Overview

Drake Well Museum preserves and makes accessible the largest collection of artifacts and archival materials documenting the petroleum industry in Pennsylvania, its birth, development and growth into a global enterprise.

The Museum’s collection includes over 4,000 objects, of which the most significant is the Drake Well, a National Historic Landmark.  The collection also contains 10,839 still images, over 1,200 cubic feet of manuscript material, newspapers, and maps dating from the 19th to the 21st centuries, 1,500 petroleum company periodicals and over 3,500 books, catalogues, directories, surveys, bibliographies and more.  Together, these rich materials chronicle the technological, scientific, economic and social history of Pennsylvania’s oil and natural gas industries.

Drake Well Museum showcases over 600 objects in its various exhibits.  Artifacts in storage and archival materials are available for research upon request.

Keystone Pump

Keystone Steam Pump

The Keystone Pump Works, Pittsburgh, was begun by John D. Thompson, Henry Epping & Carpenter in 1866.  This pump, patented May 7, 1872, was used to move oil products through the lines of a refinery.  Gift of Quaker State Oil Refining corporation, Oil City, 1955. (DW79.12.331)


Collecting Scope

The Museum’s collecting scope currently emphasizes the following areas:

  • The Pennsylvania petroleum industry (oil and natural gas) from 1850 to the present
  • Drake Well and the broader Oil Creek Valley as the birthplace of the world's modern petroleum industry
  • The social, cultural educational and occupational aspects of people (both ordinary and famous) associated with the Pennsylvania petroleum industry
  • Artifacts as well as records and papers documenting events, places and scientific/technological advancements related to petroleum production, transport, refining and marketing in Pennsylvania from 1850 to the present
  • Artifacts as well as records and papers that document the positive and negative impacts that the petroleum industry and our consumption of petroleum products have had on the environment and culture