"Our founder is George Abell. He was an independent oilman here, and he thought it was important to preserve that heritage and history as it began here in the Permian Basin," says Kathy Shannon, Petroleum Museum executive director.
35 years later, that tradition is carried on. "It's important for those people who came here to Midland when there really wan not much here and made a life here and made this great community," says Shannon.
But they also feel it's important to let people know how the industry continues to evolve. The Petroleum Museum has just finished detailed designs for the east and west wings. They've been working on the updates for four years now.
"We have some wonderful plans in store that will not only preserve the history, talk about the economics and then we'll really showcase the science and technology of the industry," says Shannon.
And they also hope to continue educating local kids, so that they can help provide energy for generations to come. "There's this huge array of jobs in the industry. Most people don't think about that. They literally think about going out to work in the sun and working really hard, and that's a huge part of it. But that's only one piece of it. I think that's an important story to tell, so kids will continue to work on math and science and hopefully help us get through the next level as we demand more and more energy."
The museum hopes to begin renovating next spring or summer. Once construction begins, they expect the project to take roughly two years to complete.