The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

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The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

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Perot Museum of Nature and Science nears completion

Media+attends+a+project+update+and+hard+hat+tour+of+the+Perot+Museum+of+Nature+and+Science+2013+opening.
Photo Courtesy of Jason Janik
Media attends a project update and hard hat tour of the Perot Museum of Nature and Science 2013 opening.

Media attends a project update and hard hat tour of the Perot Museum of Nature and Science 2013 opening. (Photo Courtesy of Jason Janik)

Seven years after the 4.7 acres in Victory Park were purchased, and 21 months after construction began, the new Perot Museum of Nature and Science is beginning to show Dallas what a $185 million state-of-the art museum looks like.

This month, North Texas media had the opportunity to go on a hard hat tour of the 180,000-square-foot museum that is slated to open in early 2013.

The 170-foot building will be home to five floors for exhibition halls.

“That’s because dinosaurs are very tall,” Jennifer Scripps, director of strategic initiatives, said as she explained that all the ceilings were built extremely high to most effectively display the exhibitions.

The unique architecture on the outside of the building is representative of geologic rock strata. But the more obvious aspect is the 150-foot rectangular glass structure that will house a 54-foot continuous escalator.

Museum architect and founder of Morphosis Architects Thom Mayne referred to the escalator as the “A ticket” to the city. With a one of a kind view of Dallas, the escalator takes visitors from the entrance up to level four.

“Literally, no matter where you are, you are a part of the city,” Mayne said.

Visitors will enter the museum grounds through a musical forest, which has instruments immersed for visitors to enjoy. Then, at the entrance plaza, visitors will be greeted by a digital theatre, retail store and Real. Delicious. café by Wolfgang Puck.

Up to this point, all of these amenities are free and open to the public.

“It is an attraction in and of itself,” Scripps said.

After crossing a bridge, visitors enter into the main lobby on the second floor where tickets may be purchased.

Even when going down to the underground level, natural light filters through the entire building. Museum attendees can stand here, below the entry bridge, look up and see all the way to a skylight, interrupted only by the series of stairways circulating through the building.

The museum will have 11 permanent exhibition halls, including everything from life-sized dinosaurs, gems, space, sports and a children’s museum.

“There are going to be things that haven’t been seen,” Paul Bernhard, principal at Paul Bernhard Exhibit Design and Consulting, said.

There will also be a temporary exhibition hall that will allow the museum to host traveling exhibitions that the old Fair Park facilities were not accommodating.

Museum officials guarantee that the facility’s technology will be the latest and greatest.

“We want the ability to bring content in from anywhere and send content out to anywhere. And we’ve been granted that capacity,” Steve Hinkley, vice president of education for the museum, said.

Hinkley explained that within the six classrooms provided for education, the technology will offer Dallas students the opportunity to watch live broadcast of lectures at the Smithsonian Institution or collaborate with other students around the world.

“We are thrilled to be able to provide this directly to them,” Hinkley said.

The museum is also at the forefront with its “green” technology.

All the water in the building, with the exception of drinking water and water for the sinks, will be recycled on site from rain water collected on the roof.

Scripps and the rest of the museum team are dedicated to keeping the institution up-to-date and continuously improving itself.

“We think about opening day as the day you bring the baby home from the hospital,” Scripps said. “You are not done. The vigilance starts then.” 

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