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Breaking Ground at the Museum of Nature and Science
by Stephen Becker 18 Nov 2009

Five hundred people attended the groundbreaking Wednesday afternoon for the Perot Museum of Nature and Science in Victory Park. KERA’s Stephen Becker reports on how the museum got its name.



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More than 20 donations of a million dollars or more have been made to build the new Perot Museum of Nature and Science in Victory Park.

But with an estimated cost of $185 million, even million-dollar donations don’t take a huge chunk out of the bill.

Enter Ross Perot Jr.

At Wednesday’s groundbreaking ceremony for the new building, he recalled a conversation he had with the museum’s chief fundraiser, Forrest Hoglund. Hoglund suggested that Perot and his sisters take their mother, Margot, a former teacher, to see the Houston Museum of Natural Science.

PEROT: “And I think before mom even went into the building, just the school buses alone lined up with the school kids to go in that day, she was convinced this was something she wanted to do. And if you want to know how things work in our family, probably like yours, if your mother is on board, pretty much the rest of us are gonna follow.”

The trip ultimately netted a $50 million donation and the naming rights to the museum in honor of their parents, H. Ross and Margot Perot.

The museum isn’t scheduled to open until 2013. Fundraising continues, and they’re still about $60 million away from their goal.

But on Wednesday, several dozen kids saw demonstrations on gravity, wind power, light and other concepts they may learn about one day on field trips to the museum.

And Perot saw a vision of the future.

“We know that millions of children will go through the building every year … and I hope that with their dreams and aspirations, they will stay in Dallas, they will build their business in Dallas, and continue to build this fabulous economy that we call home.”