A B O U T
The California Oil Museum tells the story of the rich history of the industries that created wealth, work, and prosperity for generations of Californians. The Museum highlights the inner workings of the state's pioneering petroleum industry through interactive displays, videos, working models, games, photographs, restored gas station memorabilia, and an authentic turn-of-the-century cable-tool drilling rig.
Visitors can stroll through time to see how Native Americans used natural oil seeps, the first steps of what would become California's oil boom, watch a miniature drilling rig bore into the earth, and explore the memorable brands of gas marketed to early California drivers.
Housed in the original Union Oil Company building the museum offers docent-led tours of the upstairs where restored offices from the 1890’s provide visitors with a personal, hands-on experience of the early California oil business. Visitors can enjoy one of the largest displays of vintage gas pumps and petroliana in California.
In addition to the permanent exhibits, the Museum offers new rotating installations exploring science, transportation, culture, and history throughout the year. Our charming open air courtyard is located on the Museum grounds and is available for picnics, gatherings, and events.
The California Oil Museum Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. EIN# 45-3830307.
D I S C O V E R
The California Oil Museum is housed in the original Union Oil Company Building, built in 1890. In the corporation's first years, company offices were located on the second floor of the building, while the Santa Paula Hardware Company and Post Office were located on the first floor. The main headquarters eventually moved to Los Angeles. In 1950, the building was established as the Union Oil Museum. For its 100th year anniversary, the upstairs offices were restored to their original appearance and opened for public viewing.
The Museum's free-standing Rig Room contains a 1890's cable tool rig, comprising authentic mechanical elements salvaged from local oil fields and restored to working condition.
The Museum offers self-guided tours of the ground level. Docent-led guided tours of the renovated 1890's offices on the second floor, and school tours and workshops are available.
E D U C A T I O N
Visit the Lab
Experience the fascinating world of Earth science through rocks, minerals, fossils, energy, and more! The California Oil Museum's Education Program offers tours and workshops for schools, charters, home-school groups and learning pods. Visit the Education Program page to check updated information as Covid protocols are announced by the State of California.