Fr. Gerrer, History of the Museum

Delaynna Trim, Curator of Collections

Fr. Gerrer started collecting for a museum in Oklahoma when he was in Europe training to be an artist. He saw these wondrous museums across Europe and wanted to bring the world to Oklahoma. The collection started small – a few magnificent paintings, samples of woods and seashells collected from across the world, and ethnographic objects from a variety of cultures. However, this collection continued to grow with his travels and with the people he would meet.

By 1914, the collection was well on its way in his studio behind St. Benedict’s Church where he was an assistant pastor. He would tell people of his dream to bring art and culture to Oklahoma, and they would give him their treasured art and artifacts for this great museum. By 1919, the collection had grown beyond his studio, so he moved it to the newly built Benedictine Hall at the St. Gregory’s campus. Artwork hung in the hallways and the artifacts were displayed on the second floor. Unlike many art museums, the “Gerrer Museum” as it was called then, was never the collection of a wealthy individual. Fr. Gerrer always collected for a museum for the people of Oklahoma. 

Help us celebrate our 100th anniversary this year, 1919-2019!


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