Perot Museum of Nature and Science at night - Mark Knight Photography
Ross Perot Museum brings culture to Big D
After a decade of planning and years of construction, the Perot Museum of Nature and Scienceopened the doors of its 14-story striated exterior to the general public on December 1, 2012. Confetti guns, lively music, remarks by dignitaries, and even a “hip-hip-hooray” led by Ross Perot added to the festivities.
Designed by 2005 Pritzker Architecture Prize Laureate Thom Mayne and his firm Morphosis Architects, the Dallas museum has been named in honor of Margot and Ross Perot, the result of a $50-million gift made by their adult children. The $185-million fundraising goal – which provided for the site acquisition, exhibition planning and design, construction of the new building, education programs and an endowment – was achieved November 2011, more than a year before the Museum’s scheduled opening. The Museum, which was built without incurring any debt or public funding, is located on a 4.7-acre site at 2201 N. Field St., just north of downtown Dallas and in Victory Park.
“The Perot Museum of Nature and Science is a gift to the city of Dallas,” says Mayne. “It is a fundamentally public building – a building that opens up, belongs to and activates the city. It is a place of exchange. It contains knowledge, preserves information and transmits ideas; ultimately, the public is as integral to the museum as the museum is to the city.”
The 180,000-square-foot museum features five floors of public space with eleven permanent exhibit halls, including a children’s museum complete with outdoor play space and courtyard, and a state-of-the-art hall designed to host world-class traveling exhibitions.
Some of the must see exhibits include; a 35-foot-long Malawisaurus dinosaur, a child-size, climbable Dallas skyline and toddler park, a 9,000-foot virtual journey down a gas well and the motion lab and running wall in the Sports Hall.
Other highlights include an expansive glass-enclosed lobby and adjacent rooftop deck, a multi-media, 3D digital cinema with seating for 298, a flexible-space auditorium, a Café, and a Museum Shop.