First Look: The Perot Museum Transforms its TI Engineering and Innovation Hall

The Perot Museum of Nature and Science has reopened the doors to its Texas Instruments Engineering and Innovation Hall thanks to a $1.3M gift from the Texas Instruments Foundation. For robots, wind tubes, facial recognition, and more, take our photo tour for a peek inside.

Stepping inside the Perot Museum of Nature and Science’s reimagined Texas Instruments Engineering and Innovation Hall is like entering a world of technology.

There are hands-on robot stations. A huge music sequencer on one side and a floor-to-ceiling wind tube experience on the other. An engineering lab. And, there’s even a timeline of North Texas innovation.

The 4,500-square-foot space inside the downtown Dallas museum began its revamp following a $1.3 million gift from the Texas Instruments Foundation. Long known as one of the Museum’s most packed, popular areas, the interactive Engineering and Innovation Hall is expected to appeal to all ages and interests.

A ribbon-cutting was held on Nov. 7 with students from the Conrad High School robotics club, Perot Museum’s Eugene McDermott CEO Dr. Linda Silver, and Chair of the TI Foundation Terri West. The Hall will officially reopen to the public on Nov. 12. 

[Photo: Erin Gilliatt]

“Engineers make vital contributions to our current—and future—society by solving problems to improve our lives,” Dr. Silver said. “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.”

Texas Instruments and its Foundation have a storied past with the Perot Museum, dating all the way back to when the Museum was in the process of being built.

[Photo: Erin Gilliatt]

The updated Hall is part of a string of renovations the Museum is undergoing to better align with its mission to bolster informal science education. Silver said with the TI Foundation’s donation, the Museum is able to continue its efforts to “fuel the STEM-capable workforce of tomorrow.” It also aligns with Texas Instruments’ commitment to preparing the technologists of the future—specifically through education initiatives in the region.

“Our company shares the Museum’s commitment to bring STEM education to students in the North Texas community to encourage and develop future innovators,” Andy Smith, executive director of the TI Foundation, said in a statement. “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.”

Take a photo tour of the Texas Instruments Engineering and Innovation Hall

Each display in the bilingual hall (it’s presented in English and Spanish) is dedicated to showcasing “science that makes the world tick.” Get an inside look at what to expect before you visit.

All photos by Erin Gillatt.

A favorite of the hall is the brand new ChallENGe Lab, a designated space for competitive interactive play. The 1,400-square-foot space—created with support from The Hoglund Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to helping families and at-risk children in Dallas—will offer 20-minute engineering-themed challenges. Visitors might go head-to-head in a high tech egg drop or build a lunar craft equipped for a trip to the moon.

Also new to the Hall is a 23-foot wind-tube experience called “Amazing Airways.” The Museum hopes to inspire young engineers-in-training by allowing them to experiment with the movement of air.

Hands-on entities are scattered throughout, like a floor-to-ceiling mechanical sculpture that makes art move and various build-it-yourself stations. There’s also a facial recognition area that, similar to an iPhone filter, can put an animal filter over your face.

Piano tunes consistently fill the room with the help of a giant music sequencer. In a coding-meets-creativity display, light-up buttons turn into custom songs and melody visualization.

A major highlight is the refreshed VEX robotic tables where visitors are able to actually program their own robots and collaborate on missions.

And, if you look up, there’s a tribute to the advances made in the region. The “North Texas Innovators Timeline” showcases stories and highlights from local engineering professionals, like Ross Perot and Jack Kilbyvia, and inventions, like the computer chip.

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