History of the Museum

Junior Museum of Natural 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.

Increase in Collections

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.

New Location

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.

Brazos Valley Museum of Natural History

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.