Mirages, Mind Tricks, ‘Intrigue’ And Sticky Fingers Marked The Perot’s Annual Night At the Museum Fundraiser

Tania Boughton, the Texas legislative chair for Childhood Obesity Prevention, said someone advised her to attend “Intrigue,” the Perot Museum’s Night at the Museum fundraiser on Saturday, November 11, because she would see some “very important people” there. She’s glad she did, Tania said, because in no time at all she was meeting and chatting with guests like Diane and Hal Brierley.

Tania Boughton and Hal and Diane Brierley

Like Karen Katz and others, Hal was suffering from a case of “sticky fingers” at the annual gala for the Perot Museum of Nature and Science. No, he wasn’t spotted lifting rocks from the Lyda Hill gem room. Instead, he’d just come from the VIP party, where guests including Margot and Ross Perot, Lyda herself, Thomas Surgent, Gail and Jim Spann, Nina and Trevor Tollett, Linda and Ken Wimberly and Sally and Forrest Hoglund were offered “printed photo cocktails” (it was the cocktails that gave rise to the sticky fingers) from the SipMi’ company.

Sally and Forrest Hoglund

To make these special drinks, photographers “shot” the guest, then sent his or her image electronically to the SipMi’ team, which printed out the image on SipMi’s trademark foam, which was then placed on top of the guest’s cocktail. The image stayed perfectly intact, even while the drink was being sipped.

As many as 1,000 partygoers showed up for Intrigue, which showcased “an evening of illusion, magic and mystery,” as per the amazing SipMi’ drinks.

Mirrored performers

The fun had begun outside on the plaza, where guests like Lynn McBee (hubby Allan was indisposed that night), Katherine and Eric Reeves, Russell Holloway, Lee Jamison, and Amy and Michael Meadows entered the museum through a human maze amid music, lights, and models dressed in mirror-covered body suits.

Once inside, they could sample the likes of “Confidentiality” (you had to see the Poirot Crime Lab to believe it) on Level 2, “Natural Curiosities” such as Chemical Caviar and Baffling Botany on Level 3, and the Art of Deception (think 3D holograms and optical illusions) on Level 4.

As they navigated the various floors, the guests enjoyed such fare as a “squid ink” pasta station, mirror-glazed cake bites, “cassoulet” on grilled focaccia with duck confit, and a gravity-separated centrifuge station featuring carbonated mission fig “beer” with lime.

Heather Sauber and Julie Burns

Spotted enjoying the unique fare were Heather Sauber and Julie Burns, who were excitedly checking everything out—for good reason. In April, they’ll be co-producing a gala for Trammell S. Crow‘s Earthx Expo at the Perot, complete with a “green carpet.”

To wrap up The Night at the Museum fundraiser, the Taylor Pace Orchestra played for the after-party, where women traded in their stilettos for more comfortable flats at a shoe check-in.

Hernan J.F. Saenz III and Linda Abraham-Silver

Chairs for Intrigue were Sylvia E. Cespedes, Hernan J.F. Saenz III, and Meredith and Mark Plunkett, while Sharon and Kip Tindell were the honorary co-chairs.

Pausing for a moment between greeting guests at the VIP pre- festivities in the Moody Family Children’s Museum, Saenz—who’s also the museum’s board chair—and Dr. Linda Abraham-Silver, the Perot’s CEO, described their new effort to “redefine what a museum means in the 21st century.” Among their tentative plans for the Perot: more investment in gems and minerals, a new lecture series, and a more aggressive outreach to children in south and east Dallas. All very intriguing, just like the party.  

MySweetWishList: Perot Museum Of Nature And Science

Julie Diaz*

According to Perot Museum of Nature and Science Chief Advancement Officer Julie Diaz,

“The Perot Museum celebrates its 5th birthday this December!

“We are grateful for the support of the North Texas community, which has allowed us to serve 5.5 million people since our opening in 2012 and enabled us to fulfill our mission of ‘inspiring minds through nature and science.’

“Our wish this holiday season is to give the gift of discovery to North Texas families who might not otherwise have the means to visit. A contribution in support of the Perot Museum’s Financial Aid Program – which gives over 100,000 school children from all over North Texas the opportunity to experience the Museum’s amaze-your-brain fun and learning – would be meaningful!

Perot Museum of Nature and Science*

“Your gift to this program is a great way to help us spark curiosity in the next generation of scientists, engineers and innovators. Our goal is to distribute $500,000 in financial aid this year – you can help make that possible! Check it out here. For more info, call 214.756.5808.

