The Outsiders House Museum is an official public charity, and the core is 99 percent complete.
Yet, it’s still going to be a few months until the entire project is done.
Hip-hop artist Danny O’Connor, founder and force behind the restoration of the home used in the 1983 “Outsiders” movie, expects an opening by the end of the summer.
The main house at 731 N. St. Louis Ave. (ceremonially named Curtis Brothers Lane) has been renovated to how it looks in the film. Display cases are being built in the back rooms to hold a portion of the growing amount of “Outsiders” memorabilia from the book and movie.
The holdup is on building a structure next door and five parking spots. Plans are pending with city officials for approval before construction can begin.
The adjacent building will be handicap accessible, add more bathrooms and hold additional items including merchandise for sale. An old general store used to be on that property until it was razed in 2008.
Once O’Connor gets the green light, he estimates about three months of work before it can open.
“We are in a holding pattern, unfortunately,” he said. “I wish I had more control, but I can’t do what I can’t do ... But if it’s not open by the end of the summer, I’m going to be highly disappointed.”
Before a city Board of Adjustment meeting, O’Connor said the museum would be by appointment only between the hours of 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. Monday through Friday.
He said plans are underway for a bus tour of the neighborhood to include movie sites including the rumble lot scene, playground and former Lowell School, where director Francis Ford Coppola made his headquarters.
Two years ago, O’Connor bought the dilapidated home from an out-of-state landlord and helped the renters pay their overdue bills and find a new place to live.
Fundraising began immediately, with large and small donations coming in from across the globe. About $75,000 has been raised, with nearly $29,000 left to finish the work.
The Internal Revenue Service lists the Outsiders House Museum Association as a 501c3 nonprofit, meaning donations are tax-exempt.
O’Connor lists off the recent activities involving the Outsiders House: A PBS special, television show for Hulu with actress Soleil Moon Frye, school visits, two coat drives and even saving a couple of dogs in the neighborhood.
“If it can do good for the community, we’re going to do it,” he said.
Some partnerships are being arranged, such as with the OKPOP Museum to display some “Outsiders” items. The exhibits at the Outsiders House Museum will be on rotation.
“I feel being in Tulsa right now is a great time to be here,” O’Connor said. “I look around and see so many projects being fulfilled like OKPOP, The Church (Studio) and the Crutchfield neighborhood development.”
When O’Connor started the project, he was living in Los Angeles. Now, he’s a full-time Tulsa resident.
“It’s changed my life,” he said. “This keeps evolving. The whole plan was to buy the place so nobody would tear it down. Then, it was to buy the place and fix it up to move in. Then, it was to be a residence and museum.
“Then, I realized this thing is way bigger than me and has turned into a museum for education. We’re developing a program to bring kids through on a regular basis to introduce them to literature, movie making and art. It’s a giant thing, and I’m letting it take it where it leads.”