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Home Places to Visit Museums Dallas Gears Up for New World-Class Nature and Science Museum

Dallas Gears Up for New World-Class Nature and Science Museum

Groundbreaking for the $185-million Perot Museum of Nature & Science Set for November 2009

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A world-class, state-of-the-art nature and science museum is now more than just a dream for Dallas, Texas and it promises to be one of the West's great centers for education, learning and inspiration.

Groundbreaking for the $185-million Perot Museum of Nature & Science is expected to take place in November, and plans are for the museum to open by early 2013. The building will be constructed on a 4.7-acre site at Victory Park just north of downtown Dallas.

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Noted architect and Pritzker Prize Laureate Thom Mayne and leaders from Dallas' Museum of Nature & Science unveiled on Sept. 17, 2009 the schematic designs and building model.

"Our goal is to create a facility that inspires awareness of science through an immersive and interactive environment that immediately engages visitors," said Mayne. "We rejected the traditional notion of museum architecture as a neutral background for exhibits. Instead, the new building and the surrounding outdoor areas will become an active tool for science education."

The museum design fully embraces both the natural world, such as biology and geology, and the technology and engineering sciences of the manmade world.

The landscape design, created in conjunction with Dallas-based Talley Associates, serves as an extension of the building design - thoroughly integrated with the programming of space and the overall design character.

The 180,000-square-foot structure is 170 feet tall, equivalent to approximately 14 stories. The overall building mass is conceived as a large cube floating over the site's landscaped base. An acre of rolling roofscape comprised of rock and native drought-resistant grasses will reflect Texas' indigenous landscape and demonstrate a living system that will evolve naturally over time.

The facility's interior will include five floors of public space housing 10 exhibition galleries, including a children's museum and outdoor playspace/courtyard; an expansive glass-enclosed lobby and adjacent outdoor terrace with a downtown view; state of the art exhibition gallery designated for world-class traveling exhibitions; education wing; large-format, multi-media digital cinema with seating for 300; flexible-space auditorium; public cafe; retail store; visible exhibit workshops; and offices. Lastly, the building will be a "living" example of engineering, sustainability and technology at work.
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Approximately 80 percent of the building is devoted for public usage.

"The new museum at Victory Park will create a distinct identity for the museum, enhance its prominence and enrich Dallas' evolving cultural fabric," said Mayne. "It's been designed to engage a broad audience, invigorate young minds, and inspire wonder and curiosity in the daily lives of its visitors."

Plans have been in the works for several years to build a new state-of-the-art nature and science museum in Dallas, which will supplement the existing Fair Park facilities.

The need for additional space became even more critical after the 2006 merger, unlike any in the nation, of three cultural institutions - the Dallas Museum of Natural History (est. 1936), The Science Place (est. 1946) and the Dallas Children's Museum (est. 1995).

The new facility is expected to bring in world-renowned traveling exhibitions, drawing both international press and tourists to the region. The Victory Park facility will supplement the existing Fair Park facilities and address the growing demand for math and science education.

Once the Victory Park museum opens, the Fair Park facility will continue to play a critical role. Dallas architecture firm Good Fulton & Farrell currently is developing a comprehensive space plan for the Fair Park facilities.

The combined Fair Park and Victory Park facilities will dramatically increase space so that the museum can showcase a wider spectrum of its valuable collections, incorporate modern technology host world-class traveling exhibitions, and greatly expand its educational programs for schoolchildren and the general public.

With the new spaces, the museum can better accomplish its mission to "inspire minds through nature & science" and help Dallas and its citizens maintain their competitive edge by developing an educated workforce for the future.

For more information about the museum and future plans, visit the Web site at
http://natureandscience.org


 
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