Perot Museum Stairway Design Celebrates African-American STEM Contributions

NBCUniversal, Inc.

The stairs outside the Perot Museum of Nature and Science were transformed into a colorful art installation that pays tribute to African-American leaders in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math.

"Our mission is to inspire minds through nature and science," said Dr. Linda Silver, Eugene McDermott Chief Executive Officer, Perot Museum of Nature and Science. "I want to underscore that it's about inspiring ALL minds through nature and science.

Silver told a crowd that gathered Thursday morning that the museum issued a challenge to designers last fall during Black Lives Matter Protests, looking for an eye-catching, colorful design that celebrates African-American contributions to STEM fields.

Dallas-based architect and artist, Daniel Gunn submitted his design and won the competition.

"So I titled my design 'Giant Steps'," Gunn said. "Because each of these amazing STEM leaders have made giant steps in their respective career fields."

The steps are color-blocked in bold colors. They feature outlines of the faces and names; including father of the blood bank Dr. Charles Drew, scientist and the first woman to earn an MIT doctorate Dr. Shirley Ann Jackson, architect Paul Revere Williams, agricultural inventor George Washington Carver, the first African-American woman in space Dr. Mae Jemison, inventor Otis Frank Boykin, and NASA scientists Katherine Johnson and Mary Winston Jackson (profiled in the movie 'Hidden Figures').

"I really hope this design will shed light on what people of color can achieve, and what we have achieved, and what we continue to achieve," Gunn said. "I want people to stop the hatred and just embrace each other."

The art installation will stay up through Memorial Day at the Perot Museum of Nature and Science.

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