-By Julie Diaz, Perot Museum of Nature and Science Chief Advancement Officer

* Photo provided by Perot Museum of Nature and Science

MySweetCharity Opportunity: Night At The Museum

According to Night At The Museum Co-Chairs Sylvia Cespedes and Meredith Plunkett,

Hernan Saenz and Sylvia Cespedes*

Mark and Meredith Plunkett*

Mirages and mystery games, deception and disguises, camouflage formations, natural curiosities and secret societies. Much like the Perot Museum itself, this must-do event is one of the most interactive and engaging parties of the year. On Saturday, November 11, guests will spend the evening exploring 180,000 square feet of exciting encryptions, deceptive displays, and forensics fun, including:

  • Lie-detector tests
  • Wine tastings
  • Blind food tastings
  • Human mazes
  • Mirrored illusions
  • Game of mystery
  • Baffling botany
  • Handwriting analysis

The event also promises to astound your taste buds with menu marvels such as 3D food printing, quirky cocktails and a mystery food lab, to name a few. On every floor and at every turn, this year’s “Night at the Museum: Intrigue” is sure to have guests questioning reality and asking, “How did they do that?!”

We are thrilled to join our husbands, Hernan Saenz and Mark Plunkett, as co-chairs of this year’s event, along with Honorary Co-Chairs Sharon and Kip Tindell. If you like to party for a good cause, please mark your calendars and sign-up to attend this year’s gala, which runs from 7 p.m. – midnight on all five levels of the Museum. Underwriting packages begin at $2,500 (six guests). Cocktail attire – or your favorite mysterious garb – is preferred.

Proceeds from the annual Night at the Museum gala support the Museum’s mission to inspire minds through nature and science, from on-site and outreach programs for pre-K through 12th graders, to financial assistance that allows students to visit the Museum, regardless of their school’s ability to pay. Underwriting contributions also fund research and collections efforts and help secure top-quality traveling exhibitions.
We hope you will join us for this fabulous event that will help so many North Texas youth get critical exposure to the sciences. For more information, please email [email protected] or call 214.756.5815.

* Photo provided by Perot Museum

MySweetCharity Summer Pitch: Perot Museum Of Nature And Science

According to Perot Museum of Nature and Science Senior Communications/PR Manager Krista Villarreal Moore,

There’s a lot of big boredom busters in store this summer at the Perot Museum of Nature and Science! From the largest and most comprehensive Maya exhibition to tour the U.S., to the inspiring Dream Big 3D film, the Perot Museum has cool and fresh adventures plus discounts, extended hours, Discovery Camps, adults-only Social Science, sleepovers and more.

To provide greater access for active duty members and veterans of the United States military, law enforcement officers, firefighters and paramedics/EMTs, they can enjoy free general admission and discounted admission for family members through Labor Day.

Here are a few of the big happenings:


  • Maya: Hidden Worlds Revealed” (through Monday, Sept. 4) — History, mystery and culture collide in the largest traveling exhibition about the Maya ever to tour the U.S. Presented by Highland Capital Management, the exhibition brings together nearly 250 authentic artifacts and immersive environments to explore the astonishing accomplishments of one of the most powerful indigenous Mesoamerican civilizations, that still has millions of living descendants today. Through hands-on activity stations, guests of all ages can decipher hieroglyphs, learn cultural and architectural techniques, and explore an underworld cave, ancient burial site, mural room and more. The bilingual exhibition, presented in English and Spanish, requires a surcharge for members and non-members. Members always enjoy free general admission and get up to half-off on tickets to “Maya: Hidden Worlds Revealed. To expand accessibility for families, the Perot Museum’s Community Partners Ticket Offer   provides $1 general admission and $1 admission to “Maya: Hidden Worlds Revealed” for individuals and families enrolled in qualified state and federally supported assistance programs. The offer is valid for up to seven immediate family members through Labor Day (Monday, Sept. 4).
  • Programs — There’s always something new to do at the Perot Museum! From a new Architecture Tour, and adults-only Social Science events, to family-fun Discovery Days on the second Saturday of the month, Discovery Camps, sleepovers and more, the Museum has non-stop summer fun sure to create smiles and brighten brains.
  • Big Summer Discounts — This summer, the Perot Museum is pleased to offer complimentary general admission for active duty members and veterans of the United States military, law enforcement officers, firefighters and paramedics/EMTs and $3 off general admission for members of their immediate families (up to six family members) through Labor Day (Sept. 4, 2017).
  • 3D Films — Donning 3D glasses, guests can sit back and experience colossally cool films featuring young inspiring engineers, dinosaurs and today’s enchanted animal kingdom in The Hoglund Foundation Theater, a National Geographic Experience. The line-up includes
    • “Dream Big 3D,” an inspiring feel-good film narrated by Jeff Bridges that celebrates the human ingenuity and heart behind engineering marvels big and small;
    • “Walking With Dinosaurs 3D,” narrated by Benedict Cumberbatch, which lets audiences see and feel what it was like when dinosaurs ruled the Earth; and
    • “Wild Africa 3D,” which takes viewers on a ride across, over and through the magical realms of Earth’s most dramatic continent. To view trailers and film schedules, go to org. Films are presented locally by Primrose Schools.

