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Dallas, Texas
National Historical Landmark

FAIR PARK

by Clint Skinner

22. Science Place I

TX - Dallas Fair Park - Science Place I
Science Place I
Photo courtesy Clint Skinner, February 2016
The site of the former Science Place lays directly south of Leonhardt Lagoon. The building was originally constructed for the exposition to house the collections of the Dallas Museum of Fine Arts. The artwork, worth ten million dollars, had accumulated over the years since 1903.

It was during that year that a group of fifty people gathered together and formed the Dallas Art Association. Its goal was to support the visual arts by establishing a respectable collection. After the meeting, the members began the process of acquiring artwork and displaying the pieces at exhibitions inside the Dallas Public Library.

When the DAA donated its holdings to the city in 1909, everything was moved from the library to a building in Fair Park, which was located near the former location of the Women's Museum. Because the collection now had an independent facility, management decided to give it a name and called it the Free Public Art Gallery of Dallas. A hailstorm attacked the Dallas area in 1926 and shattered the roof of the art museum, prompting the local government to seek funds for a better home. A bond election the following year provided 500,000 dollars for the project. In 1929, the artwork was transferred to the Majestic Theater to protect the art while the new building was under construction. Unfortunately, the Great Depression took hold of the nation and delayed the project indefinitely. The collection moved once again in 1933, this time to the ninth floor of the Dallas Power and Light Company Building.
1936 Texas  Centennial  Exposition  in Dallas aerial photo right enlarged
No. 25 - Dallas Museum of Fine Arts
(
1936 Texas Centennial Exposition in Dallas - Aereal photo right)
Click on image to enlarge
Courtesy Sarah Reveley
With plans for the Texas Centennial in progress, it was decided to start work on the new museum again using the original bond money. When completed, the limestone building had a red granite base, doors with decorative panels, and an architectural style called classic modernism. The collection was renamed the Dallas Museum of Fine Arts and received lots of attention during the exposition. The museum continued its popularity after the event and stayed at its location until 1983 when it moved to its current location in the arts district of Downtown Dallas.

When the Dallas Museum of Fine Arts left the facility, the contents of the Dallas Health and Science Museum entered it. There was so much content, many of the exhibits had to stay at the old home. Because both places would be open to the public, the new, larger building would be named Science Place I and the older, smaller one would be called Science Place II.

The exhibits of the museum changed throughout the years. They included fossils, dinosaur skeletons, computers, interactive displays, an IMAX theater, classes for the Head Start education program, and a children's museum with toys and playground equipment. With the exception of the IMAX theater, the majority of the features went to the Perot Museum of Nature and Science. The Fair Park museum closed and the remaining contents were shipped elsewhere. The building is currently an empty shell, only hosting special attractions during the state fair.


November 19, 2016
© Clint Skinner

FAIR PARK:
Fair Park - Attractions:
1. Fair Park Station
2. Main Entrance
3. Founders Statue
4. Women's Museum
5. DAR House
6. The Texas Vietnam Veterans Memorial
7. Sydney Smith Memorial Fountain
8. Music Hall
9. Fair Park Esplanade
10. Centennial Building
11. Automobile Building
12. Hall of State
13. Tower Building
14. Big Tex Circle
15. Grand Place
16. Old Mill Inn
17. Magnolia Lounge
18. Hall of Religion
19. African American Museum
20. Leonhardt Lagoon
21. Dallas Museum of Natural History
22. Science Place I
23. Children's Aquarium
24. Fair Park Bandshell
25. Texas Discovery Gardens
26. WRR Headquarters
27. Science Place II
28. The Texas Star
29. Cotton Bowl Stadium
30. The Texas Skyway
31. The Embarcadero
32. The Creative Arts Building
33. Food and Fiber Building
34. Pan American Arena
35. The Woofus
36. The Swine Building
37. Briscoe Carpenter Livestock Center
38. Livestock Pavilion and Arena
39. The Horse Barn
40. Fair Park Coliseum
41. Top of Texas Tower


References:
1.Bigtex.com
2.Dallashistory.org
3.Dallas Morning News Archives
4.Fairpark.org
5.Slate, John H. Historic Dallas Parks. Arcadia Publishing, 2010.
6.Tshaonline.org
7.Watermelon-kid.com
8.Wikipedia.org
8.Winters, Willis Cecil. Fair Park. Arcadia Publishing, 2010.

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