AUSTIN, Texas — Renovations at the Texas Science & Natural History Museum are set to wrap up soon.
The Texas Memorial Museum, located on San Jacinto Boulevard on the University of Texas at Austin campus, closed in March 2022. Since then, it has been renamed the Texas Science & Natural History Museum and extensive renovations and exhibit updates have been underway.
Among those exhibits are two full-size dinosaur fossils, each about 33 feet long and believed to have lived about 67 million years ago. Both were found at Big Bend National Park. While the pterosaur skeleton is an exhibit previous visitors will recognize, the tyrannosaur skeleton is new.
The museum - which is the Austin area's only science and natural history museum - was built as a part of the Texas Centennial in 1936 to celebrate the independence of Texas.
“This museum is really a gem on the UT Austin campus," said Carolyn Connerat, the managing director for the museum.
The museum first opened its doors in 1939 and hadn't had many updates in over 80 years, which prompted the staff to finally give it a makeover.
"All of those things haven't been done in decades. And so ,it was really time to give it that and, at the same time, to look to say, 'Who are we?' You know, 'What is our mission?' And we really are about providing STEM education for K through 12 students, as well as curious minds of all ages to learn about life in the natural world," Connerat said.
Other new exhibits include "Texas Transformation," which gives visitors an overview of over 600 million years of life; the College of Natural Sciences Showcase, which will feature rotating exhibits; the Paleontology Gallery; the Geology Gallery; and the Texas Wildlife Gallery. Renovations are complete on some exhibits, while others are open with updates still underway.
To celebrate nearing the end of renovations, the museum will open its doors to the public for a free event on Saturday, Sept. 23, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. There will be an official ribbon cutting by Dean of the College of Natural Sciences David Vanden Bout at noon.
The event will also feature live music, hands-on science activities, a performance by Texas Cheer and light bites and beverages from H-E-B.
Paid parking for the museum is available in the San Jacinto Garage, located at 2401 San Jacinto Blvd.
Following its grand opening celebration, the museum will be open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sundays from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. It will be closed on Mondays. Some groups will be eligible for free admission, but most tickets will range from $6 to $10.
According to UT, the mission of the Texas Science & Natural History Museum is "to excite, engage and connect curious minds of all ages to the unique and irreplaceable natural history of Texas."