The Philanthropy of George & Gladys Abell

Permian Basin Petroleum Museum


The Permian Basin Petroleum Museum was founded in 1968 by over 500 community leaders under the leadership of George T. Abell. The Museum opened in 1975 and is dedicated to telling the story of the petroleum industry and the rugged lives of men and women who sought a better life in the Permian Basin. Over the years the Museum has evolved to focus on these stories and to broaden and strengthen our community's science and cultural history education as well.

While the groundwork for the Museum was being laid, George Abell, through the Abell-Hanger Foundation commissioned a series of works from noted artist Tom Lovell, Frank Gervasi, and John C. Scott to give the Petroleum Museum a unique dimension, distinguishing it from similar institutions. The works, which bring the Permian Basin's cultural history to life, were copyrighted by the Foundation and eventually gifted to the Museum.

The Petroleum Museum opened its Transportation Wing in 2004, greatly enhancing the opportunity to expand its science and engineering education. Abell-Hanger Foundation was instrumental in leadership giving of this $7.2 million addition.

In 2013, the Abell-Hanger Foundation again provided a significant leadership gift to an $18 million capital campaign that enabled the Petroleum Museum to completely renovate its petroleum exhibits.  In April 2016 the Museum completed that renovation, further strengthening the Museum's educational capacity in the STEM fields by focusing on the fascinating science and technology of the petroleum industry.

The Museum offers over 40,000 square feet of interactive education and entertainment for adventurers of all ages. What started as a community dream has, over time become the nation's largest museum dedicated to the petroleum industry and its pioneers. The Museum accomplishes this through education programs, interactive exhibits, an archives center and research library, and the Petroleum Hall of Fame. The Hall of Fame recognizes individuals whose contributions to the petroleum industry are worthy of permanent recognition. George T. Abell was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1972.

The Petroleum Museum has welcomed over one million visitors worldwide and shares the petroleum and energy story and its impact on our lives. Throughout the history of the Museum, the Abell-Hanger Foundation has supported operating needs, special projects, permanent endowment, and capital projects. In all respects, financial support has been structured to broaden and deepen the Museum's ability to connect with the Permian Basin community and the petroleum industry. This commitment to the financial needs of the Museum is the quintessential example of honoring the donor intent of Gladys and George

Visit the Permian Basin Petroleum Museum website.