- Associated Press - Thursday, December 15, 2016

TULSA, Okla. (AP) - The planned $25 million Oklahoma Museum of Popular Culture will be built on donated land in downtown Tulsa, officials announced Thursday, marking the official start of a planned facility that’s been years in the making.

The Oklahoma Historical Society announced Thursday that the new museum will be built on Main Street, across the street from the historic Cain’s Ballroom. Officials say the vacant lot for the land, worth an estimated $1 million, was donated by David Sharp and Interak Corp.

“This is the perfect location for the museum because of the significance of Cain’s Ballroom to Oklahoma’s popular culture history,” said Bob Blackburn, the historical society’s executive director.

Last year, Gov. Mary Fallin signed a bill authorizing a $25 million state bond issue to pay for the museum, nicknamed OKPOP.

Also Thursday, museum director Jeff Moore announced that the facility has acquired the personal collection of Hall of Famer Leon Russell, the Oklahoma native who died last month. Moore says the collection will include Russell’s most recent piano and more than 2,500 audio masters from Russell’s recording career.

“This collection is of major importance to the OKPOP as it keeps this Oklahoman’s great work in Tulsa, instead of it being housed in Nashville or on the coasts,” Moore said.

Groundbreaking is expected in 2018, with an opening planned for late 2019.

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