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  Sunday July 14. 2002   Message from the Board About the Region River Runs Through Us Expansion is Needed Project Developed Donations

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Expansion is Needed to Meet Growing Needs

Since the dedication of the current Museum facility in 1976, McAllen's population has doubled, and it is expected to double again in 15 years. Striving to keep pace, the Museum has adapted galleries and added many new innovative programs.

But now the Museum is at a crossroads. It's 25-year-old facility is at maximum capacity, and the Museum is faced with a growing demand for services.

The Museum's school tour program, for example, involved about 30,000 schoolchildren in 1997-98. An additional 10,000 students were served by outreach activities. To help meet the demand for the popular school tours, the Museum is now booking tours on Mondays when the Museum galleries are normally closed to the public. with present growth rates, however the Museum will soon have to turn away school groups.

The current facility can serve only 100 students per hour. To be cost effective, schools must often bring multiple classes, thus exceeding the Museum's capacity. Large groups must be divided. Lacking alternatives, some students waste valuable time on the parked school bus while their peers are touring the Museum.

The facility is also lacking in other ways that compromise the effectiveness of educational programs. There is no separate space for group orientation, no place to store coats and book bags, no performance area, and no space where school groups can eat "brown bag" lunches.

In addition, in order to share the Museum's extensive collection of artwork and artifacts and better care for them, more public gallery space and collection care, storage and exhibit fabrication facilities are required. The American Association of Museums' Re-accreditation Committee recently noted these conditions:

Only about 5% of the Museum's collection can be exhibited at any one time.
The current collection storage area is filled virtually beyond capacity.
Exhibits must be prepared presently in the galleries forcing the closure of public space for longer periods of time than would be necessary if the Museum had a dedicated exhibit preparation space.
The Museum must pay to store empty crates, outreach exhibits, and some exhibit furniture off-site.

A separate Exhibit Fabrication Shop is needed so fumes can be ventilated away from the collections and exhibit furniture.

To address these challenges, the International Museum of Art & Science must expand its facilities, programming and financial support.

International Museum of Art & Science
(956) 682-1564