, purpose and effectiveness of the Endangered Species Act of 1973. Exhibit sponsored by Love’s Travel Stops and Country Stores. and a grant from the Norman Arts Council.


"Formed in Stone: The Natural Beauty of Fossils"

July 4 through Jan. 4, 2015

The Sam Noble Museum hosts the temporary photographic exhibit Formed in Stone: The Natural Beauty of Fossils featuring an array of dazzling geometric designs on fossils dating from 80 to 455 million years old. The exhibit includes digital photographs magnified up to 60 times to reveal the hidden surface of each fossilized microorganism. Accompanying the image gallery are 12 diverse physical specimens, eight of which are from Oklahoma.

The fossils in this exhibit belong to the museum’s invertebrate paleontology collection, which contains around 1 million specimens from across the globe. This collection represents the combined efforts of paleontologists from the Oklahoma Geological Survey and the University of Oklahoma School of Geology and Geophysics.

Hungry Planet

"Hungry Planet: What the World Eats"

May 3 through Aug. 31, 2014

Gain a global perspective on the food and the environment through spectacular photos from the award-winning book by Peter Menzel and Faith D’Alusio. Visitors will meet ten families from around the world photographed in their kitchens with one week’s worth of food. They will discover surprising similarities and differences in how each family produces, shops for, and prepares their food. Some foods show up on almost every family’s menu, while others are unique.

The exhibition provides a thought-provoking analysis of worldwide food consumption in a way that is entertaining and accessible. The 40 color photographs, depicting everything from American drive-thru fast food restaurants to open-air kitchens in Mali, document the sharp contrasts and universal aspects of this essential human pursuit.

Ramp It Up"Ramp It Up! Skateboard Culture in Native America"

Feb. 8 through June 11, 2014

Skateboarding is one of the most popular sports on Indian reservations, inspiring and influencing American Indian and Native Hawaiian communities since the 1960s. “Ramp It Up,” sponsored by Love’s Travel Stops & Country Stores, features 20 skate decks, including examples from Native companies and contemporary artists, rare images and video of Native skaters. Highlights include a never-before-exhibited 1969 image taken by skateboarding icon C.R. Stecyk III of a skate deck depicting traditional Native imagery and 1973 home-movie footage of Zephyr surf team members Ricky and Jimmy Tavarez (Gabrielino-Tongva).

The exhibition features the work of visual artists Bunky Echo-Hawk (Yakama/Pawnee), Joe Yazzie (Navajo), Traci Rabbit (Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma) and Dustinn Craig (White Mountain Apache/Navajo) and highlights young Native skaters such as 22-year-old Bryant Chapo (Navajo), 13-year-old Augustin Lerma and 10-year-old Armondo Lerma (Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians).

As skateboarding continues to rise in popularity in Indian Country, Native skaters and entrepreneurs have combined core lessons learned from the sport — strength, balance and tenacity — with traditional tribal iconography and contemporary art to engage Native youth in their history and culture. “Ramp It Up” examines the role of indigenous peoples in skateboarding culture, its roots in ancient Hawaiian surfing and the visionary achievements of contemporary Native skaters. Skateboarding combines demanding physical exertion, design, graphic art, filmmaking and music to produce a unique and dynamic culture. “Ramp It Up” illustrates how indigenous people and tribal communities have used skateboarding to express themselves and educate their youth.

George M. Sutton Exploring Art and Science"George M. Sutton: Exploring Art & Science"

Jan. 18 through April 20, 2014

When George Miksch Sutton arrived in Norman in the spring of 1952 to begin work at The University of Oklahoma, he was already an acclaimed artist, writer, explorer and teacher. His passionate interest in ornithology and the natural sciences had led him on several expeditions in the continental US as well as the Arctic north, Mexico and South America. By the time of his death in 1982, he had written 13 books, over 200 scientific journal articles and illustrated at least 18 books.

George M. Sutton: Exploring Art and Science features 75 watercolor paintings from George Miksch Sutton's Mexico, Arctic and US expeditions. Also in the exhibit will be personal items from Dr. Sutton’s life and travels, including the watercolor paint box given to him by his mentor, Louis Agassiz Fuertes in 1916 when Sutton was 18. The paint box was treasured by Sutton and accompanied him on every major expedition.

The exhibit will also include rare video of Dr. Sutton speaking about his art and how he painted some works direct from life.

