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Summer drought outside and a cool harvest of art and science, discovery and delight within the Museum. From mirrors to mazes, from the exuberance of Picasso to a fine exhibit of art works from Austin, MIM is a wonderful summer destination for all ages.

Our staff are constantly looking at ways to reach more people, more families, new audiences. We are having more cultural programs, including more Sunday Fundays for families. More changes are in the planning stages, including the addition of Thursday evening hours and a concert series on the lawn. We encourage you to give us your ideas of how the Museum can become more relevant to our growing public.

There is no better example of the museum's effort to remain relevant to those it serves than its new interdisciplinary outreach program, The River Runs Through Us. The result of several intensive years of planning, The River Runs Through Us is a multifaceted, bilingual, binational project. It involves a series of mobile exhibits and a River Lab, augmented by teacher training and exhibits at the museum. This important collaborative science project focuses on the region's unique geographical feature and scarce natural resource: the Rio Grande/Rio Bravo. Extending the museum's educational outreach into Mexico for the first time, the urgent message of water conservation and environmental science will be carried to communities and schools on both sides of the river.

The project is being organized in collaboration with more than a dozen regional organizations and institutions from the U.S. and Mexico. Among several hundred applicants, the McAllen International Museum was selected last year as one of fewer than 50 museums nationwide to receive a grant from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute for this innovative program. Award of the grant is a major achievement for the McAllen International Museum and the region, and it demonstrates how MIM's excellence is gaining us national recognition.

We plan to meet the future with even more innovation and growth. We are now dreaming "with our eyes open" of an expanded museum complex. This will include a brand new Children's Discovery Museum, a great covered patio, an interactive science playground, and a new Hispanic Gallery in our renovated. In the middle of the new complex will be a beautiful, tree-filled plaza where people can sit, think, talk, and learn. A safe, stimulating environment where all of us, young and old, can learn for our lives.

Recent research demonstrates how museums can influence science careers. A survey of people with science careers reports that for 85% of the respondents said that a visit to a science museum was their most memorable childhood educational experience. Clearly, schools can teach facts, which can be forgotten. A good museum can generate curiosity, which lasts forever.

The Board of Trustees is committed to expanding the museum to meet the needs of our growing region. They would like to know what you think. Would you like to see a Children's Museum and new Hispanic Wing on the current grounds? What else do you think the museum might offer to the community? Take a few moments to email me with your ideas, reactions and suggestions.

John Mueller Director


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