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Austin's First Science Museum

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Programs and Events

Ownership of TMM was transferred from the State of Texas to The University of Texas at Austin in 1959 due to an apparent lack of money in the State Treasury. This transfer allowed the Texas Memorial Museum to host many more educational and social events throughout the year. TMM has hosted functions in conjunction with The University of Texas at Austin and the city of Austin in the past and have many functions planned for the future.

A memorable event occurred at TMM during the early 1970s. Members of the American Indian Movement (AIM) protested a historic burial exhibit by gathering outside of the museum. As a result of these sit-ins at museums all over the United States, the North American Grave Protection Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) of 1990 required all federally funded museums to submit a summary and a detailed inventory of grave goods, associated objects, and religious objects of North American Indians. Tribes that the objects belonged to were then allowed to ask for the objects back if they’d like. TMM’s historic burial exhibit was eventually taken off display.

As you may guess, not all events at the museum are good ones. During replacement of a water main outside in October of 1995, a pipe in the fourth floor janitor's closet burst. Water filled the walls and began to leak through cracks to the bison display, gun hall (area where Great Hall Shop is now), and mineral hall on the first floor. Unfortunately, two-thirds of the famous Goodall H. Wooten Gun Collection was damaged, but all pieces were restored to pre-water damage conditions. The firearms had to be cleaned within 24 to 36 hours of being exposed to water, or rusting would begin. The restoration process involved disassembling each piece, saturating the parts in alcohol, drying the parts with compressed air, lubricating them with oil, and reassembling each gun. Everything else was carefully dried with fans and vacuumed to combat the threat of mold.