Street Address
3232 Briarcrest Drive
Bryan, TX 77802
Mailing Address
3232 Briarcrest Drive
Bryan, TX 77802
Hours
Sunday - Mondayclosed
Tuesday - Saturday10 AM - 5 PM
Other hours by appointment.
Admissions
Adults - $5
University students, seniors, children ages 4-17 - $4
Children 3 and under with paying adult - Free
Services
Gift Shop
Staff
Dr. Deborah F. Cowman, Executive Director
Maria Lazo, Associate Director
Elizabeth Manning, Curator of Collections

Description

Each year, the Museum reaches about 50,000 children and adults with stimulating science programs, exhibits, special events, and affiliated programs such as the Arts Council of the Brazos Valley, Center for the Study of the First Americans and the Texas Cooperative Wildlife Collections. Our programs are available thanks to the support of many individuals, businesses, and other institutions.

The Museum strives to stimulate understanding of the dynamic relationships between the people and their natural environment and to encourage responsible stewardship of all natural resources. The focus of the museum is science and natural and cultural history. In cooperation with the Arts Council of the Brazos Valley, we exhibit "nature art" and conduct programs on art and archaeology. Through activities at the Museum and through outreach to schools and other community organizations, the Museum teaches respect and appreciation for the region's natural and cultural history.

The Brazos Valley Museum hosts tours, lectures and classes for Adults and Children. Educational programs for children include Nature Camps (held every spring/winter break, and summer), Birthday Parties, and school field trips (or if your school is in the area, have us come visit you!). Discovery Kits are available to teachers, home schoolers, scouts and others for their own use. We provide information about the adjacent Carter’s Creek Nature Trail, picnic area, and restored wildlife habitats.

Mission

The Museum’s current mission is to preserve and protect natural and cultural history, to stimulate its understanding, and to encourage responsible stewardship of all natural and cultural resources. It accomplishes this through: 1) the preservation of artifacts and natural specimens; 2) the presentation of exhibits and educational programming; and 3) cooperative partnerships with arts and cultural organizations, community oriented entities, and academic institutions throughout the Brazos Valley.

History

The Junior Museum of Natural History was founded by the American Association of University Women in 1961 for the express purpose of providing object and activity-oriented natural science education to young people. All efforts were volunteer and extensively involved the Department of Biology at Texas A&M University. Dr. C. C. Doak, Chair of that department was one of the founders and a primary source of specimens.

From its beginnings, under the leadership of Dr. Doak, the Junior Museum of Natural History aggressively reached out into the Bryan schools. Its first home was, in fact, in the Brazos County Courthouse in Bryan.

In 1970, the collections increased several fold when the Texas A&M Museum Collections were orphaned. Important acquisitions included a collection of Pleistocene mammals, local archaeological material, and two historically important local botanical collections from 1883 and 1897.

In 1979, an opportunity arose to relocate at the Brazos Center, a multi-use facility owned and operated by Brazos County, and used by over 100,000 people per year. This location has provided increased exposure for the Museum.

With 40 acres of county-owned land adjacent to the Brazos Center, environmental programs and exhibits have also expanded to include the use of a creek, nature trail, and demonstration habitats.

In 1993, the name became the Brazos Valley Museum of Natural History to clarify the Museum's role in the community and to focus collections, exhibits, and programs on the local area. In 1991, a new 9,400 square foot Museum was built next to the Brazos Center on land donated by the County.

Today, the Brazos Valley Museum of Natural History is staffed by paid professionals, interns, and volunteers. Programs are provided to area schools and preschools on a contract and non-contract basis. There are spring, summer, and fall nature camps, with special programs on- and off-site for adults as well as children. Educational exhibits are changed regularly.

Artifacts Collections

Approximately 22,500 diversified natural history specimens, mostly from Texas. The great majority of these were collected within the Brazos River Watershed. About 40% of the holdings were rescued by the museum in 1970, when the Texas A&M Museum was abandoned.

Archaeology: The Albert Dalton Doerge Collection of local Native American lithic, shell, bone, and pottery objects, a Texas State Archeological Landmark. Collected within a 35-mile radius of the twin cities between 1902-1952, these 4,700 artifacts date from recent times back to the origins of human habitation of the area c. 9500 BC. The State Historical Commission designation made the Doerge Collection the fifth archaeological collection to receive extensive legal protection at a state level.

Botany: The W. H. Fleming Botanical Collections of 1887 and the collections of an unknown person from 1897. These are locally important floristic documents. During the next five years, the museum hopes to aggressively expand the herbarium, both for educational and exhibit purposes.

Conchology: The G. E. Potter Shell Collection. A very extensive, meticulously documented collection of approximately 1800 Texas Gulf Coast shells. Still being catalogued and curated.

Geology: The Mary Julia Hubert Gem and Mineral Collection, 1240 specimens from around the world. The Robert Bossler Mineral Collection. Approximately 830 local specimens retained; 600 others deaccessioned to the Texas A&M University Department of Geology.

Mammalogy: About 250 specimens, whole mounts, study skins, and osteological material. Access to the extensive Texas Cooperative Wildlife Collections (A&M) through a cooperative agreement.

Ornithology: The Marion C. Pugh Bird Collection. About 1100 specimens, whole mounts, study skins, skeletons, and eggs collected in Texas 1876 - 1940.

Paleontology: About 420 vertebrate Pleistocene specimens (elephants, bison, horses) and Cr

Research Collections

Archival collections consist of 30 years of background history and information on the BVMNH. Not considered appropriate for research.

Educational Programs

Contracts with private, public, and pre-schools; spring, summer, and fall camps; thematic programs; Saturday programs; educational birthday parties. Curator of Education will decide if educational materials are appropriate for use in other institutions. The museum has Discovery Kits available at $20 per week.

    Publications

    Quarterly newsletter, annual report, annual program resource guide for teachers

      Services

      Gift Shop