19. Woolaroc Museum, Colt Collection, Bartlesville, OK 800 guns, 617 on display (75%). Established in 1976

Woolaroc Museum, Colt Collection Exterior
Woolaroc Museum, Colt Collection Case


Philip Q. Phillips, of Oklahoma’s Phillips 66 oil family, assembled a world-class collection of Colt handguns and Winchester rifles. It was first arranged in a quintessential 1970s man cave environment in the basement of the family’s Woolaroc Museum. In 2015, it was reinstalled, but still retains the wood-ply paneled look of its former self.

The Woolaroc’s Colt collection is encyclopedic: the full catalog of Colt’s named revolvers from the 1830s to 1980s are all in one room. Finely organized, it reads like a litany of nearly every version of the Paterson, Walker, Dragoon, the ‘boxy’ 1850s & ‘curvy’ 1860s Army and Navy, Root’s Side Hammer, Single Action Army, Double Action Army, New Service, Police Positive, Colt 1900, ‘03, ’06 & 1911s until the 1980s, and the ‘Snake Guns’ of the 1950s and ‘60s. The museum also has examples of experimental, prototype and cutaway Colts of almost every generation, including a rare ‘patent’ gun. In addition, there are embellished guns from both the great artists of the 19thcentury, such as Young, Nimschke, and Helfrich, as well as mid 20th century artists such as A.A. White, Rudolph Kornbrath and Waffen Bock.

John Browning’s designs for Colt’s semi-automatic pistols are displayed in a fascinating incremental evolution from the Colt M1900 through to the M1911. It is complemented by scores of later 1911’s from the Waldo Wilson Collection. The Colt Woodsman, the little brother of the 1911, is shown in all its models, both of decorated and factory quality. With the Museum’s center of gravity being the Old West, it has assembled a fine collection of Winchester rifles of every type, age and caliber, which are now displayed adjacent to the Colt Gallery.

Missing from the original Woolaroc instillation are the many 1960s & 70s cased commemorative Colt SAAs in .45 & .22cal., as well as some late 20th embellished masterworks of Waffen Bock.