The Art of Sport and Play"The Art of Sport + Play Experience"

Oct. 19 through Jan. 26, 2014

Kevin Carroll’s first exhibition, The Art of Sport and Play, is a personal look at selected pieces of memorabilia gathered from Kevin’s travels around the world. The heart of the collection is a group of handcrafted balls created by children with found materials from their native lands. With a playful spirit, The Art of Sport and Play tells a story about the universal power of sport. Created for all ages, the exhibit shows that sport and play are common human denominators and equalizers. No matter where you go in the world sport and play is ever-present – we ALL PLAY + we ALL SPEAK BALL.

Acclaimed author of Rules of the Red Rubber Ball and What’s Your Red Rubber Ball?!, Carroll grew up in Philadelphia playing as many sports as he could find. He played whatever sport was in season – soccer, football, basketball, baseball – and the red rubber ball was always there. It became a powerful symbol of sport while he ran, chased, caught, kicked, bounced and threw balls. His passion for sports has led to a life of advancing sports and play as a vehicle for social change.

Masterworks of Native American Art"Masterworks of Native American Art: Selections from the Fred and Enid Brown Collection"

Sept. 28 through Jan. 5, 2014

The Native American fine arts movement of the 20th century represents a recent chapter in a long history of artistic expression by the indigenous people of North America. For thousands of years the Native people of North America have created fantastic works of art in stone, ivory, metal, horn, shell, plant material, plaster and clay that were often embellished with pigments and painted designs.

This Masterworks exhibition presents a selection of Native American paintings and drawings created over the past 50 years, from ca. 1960-2010. The movement into a new century provides an opportunity to examine patterns of formal continuity and change in the artworks themselves, and the motivations, events and circumstances that inspire and guide their creation.

Bob Kuhn: Drawing on Instinct"Bob Kuhn: Drawing on Instinct"

June 1 through Sept. 8, 2013

Organized by the National Museum of Wildlife Art in Jackson Hole, Wyo., and curated by Adam Harris, this retrospective exhibit focuses on a selection of masterpieces from Kuhn’s work, displaying the relationship between predator and prey. The exhibit includes drawings from Kuhn’s childhood sketches of animals at the Buffalo Zoo in New York as well as sketches and paintings of wildlife in North America and Africa from later in his artistic career.

The museum’s collection displays 155 sketches and paintings, selected from more than 5,000 studies, and exhibits a compilation of Kuhn’s artwork until his death in 2007. Some of the sketches tie directly to finished works of art in the exhibit, but many are included to be appreciated on their own merits. Seeing this material together gives visitors a sense of the artistic process behind Kuhn’s masterpieces.

Beautiful Beasts"Beautiful Beasts: The Unseen life of Oklahoma Spiders and Insects"

Feb. 2 through Sept. 8, 2013

Oklahoma photographer Thomas Shahan will take you there. Beautiful Beasts presents a series of Shahan’s immense color macro photographs alongside descriptions of where and how the photographs were made. The exhibit chronicles the photographer’s tireless search for arthropods, a venture that has made him into an outspoken advocate for education about the role they play in our lives.

Shahan’s up-close views of Oklahoma spiders and insects promise to forever change how visitors think and feel about these creatures. Sponsored by a grant from the Norman Arts Council.

Dancers and Deities"Dancers & Deities: Kachinas from the James T. Bialac Native American Art Collection"

Sept. 21, 2012, through Jan. 6, 2013

Dancers and Deities features an amazing selection of Native American Kachina created by master artists from Hopi and Zuni Pueblos. As deities Kachinas are important figures in the cosmology and religion of the Pueblo people of the American Southwest.

As masked dancers Kachinas are central in the rituals and ceremonies conducted to insure the rain and fertility necessary for a bountiful harvest. As dancers Kachinas become highly symbolic representations of the deities. In recent times Kachina carvings have become treasured artworks that exhibit deep cultural significance and creative ability. The Bialac collection includes works by dozens of significant artists and dates between 1950-2010, representing the full development of this art form and its commercial appeal.

Southwest Visions"Southwest Visions: Paintings from the James T. Bialac Native American Art Collection"

Oct. 5, 2012, through Jan. 6, 2013

Southwest Visions is built on centuries old traditions of painting on rock, earth and clay. Native artists from the Southwest region quickly adopted easel painting and developed a distinct style that helps to define contemporary Native American art. Including examples of the realistic style promoted by the Santa Fe Indian School in the 1930's and later responses to its colonial roots and aspirations, this exhibit presents a comprehensive suite of Southwest Native American paintings than spans the development of this important genre of Native American painting.