Perot Museum of Nature and Science’s Annual Fundraising Gala, Night At The Museum: Ignite, Set The Night Ablaze Nov. 9

Featured photo: Marlene and John Sughrue, chairs.*

Elevating elements of engineering and innovation, the highly-anticipated evening featured fiery fare, tantalizing activities across all five levels of the Perot Museum, live performances and an explosive after party

Partying for a cause has never been so hot! The Perot Museum of Nature and Science’s Night at the Museum: Ignite illuminated Dallas on Nov. 9 for a gala unlike any other. More than 1,000 guests attended, including Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson, Dallas City Councilmember David Blewett, Texas Instruments officials Peter Balyta and Terri West, and philanthropist Sally Hoglund – all on hand to help dedicate the newly reimagined Texas Instruments Engineering and Innovation Hall days before its Nov. 12 public opening.

“Thanks to our incredible supporters, this year’s Night at the Museum overflowed with opportunities for exploration on every level, igniting imagination and sparking the curiosity of our guests” said Dr. Linda Silver, the Eugene McDermott Chief Executive Officer of the Perot Museum. “As our biggest fundraiser, this evening supports the Perot Museum’s mission to inspire minds through nature and science, allowing us to successfully lead the charge for STEM education in North Texas.”

Event chairs were Marlene and John Sughrue, and honorary chair was Mary McDermott Cook.

Margot Perot, Nancy Cain Marcus

The VIP pre-party for Geode sponsors (at the $12,500 level and above) began at 6 p.m., followed by the main party at 7 p.m. The after-party ran from 9 p.m.-midnight.

Upon arrival, guests were welcomed by color-changing illuminated arches projecting simulated fire, lasers, fire eaters, a neon-lit champagne wall and a blue glitter carpet. The Museum’s five floors teemed with delectable, science-inspired inspired cuisine from Wolfgang Puck Catering (from flaming cocktails to blueprint food stations), and other mind-igniting activities.

As guests were transported up the famed “T. rex-calator” to Level 4, they were greeted with “Mechanical Minded” experiences, cocktails from a moving bolt bar with Asian-inspired small plates served on a conveyer belt, a “space henge” 360-degree photo booth, and the famous “shouting paleontologist.”

On Level 3, “A Flash of Inspiration” mixed the visual awe of combustion and heat with mid-century modern pizzazz complete with a crepe station, “ignite” hair bar glitter station, neuron-fired photo-ops and futuristic body-art station.

Kate and Lane Britain, Bill and Katie Wade

With a “Constructing the Idea” theme, Level 2 took a more modern approach with its roaming robot photo booth, a Rube-Goldberg dessert station, food-aeration station, dry-ice test-tube cocktails and programmable LEGO® robots. Also on Level 2, partygoers got a sneak peek of the newly reimagined Texas Instruments Engineering and Innovation Hall. The Hall boasts a massive LED music code sequencer, ChallENGe Lab, three robotic tables, “Awesome Airways” wind-tunnel activity, “North Texas Innovator Timeline,” interactive mechanical art sculpture and more. The Hall was funded by a $1.3 million gift from the Texas Instruments Foundation, and the ChallENGe Lab was supported by The Hoglund Foundation.

Decked out with gears, cogs and peculiar mechanics, the steampunk-style VIP pre-party on the Lower Level featured an Inventor’s Workshop complete with brassy late-19th century décor and colors. Revelers delighted in the “da Vinci” Negroni ice-sphere cocktails encased in ice and served with a small hammer, a flambéed steak station, and sip-on-a-spoon cocktails topped with gold flakes. A Tilt Brush by Google virtual reality station and festive photo ops completed the scenario.

The Museum’s world-exclusive exhibition, Origins: Fossils from the Cradle of Humankind, greeted curious guests on the Lower Level. The exhibition, which is open through March 22, 2020, showcases fossils of two ancient human relatives – Australopithecus sediba and Homo naledi – marking the first time that human relative fossils of two different species have ever been displayed together outside of Africa.

To round out the night, a blazing after party featuring the Georgia Bridgwater Orchestra brought down the house from 9 p.m.-midnight. Late-night refreshments included chicken schnitzel, wagyu beef burgers and adult milkshakes.