And the Perot Museum offers free general admission year-round to educators in Texas and its bordering states. Find details about all admission discounts at perotmuseum.org/discounts.

Through Monday, Sept. 4, the Perot Museum is open 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Saturday with new expanded Sunday hours from 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Members enjoy exclusive access to the Perot Museum and “Maya: Hidden Worlds Revealed” from 9-10 a.m. every Saturday and 10-11 a.m. every Sunday. The Museum will be closed for routine annual maintenance Sept. 5-7. Regular hours from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. will resume Friday, Sept. 8.

The Perot Museum is located at 2201 N. Field Street in Dallas, Texas. Museum general admission is $20 for adults (18-64), $13 for youth (2-17), $14 for seniors (65+) and free for children under 2. “Maya: Hidden Worlds Revealed” requires a surcharge for a total admission cost of $30 for adults (18-64), $21 for youth (2-17), $22 for seniors (65+), and free for children under 2. Admission to the theater is $6 for a short film (20 minutes) and $8 for a long film (40 minutes). Films and general admission for children under 2 are free. While reservations are not required, if guests purchase tickets online at perotmuseum.org they can enjoy a $2 discount on general admission per person (for a limited time). Plus, by purchasing online, guests can bypass ticket lines.

For more information, please visit perotmuseum.org or call 214.428.5555.

* Photo courtesy of the Science Museum of Minnesota

JUST IN: Dr. Linda Abraham-Silver Named New Chief Executive Officer For Perot Museum

Perot dinosaurs (File photo)

Nearly a year after its previous permanent CEO resigned, the Perot Museum of Nature and Science in Dallas has named a new chief executive officer. According to a letter sent to museum donors by Perot Board Chair Hernan J.F. Saenz III, “Dr. Linda Abraham-Silver will be joining the Perot Museum as our next Eugene McDermott Chief Executive Officer, effective July 1.”

According to the letter, Abraham-Silver will arrive at the museum this summer “from the Government of Abu Dhabi, where she has led science and technology promotion initiatives for the Technology Development Committee as associate director since 2011.” Earlier, Saenz went on, she spent eight years as president and CEO of the Great Lakes Science Center in Cleveland, Ohio.

The board chair said the new CEO is “perfectly aligned” with the Perot’s strategic initiatives.

“Dr. Silver’s background is impressive in its own right, but it is particularly relevant at this stage in the Museum’s evolution,” Saenz told the donors. “We are all engaged in the challenging … effort to translate the Perot Museum’s initial momentum into an engine of sustainable innovation and community impact. This requires fresh, innovate programming and exhibits, renewed and deepened community engagement across North Texas, and enhancements to the overall guest experience.”

The Perot had been led by Interim CEO Dan Kohl, since the abrupt resignation last year of chief executive Colleen Walker after less than two years on the job. According to news accounts, Walker and the museum’s board had “differences.”

Night At The Museum Gala Guests Had A Night To “Elevate” At The Perot Museum

Despite a tad bit of anxiety by some about the possibility of another election protest in downtown Dallas on Saturday, November 12, the Night at the Museum fundraiser for the Perot Museum didn’t dissuade guests from attending the “Elevate”-theme soiree. Here’s a report from the field:

Mariah Wilcox and Hunter and Wendy Covitz*

Glitzily dressed guests descended on the Perot Museum of Nature and Science for its annual Night at the Museum gala on Saturday, November 12. This year’s soiree, themed “Elevate,” took party-goers on an all-night flight through the world of aerospace to discover how nature has influenced modern-day aviation, the future of flight, artistic interpretations of elevation and more. From live bird shows, aerialists, virtual reality and drones to fancy floating foods, feather tattoos and hair extensions, Night at the Museum had guests playing and partying the night away.

