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Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum

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The Oklahoma City National Museum & Memorial was built to serve as a symbolic remembrance for the April 19, 1995 bomb blast that destroyed the Alfred P. Murrah building killing 168 people of which 19 were children. It was built to remember those who were killed, those who survived and those whose lives were affected. 

The museum was built so that people would know the impact of violence, experience lessons learned and understand that the world holds far more good than bad. It shows how the people of Oklahoma and the nation came together to support one another in a period of great need. 

The museum and memorial was established to honor the people that were killed by that domestic terrorist attack with hope that it offers comfort, strength, peace, hope, healing, and serenity.

The Memorial comprises of two separate compartments. With each rendering homage to the victims of the tragedy in a peculiar manner. There is the 3.3 acre Outdoor Symbolic Memorial and the 50,000-square-foot Memorial Museum. The Gates of Time, the Field of Empty Chairs, the Survivor tree are features of the Outdoor Symbolic Memorial.

The Gates of Time

The gates of time capture the time before and after the bomb blast. These historic twin gates outline moment of the blast – 9:02am – and mark the stately entrances to the Memorial. The 9:01 Gate portray the innocence before the attack while the 9:03 Gate is a representation of the beginning of the healing process.

The Field of Empty Chairs

Is a memorial for each of the 168 individuals killed in the bombing that destroyed the Alfred P. Murrah building. They are arranged in 9 rows each representing a floor of the Federal Building where the field now stands. On each of the chair is the name of someone killed in the blast. Nineteen of the chairs are smaller representing the children killed.


Inside the 50,000-square-foot Memorial Museum, interactive exhibits offer a contrast between the immense brutality of the senseless act and the tenderness of the city’s response. This chronological, self-guided experience takes you through the story of April 19, 1995, and the days, weeks and years that followed.

Moths after the bomb blast, the then mayor RON NORRICK appointed a task force to look into the creation of a permanent memorial at the place where the former MOORAY building stood. There was an outdoor memorial and a memorial museum and also the Oklahoma City memorial institute for the prevention of terrorism was created.

Five years after the attack April 19, 2000, the outdoor symbolic memorial was dedicated and Feb.19, 2001 the memorial museum was dedicated. The museum had both outdoor and indoor and it was divided into 10 sections which are: The gate of time, the reflecting pole, the field of empty chairs, survivals wall, survivors trips, memorials fence, rescuers orchard, children’s area, journal record building and Alfred P. Murrah federal building plaza.

The memorial and museum were dedicated in educating the tutors about the impact of violence and the Oklahoma City’s reaction- their attitude towards violence and they also inspire hope and healing. The captures the event that actually changed Oklahoma City that changed the world. The museum

The museum is divided into the following chapters:

  • Chapter 1: Day Like Any Other. Begin in the Orientation Theater.
  • Chapter 2: History of the Site. Explore the Murrah Building and its neighborhood. The rise of extremism in the United States looms.
  • Chapter 3: A Meeting, Recorded. Hear the only audio of the blast two minutes into an Oklahoma Water Resources Board meeting.
  • Chapter 4: Confusion & Chaos. Witness frantic first impressions. Incredible stories of trapped survivors and rescue workers. The first hours investigating a 20-block crime scene with 312 buildings damaged.
  • Chapter 5: World Reaction, Rescue & Recovery. Enter a fast-paced global news media environment; see Survivor Experience Theater video stories. Witness heroism and the remarkable caring remembered as Oklahoma Standard.
  • Chapter 6: Watching & Waiting. Rescue and recovery efforts last 16 days as workers sift through the rubble. We see an international outpouring of care and concern. Finally, ceremonies mark the end of rescue/recovery efforts, even as a nation mourns.
  • Chapter 7: Gallery of Honor. Photos, precious artifacts and videos from family members and other loved ones tell personal stories of the 168 killed.
  • Chapter 8: Impact & Healing. To contend with grief, many people turn to their faith. The Survivor Tree becomes a reassuring symbol of strength. Visitors leave tokens of remembrance on The Fence. Plans for permanent Memorial begin with family members and survivors.
  • Chapter 9: Investigation, Evidence & Justice. Track the Trail of Evidence: crime scene photos, the getaway car, parts of the rental truck. Explore the trials, the sentencing and the team that sought justice.
  • Chapter 10: Responsibility & Hope. Now part of this Museum, the former Journal Record building, left in its damaged state, shows the impact of the blast. An interactive explores choices and consequences. The Memorial Overlook frames the Memorial and the city deeply changed through rebuilding and renaissance.


