East Texas Oil Museum at Kilgore College is preparing to host the latest improvement in its two-year renovation: the reopening of a new and improved Boomtown Theater.
“The Boomtown Theater has been a staple of the East Texas Oil Museum since its opening 40 years ago,” said Olivia Moore, ETOM Manager.
“This is first time we’re going to do a major remodel of the theater since its opening.”
The renovation project includes upgraded seating, a digital projector and an improved version of the theater’s movie, “The Great East Texas Oil Boom”, which has been digitized from its original 16mm film version and includes an additional two minutes of new production.
The grand reopening of the Boomtown Theater will be held Saturday, Feb. 1 at ETOM on the KC campus at 10:30 a.m. Kilgore Mayor Ronnie Spradlin and KC President Dr. Brenda Kays will be in attendance for the ribbon-cutting ceremony.
The theater, located in the “Boomtown” exhibit depicting a street scene from the Kilgore area during the East Texas Oil Boom of the 1930s, screens a film about the discovery of oil in Kilgore which many locals have seen time and time again over the years.
The renovation, part of a complete facility overhaul which began last year, was funded through a grant from the city of Kilgore.
“We’ll have the ribbon-cutting and then we’ll take a look at the newly remodeled theater,” Moore said.
She added she is confident the public will enjoy the new look and feel of the well-loved theater and film, which will retain the spirit of the original.
“Absolutely, I think they are definitely going to be impressed by the changes we’ve made to the theater structure. The movie that plays in the theater was digitized from the original 16mm film. I always say we didn’t change the personality of it, we’ve just brought it forward.”
She also added the number-one question she has gotten from the public about the renovation is if the film will retain its original surprise ending.
“No fear,” Moore said. The new film will keep the same ending, though the film has been updated.
The theater renovation is just one part of the facility’s renovation as a whole, which included new paint, fixtures and will include outside renovations in the future.
“This is an extension of when we started the remodel last year, a little over a year ago. When we started this, we had a two-year plan. This is part of the second year.”
There is no fee to attend the ribbon-cutting event but guests can sign up to attend on Facebook at an event page located at www.Facebook.com/Events/East-Texas-Oil-Museum/Grand-Re-opening-Of-Boomtown-Theater/723166318191321. Those interested can also call the museum at 903-983-8295. ETOM is at 1301 S Henderson in Kilgore.
ETOM’s hours have recently changed: the museum is open Wednesday-Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Normal admission is 8$ for adults, $5 for children ages 3-11 and KC students and employees. Children 2 and under get in free.
“As a museum, we are extremely grateful to the city of Kilgore for providing funds to renovate the museum and enhance the experience for our guests,” Moore said.