Library and Archives Center

The Petroleum Museum contains one of the most complete and comprehensive archival collections of the petroleum industry in the nation. Second only to the National Archives Center in Washington, D.C., the Library and Archives Center was established in 1967 to collect, preserve and disseminate knowledge of the Permian Basin petroleum industry. Private papers, company records, manuscripts, sound recordings, scrapbooks, photographs, motion picture films and maps all recount life in the oil fields, boom towns and board rooms. The Petroleum Museum Library and Archives Center serves as a resource for journalists and authors internationally, as well as students of all ages.



The Library holds a wide range of published books, from biographies to technical handbooks. In addition to a large collection of manuscripts or unpublished materials, the Archives Center houses over 500 one-hour sound recordings with typed transcripts, motion picture films dating from 1926, maps and over 250,000 photographic prints pertinent to the Permian Basin petroleum industry. There are also 160 canned aerial films of the entire Permian Basin, taken between 1943 and 1946. The center also houses many photographs including the personal photo albums of President George W. Bush, generously donated by the First Lady’s mother, native Midlander, Jenna Welch. Please see the Reference Library page for a more detailed listing of the Library and Archives Center’s holdings.

The Library and Archives Center, utilizing nearly 3,000 square feet, contains a reference library and reading area, archival storage area, art storage room, processing room and administrative offices.

Please review the following policies and forms before your visit:

For appointments, research hours, to visit the archives, or for more information, contact the Archives & Collections Manager.