Francie Moody-Dahlberg and Kevin Dahlberg*

Carolyn Rathjen, Ross Perot and Nancy Perot*

Prior to the main party, top supporters began trickling in and were welcomed by “old-school stewardesses” to the VIP reception, presented by Highland Capital Management. Before long, the retro-style airport lounge, which was sponsored by American Airlines, was bustling with special guests including Margot and Ross Perot, Honorary Co-Chairs Carolyn Perot Rathjen and Karl Rathjen, Nancy Perot and Rod Jones, Suzanne and Patrick McGee, Katherine and Eric Reeves, Tori and Russ Mulford, Co-Chairs Francie Moody-Dahlberg and Kevin Dahlberg and Co-Chair Thomas Surgent. (Co-Chair Carmen Surgent was ill and missed out on the fun!)

Adam Nelson, Emily Sharp, Thomas Surgent and Katie and Grant Irving*

Other dignitaries included Interim Perot Museum CEO Dan Kohl and Maria Garcia, Lyda Hill, Katherine and Michael Phillips, Rusty and John Jaggers, Perot Museum Board Chair Hernan Saenz and Sylvia Cespedes, Jody and Sheila Grant, Jim and Gail Spann, Forrest and Sally Hoglund, Kelly Compton, Nicole and Justin Small and others. With a backdrop of black-and-white vintage moments in aviation history and the crooning of Frank Sinatra’s “Come Fly With Me,” highlights included a Wolfgang Puck chocolate bar, a green-screen photo booth, and a “pearls and bubbles” caviar and champagne station.

Dan Kohl and Hernan Saenz*

Justin and Nicole Small*

As the evening got underway, guests enjoyed live bird shows with Window to the Wild, flight simulators, drone races, trebuchet demos, an oxygen blast bar, the Birds of Paradise exhibition, and interacting with the Museum’s virtual Beam robot, to name a few. Lots of smiles were made at the popular hot air balloon green screen, the hair-raising Van de Graff generator and the amethyst heart geode, which made its sparkly debut in the Lyda Hill Gems and Minerals Hall. 

Guests flocked to the dragon’s breath liquid nitrogen station, featuring dream-sicle meringue, lemon meringue and Cracker Jack pops on sticks, which were dipped in liquid nitrogen. Lots of cell phone videos were recording as guests tasted the instantly frozen treats and then blew out a liquid nitrogen puff.  Other food and drink favorites included levitating macaroons, a donut wall and the Fancy Francie cocktail.

The after-party, sponsored by Central Market, got underway as Manhattan rocked the house. Ladies traded in their heels for ballet flats, as pilot hats and aviator sunglasses were passed out. Late-night snacks included “walking tacos,” pimiento mac n’ cheese, Cuban sandwiches, churros, pizza and “spiked” grasshopper milk shakes.

Jerry and Emy Lou Baldridge and Sally and Forrest Hoglund*

A few of Dallas’ local luminaries were spotted including D’Andra Simmons, Jane McGarry, A.C. Gonzales, Emy Lou and Jerry Baldridge, Peggy and Richard Allison, Betsy and Richard Eiseman, Eugenia and Frank-Paul King, Mary Suhm, Mary Jalonick, Monica Egert-Smith, Barbara and Don Daseke, Betsey Urschel, Mollie Crow, Anne Davidson, Suzanne and Walt Humann and Brent Christopher.

* Photo credit: Jason Janik

Outstanding Non-Profits Have Posted “Help Wanted” Signs

The Dallas non-profits are looking for a few good folks to head up their organizations. In recent weeks the following nonnies have put out the “Help Wanted” signs for leadership of their organizations:

  • Baylor Scott And White Health
  • Dallas Historical Society
  • Dallas Museum of Art
  • Dallas Summer Musicals
  • Family Gateway
  • LaunchAbility
  • Perot Museum of Nature and Science

While many are preparing for the summer sojourn, search committees are in overdrive to have new leaders in place, hopefully by the fall fundraising season.

The good thing is that these organization will not make their decisions based on a “OMG, we’ve gotta fill this position ASAP.” Rather they put the priority on finding the right person for the right position even if the clock is ticking.

Can’t wait to report about the new leaders-on-the-block!

JUST IN: Issue Of ‘Different Views’ Leads To CEO Colleen Walker’s Resignation At Perot Museum Of Nature And Science

Less than two years after being appointed CEO, Colleen Walker is stepping down as the Eugene McDermott Chief Executive Officer at Dallas’ Perot Museum of Nature and Science. The surprising development was disclosed in a March 30 letter to museum “friends and supporters” from John Jaggers, chairman of the Perot’s board of directors.

