By Taylor McDonnell
One of the Perot Museum of Nature and Science’s most popular and bustling halls, the Texas Instruments Engineering and Innovation Hall has a bright new look, much to the delight of tinkerers, engineering enthusiasts and fun seekers everywhere. Funded by a $1.3 million gift from the Texas Instruments Foundation, the hall features new curiosity-quenching interactives, offering a highly engaging experience for all ages to get their gears in motion and connect with the worlds of engineering and innovation. From a new engineering challenge lab, sleek robotics centers and music coding to wind tubes and a crank-able mechanical sculpture, the bilingual hall (presented in English and Spanish) showcases science that makes the world tick.
The new hall’s expanded engineering and technology experiences are possible thanks to the generosity of the Texas Instruments Foundation, which invests in education initiatives that improve the quality of life and achievement of the North Texas community. As a global pioneer in technology and innovation, Texas Instruments has long shared the museum’s commitment to engage and prepare those who will make the discoveries and create the technologies of the future.
“TI is proud to support the Perot Museum of Nature and Science through the reimagined Texas Instruments Engineering and Innovation Hall,” said Andy Smith, executive director of the TI Foundation. “Our company shares the museum’s commitment to bring STEM education to students in the North Texas community to encourage and develop future innovators. The grant from the TI Foundation to renovate the TI Hall will bring engaging experiences to new and returning visitors, sparking a passion for STEM in the next generation.”
This leadership gift adds to the legacy of support from Texas Instruments and the Texas Instruments Foundation, from the visionary funding to build the museum to their donation of thousands of volunteer hours and continued sponsorship of exhibitions and critical community programs. Collaborating with STEM-focused companies to bolster informal science education is key to the museum’s mission to inspire minds through nature and science.
“This extraordinary gift from the Texas Instruments Foundation bolsters the Perot Museum’s efforts to fuel the STEM-capable workforce of tomorrow by igniting imaginations and encouraging exploration,” said Dr. Linda Silver, Eugene McDermott chief executive officer of the Perot Museum of Nature and Science. “Engineers make vital contributions to our current — and future — society by solving problems to improve our lives. We hope the cutting-edge technology and new learning adventures in the reimagined Texas Instruments Engineering and Innovation Hall will spark curiosity in the wonders of engineering and propel the next generation of innovators, visionaries and science leaders.”
The all-new 1,400-square-foot ChallENGe Lab, made possible by support from The Hoglund Foundation, is a designated space designed to encourage innovators, young and old, to engage in friendly and competitive interactive play. Guests will explore their inner engineers through 20-minute themed challenges, such as a high-tech “egg drop” or creating a lunar craft that can survive a moon landing.
Next to the ChallENGe Lab, a new 23-foot “Amazing Airways” wind-tube experience will inspire even the youngest engineers-in-training to learn about the movement of air as they experiment with lightweight materials and see them soar through multiple tunnels. Nearby, a floor-to-ceiling mechanical sculpture is expected to evoke “oohs and ahhs” as guests turn a wheel to make the art move and groove.
A giant music sequencer will combine coding skills with colorful creativity as guests use light-up buttons to create uniquely designed songs that will also result in a vibrant melody visualization. Refreshed VEX™ robotic tables will invite visitors to program and manipulate robots while collaboratively completing missions, and three new stations will explore the importance of circuits through sound, light and motion activities. Additionally, an entire wall – dubbed the “North Texas Innovators Timeline” – will showcase local engineering icons such as Ross Perot and Jack Kilby via digital stories, career inspiration videos and more.
Other highlights include a visual history of how computer chips continue to shrink in size while becoming more powerful, a cutting-edge facial feature interactive and captivating career spotlights from a variety of North Texas professionals in engineering disciplines.
Fan-favorite activities such as the seismic shake tables (that test the stability of guest-created structures) remain in the hall, while the popular “wooden mirror” has been relocated to the Being Human Hall.
Museum general admission is complimentary for active-duty members and veterans of the United States military, along with law-enforcement officers, firefighters and paramedics/EMTs plus their immediate family (up to six family members) receive $3 off general admission.
The Perot Museum is located at 2201 N. Field Street in Dallas. For ticket information, parking maps and other details visit perotmuseum.org or call 214-428-5555.