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(PRNewsFoto/Texas Instruments Inc.)

DALLAS, May 10, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — Museum of Nature & Science officials, Texas Instruments Foundation and community leaders today unveiled plans, provided a sneak peek of exhibit prototypes and announced the naming of the new Texas Instruments Engineering and Innovation Hall, which will be part of the new Perot Museum of Nature & Science. A large crowd of over 150 celebrated the announcement held in an office building overlooking the Perot Museum construction site. To commemorate the gift, construction workers hung a giant red-and-white banner from the second floor of the Museum building’s east side to mark the hall location.

The Hall is being named in recognition of the $4.4 million gift as well as the decades-long volunteer and financial support provided by the TI Foundation and the corporation and its employees.

“Texas Instruments has been a longtime partner of the Museum of Nature & Science, donating thousands of volunteer hours and millions of dollars over past decades,” said Forrest Hoglund, chair of Perot Museum of Nature & Science expansion campaign. “It’s only appropriate that our new Texas Instruments Engineering and Innovation Hall be named in honor of this legendary Texas company whose discovery of the integrated circuit, among other things, has changed modern life as we know it today.”

The 5,500-square-foot gallery is being designed by the acclaimed Science Museum of Minnesota (SMM) and will feature a rich array of layered visitor experiences and interactive exhibits exploring the art and science of problem solving using engineering and technology. The Hall will also highlight the many exciting careers in engineering and showcase North Texas companies and universities that innovate and inspire.

The Texas Instruments Engineering and Innovation Hall will give visitors an opportunity to construct mock buildings, place the structures on an earthquake simulator that uses data from actual earthquakes, and see the impacts of their design. Visitors will be able to create their own digital music composition and test paper object designs in one of three different wind tunnels. Other highlights include building and testing their own bridge design, constructing electric circuits, and over a dozen more hands-on activities that explore engineering. At the center of this Hall, visitors will have an opportunity to design, build, program, and run robots through games or challenges created by Museum staff.

“We are excited about the fun and educational experiences that the Texas Instruments Engineering and Innovation Hall will bring to students,” said Sam Self, chairman of the Texas Instruments Foundation. “We envision this museum will become a tremendous resource for those who teach science, technology, engineering and math in our North Texas schools. Businesses in our city, state and nation need a well-educated technical workforce more than ever. The future depends on it.”

Throughout the event, museum leaders incorporated “light-bulb moments” to illustrate the power of innovation and to drive the message that learning about science is both fun and relevant. Students from Uplift Education’s Peak Preparatory facilitated guest interaction with five exhibition prototypes that represent actual interactive centers that SMM is creating for the new TI Hall. Also showing off impressive skills of innovation was The Robot Fighting Cancer Cell team, a group of 10-year-old winners of the Museum’s FIRST® LEGO® League competition (FLL) and their sophisticated robotics creation.

Because the Museum typically interjects “teachable moments” when possible, Museum Education Director Steve Hinkley recruited Museum lead educators Sarah Caughron, Jason Treadway and

Hannah Moots to explain the fundamentals of energy during an electrifying demonstration, using a plasma ball, a Van der Graaf generator, a wire blaster and other components, that provided a “hair-raising” time.

Before closing, Hinkley inspired guests to use innovation in their daily lives to create their own light bulb moments, and then instructed them to light and lift up a specially inscribed LED mini flashlight to symbolically commemorate the moment.

“Today was a celebration of innovation and giving,” said Nicole G. Small, CEO of the Museum of Nature & Science. “We thank the Texas Instruments Foundation and the Texas Instruments Corporation and its employees for their extraordinary support, now and in past years, to inspire and educate diverse audiences about math, science, technology and engineering, and to encourage young people to pursue careers in these areas.”

The $185-million Perot Museum of Nature & Science, designed by Pritzker Prize Laureate Thom Mayne and his firm Morphosis, is currently under construction on a 4.7-acre site located at 1155 Broom St. at the northwest corner of Woodall Rodgers and Field Street in Victory Park adjacent to downtown Dallas. The structure will be 170 feet tall, equivalent to approximately 14 stories high, and is expected to open in early 2013.

