We have often talked about how every small town has its own claim to fame and usually a little museum dedicated to its honor. Kilgore is no exception, actually there are two on the same block. We had some time to spare and thought a visit to the East Texas Oil Museum was just the ticket.
Located on the Kilgore College campus the museum’s entrance is marked by a full-scale drilling rig and you’re greeted by a local volunteer. Like many other museums we have been to with low patron rate you get a very personal tour. The guilds were more than happy to walk through with you, even if you were happy to go on your own. Just be prepaid to hear their take on the display materials.
The 22 minute movie came highly recommended and we did sit through it. The movie covers the history of the area and the oil boom. They skips over the environmental effects of the massive drilling, the dramatic changes in social and economic changes to the area. The museum is a feast for the eyes, including animatronics, full-scale recreations of the original downtown Kilgore at the time of the boom and a large collection of artifacts.
However they try to skate around talking about the negative results from massive scale mining by claiming this is a museum about the town and life at the boom. They take full advantage of explaining mining techniques and technology while skipping any of the environmental results. It’s hard to take seriously a facility that is so biased.
Quite to the contrary across the street is the Rangerettes Showcase. Growing up near Western Illinois I always thought the Wranglers dance-line was just the best, so pretty and wow they can kick. The Rangerettes are only to be rivaled by the Rockets in precision drill. East Texas definitely has something to be proud of with a tradition like this.