Nonprofit hopes to rediscover beloved Science Place exhibits


Fans of the old Fair Park museum are working to rediscover its treasures.

DALLAS — There is no shortage of great museums to visit in DFW but a nonprofit wants to revisit one from the past.

During the early months of the COVID pandemic, Aven Stewart and a group of friends began reminiscing about the old Science Place Museum at Fair Park, the site of many field trips for North Texas school children.

“We were sitting around talking about The Science Place and going through old memories and realized it was difficult to find memories that the Science Place even existed,” Stewart said.

The museum started as the Dallas Health Museum way back in 1946 and changed identity a couple of times before becoming The Science Place in 1986, a name and legacy that lasted until 2007 when it merged with the Dallas Children’s Museum and Dallas Museum of Natural History, a combination that eventually became the Perot Museum in 2012.

For Stewart and friends, The Science Place was a source of inspiration in their youth and now again as adults.

“The Science Place Foundation started as a project between four friends and three of us are engineers because we grew up at The Science Place,” Stewart said.

The foundation’s mission is to track down, preserve and document the history of the beloved museum by finding as many of its old exhibits and attractions as they can.

Doing so requires a fair share of sleuth work.

“It is like discovering a lost artifact,” Stewart said. “There is a treasure hunt aspect to it and when you get closer and closer, you can feel it.”

Bailey Turfitt is one of the friends on the hunt.

“It is a lot of Google searches, searching the Portal to Texas History, looking up newspaper articles,” Turfitt said. “When you find something, it is an incredible feeling.”

They have found old exhibits at antique stores, in the possession of former Science Place employees and other various hiding spots. While they continue the mission to collect as many pieces as they can, the ultimate goal is to once again have them on display somewhere at Fair Park and bring everything full circle for generations past and future.

“We would love to have a reunion with the employee and all the kids who are now adults who want to say think you,” Turfitt said.

The Science Place Foundation is also planning a documentary on the museum’s history and their quest to rediscover it. They have a GoFundMe where other Science Place fans can support their mission.