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Midland Permian Basin Petroleum Museum……a Harvest Host stop

February 2022

This was a fascinating stop in the middle of the dusty part of Texas. I am not a huge fan of oil companies and I do favor moving away from fossil fuels but everyone would find this museum informative. We did skip the film (which the friendly volunteer highly recommended) which I suspected might be more of a PR piece in favor of diving right into the hands on - and there was plenty of that in the modern museum way, engaging the visitors. We started underwater…that is in a room that simulated the area in prehistoric times. There was a very cool computer time lapse taking you through all the land changes and some great graphics to help visualize how the oil developed and where it gets accumulated.

Continuing through the rooms were displays of tools and artifacts, a display where one could pretend to be an early oil company and make choices and see where they might lead due to random events-kind of like a choose your own oil adventure. One room was about how fossil fuels especially oil are seen in the news. Down the center were displays of magazine covers (such as Time etc) over the decades ranging from “oil is running out” to “oil is robust for years”; “Big oil pollutes” to “oil necessary part of economy” etc. Although it was clear the museum leaned towards oil I appreciated the fairness of displaying the range. Best of all was a bulletin board at they end where they printed out the news re oil THAT DAY and pinned up.

Also in the museum was a large gallery full of mineral and gemstone examples. My rockhound husband enjoyed that as did I for the spectacular looks. My favorite was the art gallery. The artist Tom Lovell whose work I already knew was commissioned to do a whole series of the area, starting with ancient native cultures to the oil boom years. The large paintings were displayed but also, in a thrill for this artist, some of the working drawings and letters discussing changes. Also in the museum was a display of race cars.

We were parked to the side in the parking lot, right next to an old wooden oil derrick that was moved there and some metal machinery that felt like sculptures. There were two of us Harvest Host rigs parked there and as the sun went down we had it all to ourselves. Unfortunately for the dogs there were too many goat heads to get in a proper walk. I was able to do a couple of small paintings though.

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