Proceeds supported the Museum’s mission to inspire minds through nature and science to fund educational programming, student scholarships, Museum operations, traveling exhibitions and groundbreaking research.

Lead commitments included $100,000 Planet-level contributions from Lyda Hill, the Eugene McDermott Foundation and Margot Perot, and $50,000 Dinosaur-level contributions from Balfour Beatty Construction and The Hoglund Foundation.

The$25,000 Turbine-level donors were Atmos Energy; Cassie and Mac McFarlandSuzanne and Patrick McGeeGenOn Energy; Highland Capital ManagementNancy Perot and Rod Jones; Sarah and Ross Perot, Jr.; Katherine and Michael Phillips; Katherine and Eric Reeves; Carolyn and Karl Rathjen; and Deedie RoseSewell Automotive Companies was the premier automotive sponsor, Wolfgang Puck Catering was the catering sponsor,and PaperCitywas the media sponsor.

The $12,500 Geode-level supporters were Lane and Kate Britain/Petrocap, LLC; Jill Bee and Loren Glasser, Emily and David Corrigan/Costello Family Foundation; John and Rusty Jaggers; Gene and Jerry Jones Family; Dr. John and Cecilia Morgan/Katie Morgan and Aaron Michelsohn; Jean H. and John T. Walter Jr. (Fund of Communities Foundation of Texas); Royce Ramey and Aimee Williams-Ramey (Tolleson Wealth Management); The Rosewood Foundation; and The Alinda Hill Wikert Foundation.

The 2019 Host Committee members were Dia and Kelvin Baggett; Sarah and Sam Bloom; Kate and Lane Britain; Lucy and Michael Brittian; Nancy and Clint Carlson; Kelly Compton; Emily and David Corrigan; Betsy and Richard Eiseman; Marena and Roger Gault; Carolyn and Loren Greaves; Ann and Lee Hobson; Sally and Forrest Hoglund; Laree Hulshoff and Ben Fischer; Suzanne and Walter Humann; Cathey and Don Humphreys; Rusty and John Jaggers; Karen and Alan Katz; Virginia and Ben Mimmack; Cassie and Mac McFarland; Katie Morgan and Aaron Michelsohn; Nancy Perot and Rod Jones; Aimee Williams-Ramey and Royce Ramey; Katherine Perot Reeves and Eric Reeves; Penny Reid and Thomas Nolan; Caitlin Rhodes and Akers Moore; Catherine and Will Rose; Josie and Carl Sewell III; Nicole and Justin Small; Gail and James Spann; Sharon and Kip Tindell; Katy and Bill Wade; Julie and Jacob Walter;and Linda and Ken Wimberly.

Save the date! Night at the Museum will return Nov. 14, 2020. Stay up to date at

About the Perot Museum of Nature and Science. The top cultural attraction in Dallas/Fort Worth and a Michelin Green Guide three-star destination, the Perot Museum of Nature and Science is a nonprofit educational organization located in the heart of Dallas, Texas. With a mission to inspire minds through nature and science, the Perot Museum delivers exciting, engaging and innovative visitor and outreach experiences through its education, exhibition, and research and collections programming for children, students, teachers, families and life-long learners. The 180,000-square-foot facility in Victory Park opened in December 2012 and is now recognized as the symbolic gateway to the Dallas Arts District. Future scientists, mathematicians and engineers will find inspiration and enlightenment through 11 permanent exhibit halls on five floors of public space; a children’s museum; a state-of-the art traveling exhibition hall; and The Hoglund Foundation Theater. Designed by 2005 Pritzker Architecture Prize Laureate Thom Mayne and his firm Morphosis Architects, the Victory Park museum has been lauded for its artistry and sustainability. To learn more, please visit

*Photo credits: Kaitlyn Kilpatrick/Perot Museum of Nature and Science and Turk Studio


Principal of Philanthropy Lifestyles (formerly, the award-winning eBuzzNewsletter and Adams Communications Public Relations, a boutique PR firm specializing in media and community relations for small businesses and nonprofit organizations. Sharon is also a freelance writer whose articles have appeared in Dallas Business Journal, Katy Trail Weekly, People Newspapers (Park Cities People and Preston Hollow People/North Dallas People), Preston Hollow Life magazine, The Park Cities News, White Rock Lake Weekly, numerous blogs and websites and more.