Colleen Walker (FIle photo)

Colleen Walker (FIle photo)

“I am writing to inform you that Colleen Walker—in consultation with the Executive Committee—has decided to step down from her position …” Jaggers wrote. “She has agreed to remain in her current role, however, until June 30th to help ensure a smooth and seamless transition.

“It is important to emphasize that this is not an outcome either Colleen or the Board had anticipated, but over time it has become increasingly evident Colleen and the Executive Committee held different views concerning the Museum’s strategic direction and focus,” Jaggers went on. “We agreed, accordingly, that a measured transition to new leadership is warranted.”

A former Miss Colorado who holds an MBA from Harvard University, Walker in June of 2014 succeeded Nicole Small, the Perot’s founding CEO, who retired in late 2013 after 13 years. Walker came to the nonprofit museum after serving for seven years as CEO of the Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas.

In his letter, Jaggers said the museum’s board is appointing a search committee to help select Walker’s successor.  The committee will be led by Herman Saenz, the board’s incoming chair.

JUST IN: Night At The Museum 2015 Plans Announced Plus Summer Doings

Perot Museum resident

Perot Museum resident

Must be Monday because the news keeps rocking on in.

The Perot Museum dinosaurs may be holding still, but the staff isn’t. They’ve just reported plans for the annual Night at the Museum 2015 . This year’s fundraiser will take place on Saturday, November 14 from 7 p.m. to midnight. The theme will be “Illuminate.”

Illuminate? How’s that? It’s in connection with the museum’s fall traveling exhibition that will “be formally announced in coming months.” So, act surprised when the announcement is made.

Heading up the evening of “dinner, dancing and sparkly feats” will be Co-Chairs Carrie and Steven Becker and Merry and Chad Vose. Honorary Co-Chairs will be Deedie and Rusty Rose.

Tickets are already available!

And while we’re on the subject of the Perot, this upcoming Memorial Weekend is going to “kick off the Museum’s special summer offering  complimentary general admission for veterans, active and retired. U.S. military personnel and first responders, plus $3 off general admission for members of their immediate families (up to six family members).”  There are other summer specials at the Museum, so you’ll need to check it out.

MySweetCharity Photo Gallery Alert: Night At The Museum



Where else would one find dinosaurs and robot bartenders schmoozing with philanthropists? The Perot Museum of Nature and Science, of course. So, that was the scene for Night at the Museum, in celebration of the Perot’s second anniversary.

Cassis sorbet with liquid nitrogen berries and goat cheese

Cassis sorbet with liquid nitrogen berries and goat cheese

In addition to a Model S Tesla with flutes of champagne where the motor should be, Wolfgang Puck’s food stations abounded on all the floors.

As the post is being prepped, check out the MySweetCharity Photo Gallery for a gander of the scene.

Perot Museum Goes The Extra Hours For Memorial Day Weekend

T. Boone Pickens Life Then and Now Hall

T. Boone Pickens Life Then and Now Hall (File photo)

First they were ahead of schedule. Then they announced that all was paid for when they opened the doors.

Now, facing their first Memorial Day, the Perot Museum of Nature and Science is extending its hours until 9 p.m for this summer first holiday.

While they suggest getting advanced tickets, get the hint and the tickets now.

And, yes, the dinosaurs will be picture perfect even during the extra hours.

Perot Museum Of Nature And Science Proves To Be Wonder-full For Exploring And Partying

Perot Museum of Nature and Science all lit up

Before the Perot Museum of Nature and Science opens on December 1, it had been through more parties than most country clubs during the holidays. Lyda Hill had already celebrated her 70th birthday with friends and family there. The Perot family had a private get-together with 200 near and dear. On Wednesday, November 14, the media had been given three three-hour opportunities to explore the museum’s nooks and crannies. But the best was yet to come.

Thursday, November 15

There was the extra-special sponsors party for 500 on Thursday. The party had a stellar group made up of folks who either couldn’t make the following Saturday’s big gala, like T. Boone Pickens and Linda and Steve Ivy (they were going to be out of town) or Jan and Trevor Rees-Jones (they had a must-attend wedding slated), or those who just wanted to savor every opening celebration of the Perot Museum. After all, like a potato chip, one is just not enough.

