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Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum gets an oil change

Written by , published June 24, 2014

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The Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum in Canyon plans to renovate its Harrington Petroleum Wing to better reflect modern developments in drilling technology and enhance the museum’s account of the energy industry’s impact on the Panhandle. 

The museum, which has already raised more than half of its $1.6-million goal for the renovation, plans to begin construction in early 2015.

The second floor gallery of the Harrington Wing, opened in 1986, is dedicated to telling the story of oil and gas production and its impact on the economy and lifestyle of the Panhandle region. Named for Texas oilman Don D. Harrington, the museum wing houses examples of historic oilfield and drilling-exploration tools, along with a full-sized replica of a 1930s gas station.

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The renovated exhibit will feature more examples of modern drilling technology, and plot the evolution of the oil industry through the beginning of the 21st Century, says Becky Livingston, the museum’s curator of history. The museum also plans to add a learning center with more in-depth information.

“The story of oil and gas production in the Panhandle is complex and ongoing,” Livingston says. “By giving the 16,000-square-foot, second-floor gallery of the Don D. Harrington Petroleum Wing an oil change, our goal is to relate that history as completely and accurately in a way that engages our diverse audience.”

To fund the upgrade, the museum, in partnership with the Panhandle Producers and Royalty Owners Association, is offering 250 personalized “oil drops” and “barrels” on the donor wall of the museum balcony for costs ranging from $250 to $1,000.  

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