The Outdoor Symbolic Memorial is sacred soil. A place of quiet reflection – where hope begins to grow anew.

Outdoor Symbolic Memorial




The pool occupies what was once N.W. Fifth Street. Here, a shallow depth of gently flowing water helps soothe wounds, with calming sounds providing a peaceful setting for quiet thoughts. The placid surface creates the reflection of someone changed forever by their visit to the Memorial.


On the east end of the Memorial stands the only remaining walls from the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building. These walls remind us of those who survived the attack – many with serious injuries. Today, more than 600 names are inscribed on salvaged pieces of granite from the Federal Building lobby.


The Survivor Tree, an American elm, bore witness to the violence of April 19, 1995, and withstood the full force of the attack. Years later, it continues to stand as a living symbol of resilience. The circular promontory surrounding the tree offers a place for gathering and viewing the Memorial.


Like the people who rushed in to help, this army of nut- and flower-bearing trees surrounds and protects the Survivor Tree. An inscription encircling the Survivor Tree facing the orchard reads: To the courageous and caring who responded from near and far, we offer our eternal gratitude, as a thank you to the thousands of rescuers and volunteers who helped.


In the aftermath of the blast, children from around the country and the world sent in their own expressions of encouragement and love. That care is immortalized today in a wall of tiles – each hand-painted by children and sent to Oklahoma City in 1995. In addition, buckets of chalk and chalkboards built into the ground of the Children’s Area give children a place where they can continue to share their feelings – an important component of the healing process.


The first Fence was installed to protect the site of the Federal Building. Almost immediately, people began to leave tokens of love and hope on the Fence. Tens of thousands of those items have been collected and preserved in our archives. Today, part of the original Fence gives people the opportunity to leave tokens of remembrance and hope.

When many people hear “Oklahoma City,” one of the first things that comes to mind is a heartbreaking chapter in our city’s story – the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building on April 19, 1995.

The devastating impact of that day transformed our city and its people, and 2020 marks its 25th anniversary. From destruction and despair emerged a community steeped in altruism and an organization dedicated to honoring those who were killed, those who survived and those changed forever.

A Top 25 Museum in the U.S., the top destination in Oklahoma and a Travelers’ Choice Award winner multiple years in a row on TripAdvisor, the Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum tells the story of April 19, 1995, its impact and the resolve, hope and community spirit that followed.

Within the halls of the Memorial Museum – a building that withstood the bombing – are artifacts, interactive displays and videos that lend themselves to a self-guided tour that visitors can take to learn about the events of that day, the people affected, the investigation and the overall resiliency of hope. In 2020, the Memorial Store will have new items commemorating the 25th anniversary year and the Memorial’s Looking Back | Thinking Forward campaign.

Adjacent to the museum is the Outdoor Symbolic Memorial. Where the Murrah Building once stood are now symbolic elements honoring all who were touched directly or indirectly by the bombing, including the Field of Empty Chairs, the Survivor Tree, Survivor Wall, Reflecting Pool, Rescuers’ Orchard, Children’s Area and Gates of Time.

The clear focus of the exhibits is on the victims and the aftermath.