The facility’s interior will include five floors of public space featuring 10 permanent exhibition halls, including a children’s museum and outdoor playspace/courtyard; an expansive glass-enclosed lobby and adjacent outdoor terrace with a downtown view; state-of-the art exhibition hall designed to host world-class traveling exhibitions; an education wing equipped with six learning labs; a large-format, multi-media digital cinema with seating for 300; flexible-space auditorium; public cafe; retail store; visible exhibit workshops; and offices. Lastly, the building itself will be used as a “living” example of engineering, sustainability and technology at work.

To learn more about the Museum of Nature & Science and the expansion campaign, please go to natureandscience.org

About the Texas Instruments Engineering and Innovation Hall

The Texas Instruments Engineering and Innovation Hall will have six focus areas:
The structures area will introduce mathematical and physical concepts of strength, stability and economy while challenging visitors to design structures that serve specific purposes. The structures area will also cover primary content in materials science and civil engineering including bridges, beams, and trusses. 

The mechanisms area will introduce strategies for making things move, while challenging visitors to use math and physics principles to design moving systems. The mechanisms area will also demonstrate the basic mechanical elements used in mechanical engineering and technology, such as gears, pulleys, cams, and levers as well as the application of power and energy to them.

The controls area will demonstrate how mechanical devices, electricity and computers can control movement, light, and sound while challenging visitors to use mathematics and physical principles to do the same. Visitors will learn how to control sound, light, and motion.
From toys and assembly lines to Mars rovers, the robotics engineers area combine structures, mechanisms and controls to build self-actuating, programmed machines. In this component, visitors design, build and program a robot to race with others through a maze, follow a line, pick up and move objects.

In the engineering activity station, trained museum volunteers will help visitors conduct hands-on experiments with advanced engineering technologies such as laser-based optical communication and super-conducting magnetic levitation. Visitors will gather around an enclosed demonstration bench and watch activities in action on large video screens.
The local technology showcase areas will use graphics, objects and videos to present evocative examples of local innovators in structural, mechanical, electronic and software product design. They will feature brief bios of notable Texas engineers and companies showing the wide range of careers available in engineering. Initial companies include Texas Instruments, Hanson Robotics, Southern Methodist University Innovation Gym and the University of Texas at Dallas Center for Brain Health.

About Texas Instruments Foundation
The Texas Instruments Foundation, founded in 1964, is a non-profit organization providing philanthropic support for educational and charitable purposes primarily in the communities where Texas Instruments operates. While its primary focus is on providing knowledge, skills and programs to improve science, technology, engineering and math education, the Texas Instruments Foundation also invests in health and human services programs that meet the greatest community needs.

About the Museum of Nature & Science
The Museum of Nature & Science – the result of a unique merger in 2006 between the Dallas Museum of Natural History, The Science Place and the Dallas Children’s Museum – is an AAM-accredited non-profit educational organization located in Dallas’s Fair Park. In support of its mission to inspire minds through nature and science, the museum delivers exciting, engaging and innovative visitor experiences through its education, exhibition, and research and collections programming for children, students, teachers, families and life-long learners. The facility also includes the TI Founders IMAX® Theater and a cutting-edge digital planetarium. The Museum of Nature & Science is supported in part by funds from the City of Dallas Office of Cultural Affairs, the Texas Commission on the Arts and HP. The Museum of Nature & Science also is building a new $185-million museum on a 4.7-acre site in Victory Park to complement the Fair Park facilities.

Judith Rubin
Judith Rubin
Judith Rubin ([email protected]) is a leading journalist, content marketing specialist and connector in the international attractions industry. She reports on design and technical design, production and project management, industry trends and company culture. From 2005-2020 she ran communications and publications for the Themed Entertainment Association (TEA). In 2013, she was honored with the TEA Service Award. She was development director of IMERSA and publicist for the Large Format Cinema Association, and has contributed to the publications of PLASA, IAAPA and the International Planetarium Society. Judith joined World’s Fair magazine in 1987, which introduced her to the attractions industry. She joined InPark in 2010. Judith earned a BFA from Pratt Institute. She has lived in Detroit, New York, Oakland, and now Saint Louis, where she is active in the local arts community.

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