News & Events - Press Releases

9. Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History

Press Contact: Nina Foster
(202) 414-0791;

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Left to right: Ernesto Vargas, Michael Mares, Mrs. Obama.

Left to right: Ernesto Vargas, Michael Mares, Mrs. Obama. Click image for a larger view.

The Sam Noble Museum has deep roots in Oklahoma. It began building collections in 1899 and has become one of the leading university-based natural history museums in the world, housing more than 10 million objects, specimens and artifacts. The museum provides entertaining and life-changing programs to young people, seniors, Native Americans, the disadvantaged, and all people of Oklahoma. One such program, ExplorOlogy, represents a major science outreach component of the museum’s education department, providing summer field expeditions, outreach visits to schools and teacher professional development workshops.

“The program gave me the stepping stones to be what I want to be in life and to follow my passion,” said ExplorOlogy participant, Ernesto Vargas. “In some ways, it is indescribable because it has made an impact on my life that I’ll never forget.”  Vargas, now a student at the University of Chicago majoring in geology and paleontology, was selected by the Sam Noble Museum to travel to Washington and share the impact the museum has had on his life during the May 8 celebration. Watch video of Ernesto's story on YouTube. Read transcript (PDF, 51KB)

“The people of Oklahoma rallied together to save the original museum from destruction,” said Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History museum director, Michael Mares. “Ever since, their support has made it possible for the museum to work with them in providing unique programs that benefit young people from across Oklahoma, as well as adults. This medal is for all Oklahomans.”

Praise for Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History:

-“Many congratulations to the fine team at the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History for this incredible achievement. This accomplishment would not be possible without the dedicated work of numerous individuals who laid the groundwork and the commitment of those who continue to carry out the museum's educational vision. Our communities are better because of the learning outlet provided by the museum, and our state couldn’t be prouder.”U.S. Rep. Tom Cole (OK)

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