Greenwood Rising, the museum and history center dedicated to Tulsa’s historic Black district, finished seventh in a nationwide vote for USA Today’s Best New Attraction of 2021, it was announced this week.
“I was amazed we were even nominated … just three years after Gathering Place won,” said Greenwood Rising Interim Director Phil Armstrong. “It’s just incredible that Tulsa is back on the list for something — and for that something being some difficult history.”
The Gathering Place finished first in the competition in 2019. It was named best city park by USA Today in 2021.
Greenwood Rising is a completely different type of attraction, though. It follows the ups and downs of an African American community that once supported the putative Black Wall Street.
The downs include the 1921 Race Massacre, which destroyed 35 square blocks and resulted in deaths that many believe numbered in the hundreds.
Armstrong said Greenwood Rising’s making the top 10 indicates that a large segment of American society “seems to be ready for a subject that is uncomfortable and even sometimes shocking.”
The center, which officially opened in August, recently surpassed 20,000 visitors, Armstrong said.
“That far surpassed anything we thought we’d be doing, and it’s not slowing down,” he said.
Greenwood Rising was one of 20 attractions nominated by a panel of experts and submitted to a public vote. Totals from that vote were not immediately available.
First on the list is Skyfly: Soar America, an amusement park in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. A traveling, interactive Vincent Van Gogh exhibit is second, followed by tours of Allegiant Stadium in Paradise, Nevada, a Las Vegas suburb.
Also in the top 10: The Friends Experience, New York City and Dallas; Museum of the Southern Jewish Experience, New Orleans; Lauridsen Skate Park, Des Moines, Iowa; The Cloud Ladder at Kent Mountain Adventure Center, Estes Park, Colorado; Water Works Park and Pavilion, Minneapolis; and Roots 101 African American Museum, Louisville, Kentucky.