MUSEUM SCHOOL® MEMORIES

Astronomy with Ms. Noble was an exciting experience, especially during the summer months when she would meet us at a clearing overlooking Forest Park and, with flashlight in hand, use the beam to point to different planets and constellations. Her enthusiasm for this science was conveyed to each of us. Natural history was a great exploratory class. Packing us into cars one Saturday in 1956 we drove to the banks of the Paluxy River in Glen Rose, where we explored dinosaur tracks and found what the leader thought was the unmarked grave of an early settler. Photography was again a hands-on experience, which I must admit took me some time to master. Taking pictures of places around the museum with an old Kodak camera and developing both film and prints gave me a love for photography that has never diminished.
- Gary Staley of Fort Worth

image from Museum SchoolI was the only girl in a class of all boys but, I loved learning about all the animals. My favorite memory was sitting in a circle and holding a section of a very large snake! I also loved all the art projects we made. I loved the trip to the tepee and had fun learning about Indian customs.

I remember my class was all boys but it was great for me because I was such a tomboy. Also, because of that the subject tended to be centered around reptiles and exotic animals, which was absolutely amazing for me. I think everyone should attend Museum School. It was such a magical time in my childhood and very educational as well.

- Rachel McCauley of North Richland Hills

I remember impressing my grandfather by telling him that the grooves on a screw were an incline plane, not straight lines.
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Penny Phenix of Austin

Mostly I remember making pottery & clay animals etc. I do remember that my father had to wait in line all night long to register me! I know it was fun too!
- Lauren S. Puff of Fort Worth

Two (maybe three) retired teachers opened the museum in a vacant room in DeZevala School. The "museum" was moved to an old house on (I think) Summit where a giant turtle lived in the bathtub. One time a wild cat got loose at night and ate one of the parrots. I think our art teacher was named McKie Trotter. He was a wonderful teacher and a prominent member of the Fort Worth School of Artists. We rode the public bus to the museum and sometimes we took our younger sister, Jan Schiltz. Jan still talks about the fun of feeding the museum chickens.

image from Museum SchoolA Children's Museum was a relatively new idea and many people came to visit to learn how our museum functioned. My sister and I were identical twins and we often showed these visitors around the museum. The museum on Summit was very child-friendly and we did things like feeding the animals, filing in the office, and taking wonderful classes. When we were older, our Girl Scout leader, Virginia Hilliard, had our troop become Museum guides. The museum moved to its present location and my twin and I were asked to participate in the ground breaking ceremony but we weren't able to do so.

I wrote my senior essay on the history and activities of the museum. A few years later, I enrolled my own children in every available class. My son, Richard McHargue, had his picture taken with other four-year-old boys looking at an armadillo. The picture was published in the Star Telegram. The Lego exhibit was the favorite of my grandchildren and niece and nephew. I have taken my Special Ed classes to visit the museum and to the Omni. My twin and I were known as Lillian and Elsa Heilman. When I entered McLean, I started using my middle name. Thank you for having this celebration. It is wonderful to remember how extremely important the museum was to us and what a positive influence the museum has made in our lives and still makes in our lives.

- Laurie H. MacGregor of Fort Worth

My sister and I attended Museum School in the late '60s when we were just 4 years old. I can remember studying dinosaurs, geology and petting live animals. In fact, we attending high school and college with friends we met way back in Museum School. These are truly our longest-known friends!
- Lisa N. O'Steen of McKinney

I remember waiting with my mom for class to start and I noticed a cute little mouse behind the glass. All of a sudden, I realized there was a snake in there as well. I remember getting a little upset as I watched the snake move slowly toward the mouse. My mom quickly moved me away and distracted me. After class, I remember wanting to go and check on the mouse but my mom told me it had gone home.
- Lauren McCauley of North Richland Hills

I remember Mrs. Key. She was awesome. I think I had her for two years. I would see her from time to time at Carswell AFB as I grew up. Each time I saw here she would remember my name. Even when I was 18, she knew my name.
- Ardis Freeman of Fort Worth

Each time we came to Museum School, we would make Mom take us out through the main rotunda so we could look at the space man in the middle of the room (Alan Bean's original suit was on display there for years) I could never really bring myself to believe that it had actually traveled to the moon and back!
- Lorraine Dukes of Fort Worth

In the late 60's I would take various classes, on various subjects at different locations. In 1967 I took a class on basic black and white printing at the museum. I did not even own a quality camera -- I only had a Kodak Instamatic camera (which I still have). As I took images, people would comment on how good the images were. I paid $500.00 for a basic (used) darkroom and took images and processed them in our apartment, in the bathroom. In 1968 a lady I worked with ask me to photograph her daughter’s wedding. I then bought a wedding camera and did a few weddings until 1971 when I decided to open a studio in Arlington. I had never taken a portrait at that time, only had done weddings. I now have been doing photography for 38 years. I have won top wedding photographer in Texas 17 years in a row. I received my master and craftsman degrees from our national association. I have lectured and photographed assignments from Hawaii to the island of Cypress. (Photographed the Austin Ballet Troop in Cypress in 1995).

I am one of only 12 photographers in the country that are recognized by Eastman Kodak as a Mentor, and I lecture for the company all over the country. I have had a great career and I talk about my start at the museum at many of my lectures.

- Roy Madearis of Arlington

I remember a teacher from ceramics. His name was Mr. Couch (or was it sofa?). He was so nice. My mother still has all my pieces that were made in his class. I made several pieces of furniture, the bowls, etc. but it was the furniture that caught others’ attention. I went on to become an art teacher as well. My students made furniture as well! I am now teaching art history at a college. Wonderful members come from my Museum days! I would love to become a member. Please send necessary information. Thank you!
- Suzette Hofman of Pebble Beach, California

I distinctly remember going on field trips with Dinosaur Detectives to the Trinity River to look for ammonite, snail and urchin fossils. I still have many of them after 30 years. My boys and I still go to the same spot to collect the late Cretaceous fossils. I also recall handling snakes, turtles and frogs in classes about animals. I still have an ashtray I made for my father in 1978 in pottery class, but I broke the coffee mug I made for my mother.
- Steve Parsons, Jr. of North Richland Hills

I loved doing the science experiments and art projects and getting to play in the area downstairs for little kids after school. It was really cool when Central Market put in the grocery store!
- Michael Ryan of Coppell

I remember our Japanese meal. We all sat on the floor and ate on wooden "steps." My memories are very vivid, and it is hard to believe I have such memories from a place I only spent two hours once a week.
- Juliet Allanch of Fort Worth

Fun Fact

The OMNI sound system has 50 speakers, driven by 8 amplifiers that produce over 24,000 watts of sound through 6 channels and a giant sub-bass stack to give the audience that “you are there” feeling.

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