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Austin's First Science Museum

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Design of a Decade

Texas Memorial Museum The Mustangs, a generous gift from Mr. and Mrs. Ralph Ogden, was dedicated on May 31, 1948. The Mustangs have become a landmark of TMM and The University of Texas at Austin campus since its installation. It was sculpted by A. Phimister Proctor, who at the time was considered the nation's master sculptor of horses.

The Regents of The University of Texas at Austin hired Paul Cret, a French architect, as the supervising architect of The University of Texas at Austin campus and the Texas Memorial Museum. The building as it stands today is only the first of the three planned units; original plans called for wings extending north and south. Cret later had his name removed from the project because the Regents would not commit to building the wings due to the lack of funds.

Constructed of Texas limestone, the museum is 75 feet high, 116 feet long, and 80 feet wide. The square shape of the building and the bronze front doors indicate that the museum was built in the popular 1930s Art Deco Style. Burgundy-colored paneling inside the great entrance hall, is of French rouge marble from the Pyrenees. Inside the 35 foot tall Great Hall are the seals of the six nations that have ruled Texas: Spain, France, Mexico, the Republic of Texas, the Confederate States of America, and the United States of America.

The building has undergone recent improvements. In 1998, a loading dock was converted into a public entrance ramp to the first floor and a fourth floor public restroom was added. These improvements were made so that the building would be more accessible to wheelchairs and strollers and also in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990. TMM was closed during August 1999 for office renovations and a rewiring of the building to ensure technological efficiency. More renovation is currently going on behind the scenes.