DALLAS, Nov. 19 /PRNewswire/ -- After years of planning and gathering donations ranging from a few dollars to millions, the Museum of Nature & Science celebrated "the ultimate dig" by breaking ground on the $185-million museum to be constructed at Victory Park in Dallas.
Approximately 500 supporters gathered at the construction site - with bulldozers ready to go - to watch as family members of Margot and H. Ross Perot, donors and Museum leaders turned cranks, flipped switches, pushed buttons and shoveled dirt, triggering a Rube Goldberg-inspired contraption into action, which ended with construction workers breaking "symbolic" ground.
While the building's schematic designs by 2005 Pritzker Prize Laureate Thom Mayne were on display, the celebration focused on the visitor experience, while also paying tribute to the hundreds who've donated $127 million to date toward the expansion campaign goal of $185 million.
"The groundbreaking for the Perot Museum of Nature & Science is the next major milestone toward opening the doors to a world-class facility, one designed for visitors to experience, interact and explore, get inspired and learn about science and the world around them," said Frank-Paul King, chairman of the Board of the Museum of Nature & Science.
Joining local civic, business and government leaders were architect Thom Mayne, who was just named to President Obama's Committee on the Arts & Humanities, and teams from the Museum's three exhibit designers - Paul Bernhard Exhibit Design & Consulting, Austin; Science Museum of Minnesota; and Ralph Appelbaum Associates.
The 180,000 square foot museum will be located on a 4.7-acre site. The facility's interior will include five floors of public space housing 10 permanent exhibition galleries, including a children's museum and outdoor playspace/courtyard; an expansive lobby and adjacent outdoor terrace; state-of- the art exhibition gallery designed to host world-class traveling exhibitions; an education wing equipped with six learning labs; a large-format, multi-media digital cinema; flexible-space auditorium; public cafe; retail store; visible exhibit workshops; and offices. Also, the building will serve as a "living" example of engineering, sustainability and technology.
Nicole G. Small, the Museum's president and CEO said the goal for this "'people's museum'" is to become a place that entices everyone - from young mothers with pre-schoolers to lifelong learners and scholars - to return again and again because there is always something new to see, do and learn.
The Museum's mission - to inspire minds through nature and science - is reflected throughout the museum.
"Because the United States is expected to face a significant shortage of qualified science, math and technology professionals in the coming years, our ultimate goal is to create a museum that inspires children to become the next generation of scientists, physicians, engineers, mathematicians and technology pioneers," said Small.
"This groundbreaking is possible because of the overwhelming generosity of hundreds of donors," added Forrest Hoglund, chairman of the Museum's Leadership Committee. "Their reasons may vary, but all agree that a great city must have a great science museum."
In May 2008, the children of Margot and H. Ross Perot made a $50 million gift in honor of their parents. Other gifts include $10 million donations from Hunt Petroleum Corporation, The Hoglund Foundation & Family, T. Boone Pickens and the Rees-Jones Foundation. Gifts of $5 million have been made by the Honorable and Mrs. William P. Clements, Jr. and Mr. and Mrs. Edward W. Rose, III. David, Emily and Catherine Corrigan contributed $2.5 million.
To donate or learn more about the Museum of Nature & Science, please call 214-428-5555 or visit the website at natureandscience.org.