An experience at the museum can be life-changing. That’s what leaders at the Perot Museum of Nature and Science have come to realize.
They want to make sure children from all backgrounds and zip codes have an opportunity to learn and explore outside of the classroom. So, they partnered with more than a dozen organizations to make sure that happens.
Lubbock Smith said the time with his daughter Genesis is priceless. At the Perot Museum of Nature and Science, he gets to watch her explore.
“Just being able to have fun with her and watch her learn through her cognitive development is essential. And really just for our bond as father-daughter time, it’s everything,” said Smith.
He’s grateful for the possibilities at her fingertips.
“Coming from a single household myself, my mom really couldn’t afford things like this,” said Smith. “So, to have that membership so you and come experience, have great moments and truly learn and grow, it’s everything.”
His membership was made possible thanks to the museum’s pilot program. Some 5,000 membership packets were given out through sixteen community partners like For Oak Cliff.
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For Oak Cliff’s co-founder, Xavier Henderson said the partnership is critical.
“I think it’s really powerful because it sets a precedence for other institutions in the city to think about how they make their spaces accessible,” said Henderson. “In our zip code, the median household income is only $23,000. So being able to go to a museum that’s downtown is already hard enough. But to be able to pay, it’s almost impossible for a lot of families.”
The Perot Museum's CEO, Linda Silver, is confident the next generation of world-changers can be found inside the museum.
“When we look at people who choose careers in science and technology, the vast majority of them will point to an experience outside of school that sparked that initial curiosity,” said Silver. “These are the experiences that create our future workforce.”
As Genesis explores, Smith sees the future and opportunities opening up for his little girl.
“I just want her to just naturally, organically enjoy life, find what you’re passionate about and love,” said Smith.
The pilot program allotted 5,000 membership passes. Silver said they’re exploring options for expanding the program.
“We’ll be looking to other potential funding partners as well to help us expand the reach and really make sure that as many people who want to come to the Perot Museum have that opportunity, and the financial barrier is lowered,” said Silver.
In the meantime, the museum still allows $1 entry per individual for families who receive state and federal assistance.
The city of Dallas also continues to make strides toward inclusivity and increased access throughout the city. The city of Dallas Park and Recreation Department created the Youth All-Access Pass program to allow teens free access to Dallas museums and other attractions.
The city hoped this pass would serve as a way to provide access, remove financial barriers and create exposure to Dallas teens.
Initially, the department hoped to register 2.500 teens during the month of July. However, 5,000 registered in just 5 days.
A spokesperson with Dallas Park and Recreation said they’re awaiting a shipment of additional cards scheduled for a July 14 distribution date.
This is a limited supply, once they're gone, that'll be it for this summer.
For more on the city of Dallas all-access pass click here.
And for more on Perot Museum of Nature and Science, click here.
Also check out perotmuseum.org/discounts