Museum Exhibits and Events of Interest


The Drake Well Museum main exhibit building closed to the public on Sunday, November 1, 2009, for renovations and the installation of a new permanent exhibit. The outdoor exhibits will remain accessible to visitors during the renovations, although machinery displays will cease operations during winter and begin again in May.

“Its official,” said director Barbara Zolli with a sigh of relief. The long delayed project was to have been completed for the Oil 150 celebration of Drake Day 2009, but was delayed when the project came in over budget.

Construction for the Capital project is expected to begin by late November or early December, when contractors begin removing interior walls and ceilings and creating a geothermal system for heating and cooling the building. More energy efficient windows and lighting will also be part of the upgrade.

The renovations are expected to take from a year to a year and a half, but when completed, interior space will have been re-adapted for new use. “It all began with the relocation of maintenance services to the new building behind the museum,” stated Zolli.

The re-configuration of existing space makes room for a comprehensive research library and collection storage area, a larger orientation theater, an education center, and a multi-purpose room for conferences and receptions. An enlarged glass entrance foyer on the front of the building will increase the size of the lobby and exhibit areas and make it easier to see the Drake Well Replica Exhibit.

Designs for the new exhibit, to be called “There’s a drop of oil and gas in your life every day!” will continue through 2009 and fabrication will begin off site early next spring. After building renovations are complete, sections of the exhibit that have to be built into the structure will begin. Estimated completion of the exhibit installation is late fall or winter 2010, depending on building construction schedules. A grand opening could occur spring 2011. Zolli promises that it will be worth waiting for.

The Museum Store will remain open during renovations and staff will show site orientation videos in the trailer near the store. Outdoor restrooms and a portable handicapped restroom facility will be open for visitors during construction. Staff offices will be located in the maintenance building and trailers near the entrance building. Some parking areas will be impacted by construction and recreational visitors should be aware that traffic patterns may change.

Drake Well Museum, administered by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, will begin winter hours of 9AM to 5PM Tuesday through Saturday and noon to 5 PM on Sundays as of November 3, 2009. The Museum will be closed on Mondays, Veterans Day (November 11), Thanksgiving (Thursday and Friday), Christmas Day during the remainder of 2009. Admission will continue to be charg