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Perot Museum Needs $50 Million. Spare Some Change? Come On. Do It for the Children.

Hold up on that Gilt Groupe purchase you were about to make and take a moment to think of the children -- specifically, the five children of Ross Perot, who've given $10 million each to the future Perot Museum of Nature and Science expansion, presently under construction at Victory Park. These children, they cannot build the $185 million museum by themselves -- and, after all, since the museum is largely for children, the wee ones -- and maybe it's time you "pony up," as museum fundraiser Forrest Hoglund said today.

Because there's $50 million left to go to pay for the 14-story Thom Mayne cube and surrounding Texas-inspired landscape. (Becky Mayad, the museum's PR maven, assured me that the landscape architect, Dallas-based Talley Associates, actually gets what Texas is like in August and is designing accordingly.)

It was media day at the Perot -- one of many held over the past couple of years by the savvy bunch of science enthusiasts -- and us journalist types were given an opportunity to check out mock-ups of the museum's interior and exterior, along with a fancy short film on the other side intended to, ya know, inspire the imagination.

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Director of Strategic Initiatives Jennifer Houston called the museum a place where "the olog-ies are gone," replaced by exhibit halls called "Everybody Plays" (sports-themed anatomy and physics exhibits) and "Being Alive, Being Human" (DNA, etc.) and the "Tom Hunt Energy Hall," named for the petroleum magnate, a classic children's favorite right behind Elmo and Bagel Bites.

The building's going for a LEED certification, featuring rooftop rainwater collection that will be used for everything but the drinking water and will have five floors of public space and a temporary exhibition hall that designers say will put Dallas in competition with Houston and Chicago for big-name exhibits--think Dead Sea Scrolls, Lucy the australopithecus. We mentioned that it's a giant cube, right? (Maynard told me, "People will either love it or hate it.") Drive on down Field Street, south toward Woodall Rogers, and you'll see the beginnings of the building's basement footprints. And if you want a closer look, head over to the community open house on August 28 from 1-3 p.m. to get a look at the schematics.

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