Spotlight Q & A with Linda Silver, Eugene McDermott Chief Executive Officer for the Perot Museum of Nature and Science in Dallas.*
Q: Art is an expression of… _____?
A: At Perot, art is at the forefront of our passions, right along with science, technology, engineering, and math. Our mission is to open minds, and nourish souls. Art does this in a way few other disciplines can.
We consider the Perot Museum to be a place where families can learn together and individuals can take a break from their daily routines. Art clearly fits into this mission. Visitors can wander, either to get lost or to find their way, as they discover something new and fascinating.
The Museum reminds us that the universe is grander than ourselves, older than we can fathom, and that the world actually revolves around the sun, and not us. It inspires our community through exhibits, marvels, and presentations. It exhilarates and entertains visitors of all ages… because after all, it’s never too late to learn.
Q: Can you expand more on the STEM initiative and what that will look like in terms of programming for patrons?
A: What the Perot Museum of Nature and Science does particularly well is display an understanding of its own mission while consistently operating through that lens. This is a place where science, math, learning, and innovation are the central tenets, and every event, exhibit, and engagement honors that responsibility to the community.
The Museum is dedicated to preparing the next generation of STEM professionals, partnering with schools and teachers to offer exceptional experiences. In the aftermath of the pandemic, the Perot Museum has proven that it can be counted upon to bridge STEM learning gaps that had widened as a result of virtual learning.
Additionally, diversity and inclusion are at the forefront of the Perot Museum’s programming and decision-making. By partnering with other community leaders and services — including DART — the museum has been able to open its doors to a diverse grouping of visitors, ensuring that it remains a welcoming and engaging venue for all. And, the Perot Museum’s expanded TECH Truck program — which features additional STEM mobile learning labs — has allowed them to reach untapped areas of the city, ensuring access is not limited by zip codes.
Evidence of this commitment was on full display this fall when the Perot Museum of Nature and Science hosted a roundtable breakfast with community education leaders. The goal of the exercise was to put thought leaders, educational experts, and community visionaries in a single room, all in an effort to break down barriers and determine the best possible ways that the museum can partner with DFW to inspire and educate the region’s youth. As moderator and Dallas Morning News executive editor Katrice Hardy so aptly said on that day, “Assets like the Perot Museum are gems in the community.”
Q: This year has hosted myriad celebrations to pay tribute to year 10…what are you most looking forward to in terms of this month’s gala?
A: As the museum celebrates its 10th year, it has enlisted the leadership of Dallas Mavericks legend Dirk Nowitzki, and his wife Jessica, to chair a year-long celebration of everything the museum has come to offer, and everything the museum will mean to the community moving forward.
From an innovative, virtual “Speed Wall” which allows visitors to test their athletic acumen against the likes of Patrick Mahomes, to a “Prescribing the Perot” program which will gift pediatric patients with free museum memberships, each month features a special event designed to celebrate the museum’s legacy while consistently engaging learners of the future.
In the words of the Nowitzki’s, “We’re thrilled to help commemorate a decade of inspiring young minds, and we’re even more excited about the next chapter as the Perot Museum expands its community outreach to inspire a new generation toward a lifelong love of science.”
Q: How do you think the Perot Museum of Nature and Science has shaped the arts fabric of Dallas over these past 10 years?
A: When one thinks of DFW, art, and innovation, the Perot Museum is undoubtedly top of mind. Every trip to the museum is an adventure, every new exhibit is a chance to engage a new community, and every program pushes the boundaries of STEM innovation.
Never resting, and always creating, the Perot Museum has made a commitment to DFW, pledging to inspire learners and uncover untapped potential. Understanding that science and art is. for everyone, the Perot Museum has shown its commitment to creating more equitable access by fostering and deepening community connections.
As more than one million visitors step inside the museum each year, the cherished community landmark continues to expand its digital footprint, always with a supreme focus on helping teachers and families fill critical STEM learning gaps. Programs are designed to dive deep into the Museum experience, making the Perot Museum forever synonymous with North Texas innovation.
One simply can not consider DFW art without instantly thinking of the Perot Museum of Nature and Science. Since opening its doors in 2012, the Perot Museum has moved the needle on learning to previously unfathomable levels. It is fascinating and awe-inspring to imagine what the next decade – and beyond – has in store.
Q: Plans for the next 10 years ahead?
A: As this new chapter in our story unfolds, the four pillars of Perot 2.0 will make the Perot experience even more welcoming, more inspiring — and ultimately more impactful.
We’ll strengthen community connections, expand educational services and outreach, while building key partnerships in South Dallas.
We’ll capitalize on untapped potential by activating outdoor space, integrating the nearby Victory Park development and bringing DART access to the Museum’s doorstep.
We’ll enhance the interactive guest experience, ensuring the Museum is welcoming and engaging to new and diverse audiences.
We’ll expand Perot’s digital footprint to help teachers and families fill critical STEM learning gaps, offering programs design.
Visit the website at www.perotmuseum.org
*Photos by Tamytha Cameron
(This Philanthropy Lifestyles Spotlight Q & A courtesy the Perot Museum.)