FORT WORTH MUSEUM OF SCIENCE AND HISTORY
FW Museum of Science and History - Beads: A Journey Across Cultures
For thousands of years, people all over Earth have created beads. These tiny objects
have decorated clothes, covered important items, and even served as money. While, on
their own, beads might all seem similar, their use—and their incredible details—can
reveal important information about the cultures that created them. Explore how
anthropologists and archeologists can trace strands of human history through these
tiny bits of stone, clay, and glass. And as you travel in time, you’ll discover some
astonishing works of art.
About the Museum
Dedicated to lifelong learning and anchored by our rich collections, the Fort Worth Museum
of Science and History engages our diverse community through creative, vibrant programs
and exhibits interpreting science and the stories of Texas and the Southwest.
History of the Museum
On May 21, 1941, a charter to establish a Fort Worth Children’s Museum was filed with the
State of Texas. The purposes of the new museum were listed as: “The maintenance of a place
where geological, biological, and zoological collections may be housed; to increase and
diffuse knowledge and appreciation of history, art, and science; to preserve objects of
historic, artistic, and scientific interests; and to offer popular instruction and
opportunities for aesthetic enjoyment.”
The museum’s history actually began in 1939 when the local council of Administrative
Women in Education began a study of children’s museums, with the idea of starting one in
Fort Worth. Two years later the charter was filed, but it would be almost four years before
the museum would find a physical home. With the help of the city’s school board, the museum
opened in early 1945 in two rooms in De Zavala Elementary School.
In 1947 the museum moved into the large R.E. Harding House at 1306 Summit, where it kept
growing in size and popularity. Three years later two significant entities appeared:
The Ladies Auxiliary of the Fort Worth Children’s Museum (now the Museum Guild), and
“The Frisky and Blossom Club,” the forerunner of Museum School®. Soon it became apparent
that a much larger facility was needed to serve the growing needs of the community. The
ground was broken for a new facility in 1952. On January 25, 1954, the museum opened the
building at 1501 Montgomery Street. The following year the Charlie Mary Noble Planetarium,
the first public planetarium in the region, opened.
In 1968 the name was changed to the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History so that
adults even without children could enjoy the Museum. It worked! Today more than half
the Museum’s visitors are adults. Much of that is due to the addition of the Omni Theater
in 1983. The Omni was the first IMAX® dome theater in the Southwest and soon became one
of the most successful in the world.
During its first 40 years, the Museum was a quiet place where one could dream of the past
or contemplate the future in relative solitude. Permanent exhibits included the History of
Medicine, Your Body, IBM Calculators and Computers, Rocks and Fossils, Texas History, and
Man and His Possessions. In collaboration with other museums and science centers, the
Museum has offered large, world-class traveling exhibits that open visitors to new worlds
In May 2006, the Museum unveiled plans for its new building: an innovative work of
architecture that blends with neighboring institutions and features a sweeping plaza
and campus-like environment at the south end of the Cultural District. Construction was
completed in the fall of 2009 and the Museum now faces the Will Rogers Memorial Center
to the east and opens onto a broad plaza that connects the museum more closely to its
neighbors, both the Will Rogers Center and, in particular, the National Cowgirl Museum
and Hall of Fame.
The new facility, designed by famed architects Legoretta + Legoretta of Mexico City, is
166,000 sq. ft. of engaging gallery space. The Museum holds DinoLabs and DinoDig,
Innovation Studios, the Children’s Museum, Energy Blast, and the CattleRaiser’s Museum.
The Havener Gallery provides a space for changing exhibits and attendance has grown to
over 500,000 guests annually since construction.
Although its name, location, size, and scope have changed dramatically since 1941, the
Museum still serves a similar purpose: to provide an extraordinary learning environment
to the community.