Sep 22, 2023 - Things to Do

The Texas Memorial Museum reopens with new name

Fossil of Quetzalcoatlus northropi, a species of pterosaur and one of the museum's legacy exhibits. Photo: Courtesy of Nolan Zunk/The University of Texas at Austin

Austin is getting a new — though familiar — museum.

Driving the news: The UT museum previously known as the Texas Memorial Museum is reopening Saturday as the Texas Science & Natural History Museum.

  • University leadership has spent the last year reworking the museum's business model, recruiting philanthropic support and planning new exhibits.

Why it matters: The museum is back with a new lease on life after closing in 2022 without plans to reopen, UT News writes.

Flashback: President Franklin Delano Roosevelt was on site for the groundbreaking of the Texas Memorial Museum nearly 90 years ago.

  • The state Legislature established the museum following complaints from Texas paleontologists that the state had no proper museum to house its most valuable fossils.

Details: Paul Cret, the architect of the UT Tower, designed the museum's art deco building but quit when money ran out to complete his vision of two additional wings.

  • The building is still smaller than average with just 18,000 square feet of exhibit space.

What's new: The museum had previously only been funded through the College of Natural Sciences, money from the state and admissions tickets. Now its model will align with peer institutions to include membership programs and private event rentals.

  • The building has new lighting and landscaping, carpet tiles to help with acoustics, refreshed legacy exhibits and new ones focused on the museum's history and active UT research.

The grand opening is Saturday from 10am-2pm, with free admission.

  • Starting next week, tickets will cost $10, with senior discounts and free admission to UT ID holders, children under 4 and active military members.

If you go: The museum is located at 2400 Trinity St.

  • Hours are 10am- 5pm Tuesday to Saturday, 1-5 pm Sunday.
  • Paid parking is available in the San Jacinto Parking Garage next to the museum as well as in other UT parking garages. Metered parking is available along Dean Keeton St. and along San Jacinto Blvd. south of Dean Keeton.

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