The Petroleum Museum – Midland, Texas - Atlas Obscura

The Petroleum Museum

Midland, Texas

The petroleum industry brings you the joys of hydrocarbons and largest collection of antique oil rigs in the world. 


The Petroleum Museum, funded by oil companies and private donors, has a diverse array of exhibits that provide an in-depth look into the growth of the modern oil industry. Located only minutes away from the childhood home of George W. Bush, this museum is a bastion of all things oil, from the Petroleum Hall of Fame to the largest collection of oil rigs in the world.

Since the first gusher in Texas started spewing black gold in the 19th century and entrepreneurs began to see its economic potential, oil has played an essential role in modern American life. This museum espouses the positive impacts that oil has had and how it has benefited society; from the cars we drive to how modern petrochemicals are used to produce many of the products that Americans use on a daily basis.

On top of housing an impressive collection of antique and modern oil rigs, the museum shares the narrative of the industry and champions its pioneers. Interactive exhibits describe the geology of the Permian Basin in west Texas, diagrams and dioramas explain the engineering and design of drilling and refining equipment and a showroom displays Chaparral Road Racers and describes the essential role that petroleum played in the success of the surface transportation industry. The exhibits go to great length to show how oil has made inroads into almost every aspect of modern life.

The museum allows for the casual visitor to get a glimpse into the joys of hydrocarbons, how oil has influenced the culture of west Texas and fueled the world economy for better or worse.

Know Before You Go

1500 Interstate 20 West
Midland, TX 79701
(EXIT 136, North Service road)

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October 14, 2009

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