Street Address
1 Nature Place
McKinney, TX 75069
Mailing Address
1 Nature Place
McKinney, TX 75069
phone: 972-562-5566
fax: 972-548-9119
Monday - Saturday 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Sunday 1:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.

$8 Adults
$5 Children 3-12 and Seniors
Museum members are free
Sy Shahid, Executive Director
Amber Caceres, Marketing & Communications Director
phone: 972-562-5566
Marissa Rohac Atamas, Curator
Roger Sanderson, Wildlife Biologist & Director of Botanical Gardens
Sherry Kennedy, Executive Assistant
Stephanie Jennings, Marketing Assistant


Bringing Nature & People Together


Miss Bessie Heard was born on May 26, 1886 in McKinney, Texas, the eldest of five daughters of John Spencer Heard and Rachel Heard, one of the early founding families of Collin County. After attending Mary Baldwin College in Virginia and the Parsons School of Interior Design in New York, she returned to McKinney to care for her ailing parents. During this time, she encouraged young people to care for wildlife and undertook the planting of trees to help beautify the city. She became very active in the civic affairs of McKinney, helping to establish and retain a library in McKinney, forming the first American Red Cross Capter of the town, and--her greatest contribution--establishing the Heard Natural Sceince Museum and Wildlife Sanctuary in 1964. Miss Bess died in 1988, just before her 102nd birthday.

Artifacts Collections

Zoology collections: Bird study specimens (380), mammal study specimens (304), reptile and amphibians (847), fish (567), insects (22,204), eggs (106), nests (58), mounted birds (73), mounted mammals (36), mounted fish (5), seashells (6,905). The vertabrate collections have a local emphasis. The sheashells are worldwide in scope.

Earth science: Paleontology (875), including 450 vertebrate and 250 invertebrate; 175 botany; mineralogy (1,250); archeology (1,200). The earth science collections are primarily representative of the North Texas area.

Botany: Plants specimens (769). This material is from the wildlife sanctuary and adjacent tall grass prairie.

Cultural: Nature prints (200), oriental art (150): Indian artifacts (250), quilts (30), nature decorative art (800). These collections were from the Bessie Heard collections and are part of the museum's mission.

Library: Reference/resource books plus periodicals, magazines and papers (2,500), slides (5,220). Main subject areas covered are natural history, geology, paleontology, environmental education, and museum reference.

Wildlife sanctuary: 289-acre riparian, wetlands, floodplain forest, native prairie wildlife habitat adjacent to museum; species of birds, mammals and reptiles and amphibians (240); speices of wildflowers (150); species of trees and shrubs (50).

Research Collections

Although education is the primary purpose of collections, they are available for research, particularly in reference to tall grass prairies bio-inventory.

Educational Programs

The heart of the Heard Museum is its extensive educational program. Pre-schoolers through adults find programs suited to their interests and abilities.
For children, the Heard provides an informal science experience based on current natural scientifc theories. In this way, children are introduced to science and allowed to develop an understanding and respect for the natural world around them. Every effort is made to present interdisciplinary programs which are readily adaptable to any cirriculum.
In-house educational programs include: pre-school natural science, trail interpretation, animal talks, earth science labs, life science labs, Aquaquest (JASON Project field study), Introduction to Bird Biology (JASON Project field study), custom enrichment programs, Scout Days and badge workshops, Women in Sceince (lecture series) and home school science. Project WILD, Project Aquatic WILD and custom teacher workshops are also available.
Outreach educational programs include: natural history, earth science and animals. Custom outreach programs have included: Insects of Texas, Prairie Restoration and Wildlife Gardening.


501(c)(3) Texas corporation coverned by a non-paid board of directors.


Access: General Public, Students, Scholars, Members

Appointment required: No


Bi-monthly e-newsletter, checklists for birds, wildflowers, butterflies; bird banding reports.


Wheelchair Accessible