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Perot Museum of Nature and Science, Dallas, Texas. An innovative idea
  
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Jordi Fabre
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PostPosted: Aug 23, 2014 13:36    Post subject: Perot Museum of Nature and Science, Dallas, Texas. An innovative idea  

During a recent trip to the United States I had the luck and pleasure to visit the Perot Museum of Nature and Science that recently opened, in December of 2012. The reason for this post is not to describe this excellent museum, widely described elsewhere (see: Perot Museum of Nature and Science, Dallas, Texas) but to explain more about the original concept behind this Museum. For its originality, vision and spirit of cooperation (and why not, it is a huge success) the history of the Perot Museum of Nature and Science, Dallas should be explained.

The concept that is usually behind a large Natural Science Museum is almost always government management and a "pyramidal" structure. At the base are the employees performing maintenance and customers service, and at the top of the pyramid is the Museum Director and the Curator. They are usually either people with an excellent academic curriculum or are political appointees. Besides that, the funds are owned by the Museum and its origin is usually purchases or gifts / bequests.

Well, the Perot Museum has a diametrically opposite concept. Simply put, it could be described as follows: look for someone interested in donating funds to create an extraordinary museum bearing their names (Ross and Margot Perot) and also some other donors who want to participate in the adventure (Lyda Hill, Trevor Rees-Jones and Forrest Hoglund & Sally, the other major donors). They contribute and they have control over the construction of a landmark building in the center of a big city (Dallas, fifth largest city in the USA) designed by a renowned architect (Thomas Mayne). Once the building is done, delegated to a large group of volunteers / donors (our Gail & Jim Spann among them) to take care of the continued maintenance of the Museum, the volunteers join easily due to the attractive building and the transparent nature of the project, their role will be to take turns daily to perform the tasks that in other museums have to do using hired staff, so therefore they represent no cost other than an apron. Docents, mentors, greeters and guest presenters are but a few of the volunteer positions. There is also a large amount of hired staff to oversee much of the daily running of this museum.

And now comes the best part: we already have an extraordinary building, ideal location, beautiful interior with luxury cabinets and all the technological advances, and now we just need to fill it. How to do it? Easily, as we already have a wonderful place, volunteers who are responsible for it, including the mineral curator, well known Mark Pospisil, and an attractive project in every way, just now take a good expert and go to see all the local collectors and ask them to loan some of their best pieces for three years. The loan doesn't create problems for these collectors since they can look at their specimens (which obviously show their names and the pieces are appraised and insured also) in such an attractive place they are a credit to them, so the collectors are keen to join in and soon all the show cases will be filled with extraordinary specimens.

Well, ladies and gentlemen, that is the Perot Museum. Let's see the results:

Number of visitors per year?: 1,200,000 in the first year of opening (2013) and increasing, with 366,000 visitors in the first 3 months of 2014

Most visited section of the Museum?: The section of minerals, ("Lyda Hill Gems and Minerals Hall")

Volunteers who are currently helping the Museum?: More than 1,000

The museum is self-sufficient in economic terms?: Yes, because it generates annual profits due to the revenue obtained from charging entrance fees, payments ( donations) of friends/sponsors of the Museum, and other revenues such as sales at the Museum's store and private activities organized by the same Museum. No public funds have been used to create the museum, or for its daily maintenance.

After the three years of loan there will be more specimens to be displayed: There are many collectors wishing to exhibit their pieces here (some the ones that have their specimens on display currently). With the MAD group (Mineralogical Association of Dallas) being a central group to the continued success.

Exemplary. Far away from what is customary here in Europe. I could say many other considerations but these figures speak for themselves.

You can learn more about the Perot Museum using the link to the Museum website: Perot Museum. To learn more about its genesis you can visit this article: Historia how the Perot Museum was created

Thanks to James Catmur and Gail & Jim Spann for their revision of this text and help to create this column.



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Long queues to get entry
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Ground floor of the Museum, with the usual dinosaurs
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The second floor of the Museum, with a kind of "Museum of Science"
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Up to the third floor, where is located the Mineral Hall
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Wooow, what Gail is doing here? ;-)
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Views of the Dallas Skyline from the escalators
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PostPosted: Aug 23, 2014 13:55    Post subject: Perot Museum of Nature and Science, Dallas, Texas. An innovative idea - (2)  

And now the Mineral Hall...


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The display cases with the minerals
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This is the piece I liked most of all I saw. A quiet gemmy Cerussite from Tsumeb of about 30 cm high...
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Reproduction of a Brazilian geode with smoky Quartz, Feldspars and Elbaites
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"inside the pocket"
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PostPosted: Aug 23, 2014 14:12    Post subject: Perot Museum of Nature and Science, Dallas, Texas. An innovative idea - (3)  

And the most important of the museum: the visitors and the volunteers.


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The visitors (many ;-)
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The volunteers (two ;-)
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three! ;-)
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...and volunteers interacting with visitors
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Even outside the museum there are activities to do...
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...and the visitors had a great time!

All photos from Gail Spann, except some mine.
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PostPosted: Aug 24, 2014 12:35    Post subject: Re: Perot Museum of Nature and Science, Dallas, Texas. An innovative idea  

Absolutely beautiful architecture and design! Also interesting to know some official numbers like how many people that attracts such a museum, waw!
I put the Perot museum on my wish list beside Tucson.

Peter
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