Upping their total contribution to the under-construction Perot Museum of Nature & Science to $25 million, Jan and Trevor Rees-Jones celebrated today in a high-rise room full of their closest philanthropic friends. Two exhibition halls -- one, for traveling exhibits and another for earth science -- will be named for the family, which today added $15 million to a 2009 gift of $10 mil. They'll officially be known as The Rees-Jones Foundation Dynamic Earth Hall and the Jan and Trevor Rees-Jones Exhibition Hall.
On the unfinished 24th floor of the new Saint Ann Court on Harwood, school children schmoozed with media and the monied elite before a half-hour presentation announcing the Rees-Jones Foundation's contribution. Young actors from the Dallas Children's Theatre -- dressed as scientists, mummies, pirates and more -- charmed the audience with punny humor and enthusiasm for the new building. Which, by the way, somebody's gotta pay for.
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Dressed as a geologist, Christina Stoner told the crowd, "I heard it cost, like, $50,000 to build!" And everyone laughed. Because that's the kind of cash you drop on your kid's 9th birthday. No, if you want a world-class museum, you need to raise $185 million.
Forest Hoglund, the museum's expansion campaign chair, continued the donation humor, noting that they now need just $30 million more to reach their end-of-the-year goal: "Some of you have a chance to close this out today. One $30-million check would do it."
As a nod, perhaps, to all the money in the room, Deputy Mayor Pro Tem Pauline Medrano spoke about the opportunity the Perot Museum will bring to Dallasites, especially schoolchildren, who may never have the opportunity to travel extensively: "It brings the wonders of the world to our city."
Jan and Trevor Rees-Jones themselves closed out the presentation with a standing ovation. Said Trevor, "One of the most gratifying aspects of making money is giving it away."