April 19, 1995, was one of those days in America’s history when time stopped. A bomb decimated the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building at 9:02 a.m., killing 168 people including 19 children in its blast. This museum and memorial were raised in honor of the people affected by the domestic terrorist attack. The museum offers visitors a chronological self-guided and interactive tour separated into 10 chapters, starting with the history of the site all the way through the bombing’s lasting impact and what it means for our country’s future. Along the way, you’ll see archived news footage, hear survivors (and surviving family members) tell their stories, and see artifacts recovered from the event, including Timothy McVeigh’s getaway car.

Outside the museum, you’ll find a memorial honoring the victims, survivors and rescuers sitting on the grounds where the building once stood. There are many features to the outdoor memorial, but the Field of Empty Chairs is perhaps the most moving, according to recent visitors. Located on the footprint of the Murrah Building are 168 chairs made to represent all the lives lost that day. Each chair details the name of a person, as well as the floor they were on. There are 19 small chairs to represent the children who perished in the bombing.

Recent visitors were very impressed with the sobering memorial and the interactive museum, saying both were well-done and offered emotional tributes to those affected by that day. Reviewers suggested visiting the memorial after dusk when lights illuminate the Gates of Time as well as the Field of Empty Chairs.

You’ll find the Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum downtown on North Harvey Avenue. Admission to the memorial is free, but entrance to the museum costs $15 for adults, $12 for students between the ages of 6 and 17, and is free for children 5 and younger. The museum is open Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and on Sunday from noon to 6 p.m. For more information, visit the memorial and museum’s website.

The Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum was created to honor those who were killed, those who survived and those changed forever by the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City. The memorial and the museum are dedicated to educating visitors about the impact of violence, informing about events surrounding the bombing, and inspiring hope and healing through lessons learned by those affected.

The Oklahoma City National Memorial is a memorial in the United States that honors the victims, survivors, rescuers, and all who were affected by the Oklahoma City bombing on April 19, 1995. The memorial is located in downtown Oklahoma City on the former site of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, which was destroyed in the 1995 bombing. This building was located on NW 5th Street between N. Robinson Avenue and N. Harvey Avenue.

The national memorial was authorized on October 9, 1997, by President Bill Clinton’s signing of the Oklahoma City National Memorial Act of 1997. It was administratively listed on the National Register of Historic Places the same day.[1] The memorial is administered by Oklahoma City National Memorial Foundation, with National Park Service staff to help interpret the memorial for visitors.

The memorial was formally dedicated on April 19, 2000: the fifth anniversary of the bombing. The museum was dedicated and opened the following year on February 19.

A symbolic remembrance of the impact of violence

The outdoor symbolic memorial is a place of quiet reflection, honoring victims, survivors, rescuers, and all who were changed forever on April 19, 1995. It encompasses the now sacred soil where the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building once stood, capturing and preserving forever the place and events that changed the world.

The Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum stands as a symbol of strength in the wake of unspeakable violence. Visit the Memorial Museum to experience the brutality of the Oklahoma City bombing, and the tenderness of the response. Share our dream of a world without violence and terrorism.

620 North Harvey Avenue, Oklahoma City, OK 73102

One of the city’s most notable destinations, the Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum stands as a celebrated example of a living monument to honor those who were killed, those who survived and those changed forever by the April 19, 1995, bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building. The Memorial and Museum are dedicated to educating visitors about the impact of violence, informing about events surrounding the bombing, and inspiring hope and healing through lessons learned by those affected. Guests will be one of the millions of visitors from across the world forever changed by what they see and learn here.

The Outdoor Symbolic Memorial includes the Field of Empty Chairs with chairs honoring each of the 168 people who were killed, the monumental bronze-clad Gates of Time, a 318-foot long reflecting pool, the Survivor Tree, Rescuers Orchard and a special area for children.

The experiential Memorial Museum tells the story of the April 19, 1995, bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building. Visitors hear the only-known recording of the explosion, see the chaos and devastation immediately following the bombing, and learn from family members in their own words, about recovery and rebuilding. Powerful videos, touch-screen interactive displays, artifacts, and touching stories all combine to create a powerful and unforgettable experience. The Museum also houses an extensive research section as well as an archive reading room.

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