Recounted through the eyes of a major participant, Building an Ark for Texas tells the story of the Dallas Museum of Natural History from its beginning in 1922 as a collection of specimens celebrating the plants and animals of Texas to its metamorphosis in 2012 as the gleaming Perot Museum of Nature and Science. The life of this museum was indelibly influenced by a colourful staff of scientists, administrators, and teachers, including a German taxidermist, a South American explorer, and a Milwaukee artist, each with a compelling personal investment in this museum and its mission.
From the days when meticulously and skillfully prepared dioramas were the hallmark of natural history museums to the era of blockbuster exhibits and interactive education, Walt Davis traces the changing expectations of and demands on museums, both public and private, through an engaging, personal look back at the creation and development of one exceptional institution, whose building and original exhibits are now protected as historical landmarks at Fair Park in Dallas.
Walt Davis is former director of the Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum in Canyon, Texas; former curator of vertebrate collections at the Dallas Museum of Natural History; and coauthor of the book Exploring the Edges of Texas. He lives in Campbell, Texas, USA.