Preserving America’s exploration, production, and transportation history is important for modern energy education.


The American Oil & Gas Historical Society is in the business of preserving U.S. petroleum history, which provides a context for understanding the modern energy industry. The historical society today is an unincorporated sole proprietorship business. AOGHS and its website depend on individual financial contributions.

Students and Researchers:  Thank you for visiting the American Oil & Gas Historical Society’s website and its latest collection of articles, images, and helpful research links. AOGHS believes historical perspectives of the evolution of the modern industry will engage your curiosity and reward it with insight. As controversial as fossil fuels have become, petroleum and its products remain part of America’s future. Energy education is a challenging but important part of the debate. Subscribe to our free newsletter, “This Week in Petroleum History,” and explore the articles and forums on this website. Your comments and suggestions are welcomed. Where curiosity leads, learning follows.

What is the AOGHS mission?

AOGHS advocates using history in energy education. In addition to responding to media inquiries and research requests, AOGHS daily updates and adds historical content to its website. To raise awareness of the industry history and increase energy education, AOGHS maintains a communication network of museums, historical societies and similar organizations.

Why was AOGHS established – and is it a nonprofit organization?

Although it began in 2003 with limited funding from an industry foundation, AOGHS today is an unincorporated sole proprietorship business of Bruce A. Wells, a longtime industry journalist who lives in Washington, D.C. After years writing for and editing trade publications, he recognized that hundreds of petroleum-related museums and county historical societies lacked a communication network. Wells founded AOGHS in June 2003 and published a 16-page quarterly newsletter, the “Petroleum Age” until 2009, when the society’s limited resources were directed to the website. Donations to support AOGHS are not tax deductible.

Does AOGHS host educational events?

With limited time and no event staff, AOGHS has paused organizing energy education events. In 2005 (in Wichita), 2006 (Oklahoma City) and 2007 (Houston), the historical society hosted popular gatherings for educators, museum directors, and oilfield historians: the AOGHS Energy Education Conference & Field Trip.  In 2004, two special energy education publications were commissioned by the Department of Energy. AOGHS published 20,000 copies of American Oil & Gas Families – East Texas Independents, and American Oil & Gas Families – Appalachian Basin Independents. Today available as PDFs, each publication features communities built on a legacy of petroleum, and the individuals and families who keep the industry productive, providing our nation with domestically produced energy.

The AOGHS.ORG website provides frequently updated research and energy education-related resources to students, teachers, researchers, journalists, authors, and others interested in petroleum history. Bruce Wells is assisted by his brother Col. (retired, USAF) Kristin L. Wells, volunteer contributing editor and researcher. “We strongly believe the industry’s often neglected history of social, economic, and technological advances since 1859 provides an important context for teaching the modern energy business, especially to young people. There are many individuals, including volunteers at community museums, historical societies, and professionals from the industry who not only help preserve a remarkable history, but also serve as ambassadors to the public.”

Executive Director Wells has spoken at many professional association meetings and expos; he has organized energy education conferences that have included field trips to oil museums in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas. 

energy education

Bruce Wells speaks at industry conferences.

Bruce Wells History Awards 

Bruce Wells received the “Keeper of the Flame Award” from the Petroleum History Institute, Titusville, Pennsylvania, in August 2009. He was co-chairman of the Oil 150 Committee for the Sesquicentennial of America’s First Oil Discovery, Oil City, Pennsylvania, 2008-2009, and in the Titusville Oil Sesquicentennial Parade as a Drake Well Museum “Drake Day” VIP in 2009. Wells also was an honorary co-chairman of the 75th Anniversary of East Texas Oil Field Discovery Committee, Kilgore, Texas, in 2005, and an honored guest, at the 35th Annual Sistersville Oil and Gas Festival in West Virginia in 2003.

Explore these popular articles of AOGHS.ORG:

John Wilkes Booth and Dr. Seuss were once in the oil business; Maybelline cosmetics, Hula-Hoops, nylons, and Wax Lips were all petroleum product offspring; Harry Houdini patented a deep sea diving suit adopted by offshore drillers; “fracking” was the profitable brainstorm of a cashiered Union veteran; Florida’s first oil well was drilled after the state offered a reward; and countless thousands of obsolete stock certificates fascinate collectors – each has a tale of its own. Read More about AOGHS.



The American Oil & Gas Historical Society preserves U.S. petroleum history. Support this energy education website with a contribution today. For membership information, contact © 2019 Bruce A. Wells.