The Thursday party was a sorta rehearsal for Saturday’s gathering of 2,000 for a “Night at the Museum” fundraiser. Adding to the cool factor of the evening was the check-in for the invitation-only affair. No traditional rectangular tables with guests queuing up and looking down at lists to see if their names were there. Heck, no. This was a state-of-the-art shindig and guests were immediately greeted by gals with electronic tablets who quickly checked off their names. Results? No long lines and immediate access to the wonder that lay within.

But just in case someone wondered if another friend had already arrived, no problemo. Just ask any of the ladies with tablets. Once a guest checked in, all tablets were updated.

L.L. and Ka Cotter

Dining on this evening, like Saturday night, would be no sit-yourself-down affair. There would be food stations with Wolfgang Puck offerings, allowing guests to never be hungry as they strolled on all floors of the new 180,000-square-foot museum. But on this night there would be a surprise celebration. It was also Margot Perot‘s birthday. So, in addition to a cake being presented to the Perot matriarch, a shower of shimmering fireworks cascaded outside the Level 1 Cafe as “Happy Birthday” was sung by the likes of Louise Eiseman, Ka and L.L. Cotter, Gillian and Mark Breidenbach with her folks, Karla and Liener Temerlin, Marla and Mike Boone and Katie Menges with gal-pal Marianne Talbot.

Saturday, November 17 — VIP Reception

Shelly Dee, Forrest and Sally Hoglund and Kristy Robinson

Before all the hoop-la started Saturday night, a VIP reception was held in the Lower Level of the museum. It was practically a family affair with Perots everywhere (Suzanne McGee in a

Suzanne McGee

 gold-and-teal Michael Faircloth; Museum Chair of the Board Carolyn Rathjen in a black something “from Neimans;” Ross Sr. talking about his new autobiography; Sarah Perot in gorgeous green with matching emerald earrings and necklace); and just about as many Hoglunds, including Museum Capital Campaign Chair Forrest Hoglund looking proud surrounded by all the ladies in his family life: Sally Hoglund wearing a pin of the building from Lyda Hill; Event Co-chair Kelly Compton passing the word that flip-flops were available if stilettos needing replacing.

Sally Hoglund’s pin from Lyda Hill

In the Children’s Museum, where the Crystal Charity Ball blimp hovered in a scene, 2011 CCB Chair Connie O’Neill was thrilled to see what had been accomplished with support from CCB efforts. . . Speaking of kids, Lyda Hill looked like one as she conducted tours of the Children’s Museum for her friends from Colorado Springs including Nancy Lewis. When asked what keeps her young, Lyda didn’t hesitate: “Fun and philanthropy. They both start with ‘F’!”

David and Emily Corrigan

As the crowd grew, it was becoming more and more difficult for video and still photographers to capture the VIPs. At times it appeared that the only one not crowded was the acrobat suspended over the musical staircase. There were just too many VIPs. Laura Wilson was in a tomato-red jacket looking splendid. When complimented on son Owen‘s presentation at the recent Klyde Warren Park opening, she admitted that he was dashing it off until the very last moment. BTW, Owen was turning 44 on November 18. . . Stacey Branch in black formal evening gown made a brief appearance. She had to head over to the Hilton Anatole, where her son Daniel was heading up the Idlewild Club’s presentation of the three 2012-2013 debs. . . Longtime driving force for the museum David Corrigan was taking wife Emily on a tour of all the exhibitions. . . A couple of gals were looking in their purses for lipstick. Seems their lips were getting chapped. Another one wished she had kept her fur coat, because she was feeling a little chilly. . .  VIP types also included Patricia and Curtis Meadows, Nancy and Jeremy Halbreich, Dr. Gail and Bob Thomas, Kelly Alpert, Stacy Blackmon, Linda and Bill Custard, Carol Reed with Jim Hayes and Holly Reed with Brad Beaird.

At 6:45 Kelly Compton stood on the musical stairs and took the mic thanking the evening’s

Thom Mayne

four big sponsors: Highland Capital, Margot and Ross, Neiman Marcus and Lyda. She said while she knew this would be a hot ticket, she was blown away by the response. She then explained how the evening would work. There would be a big surprise at 8:30, and “for those of you in high heels, please know that we have flip-flops available for you tonight.”

She was followed by 2005 Pritzker-Prize-winning/Perot Museum architect Thom Mayne, who saluted the construction team that weathered all conditions to bring the project in ahead of schedule and on budget.

Nicole Small

Following Thom was Museum CEO Nicole Small, who brought out the biggest laugh of the evening for this insider museum crowd: “Where’s Forrest? Oh, he’s back there. He’s trying to collect money at the door!”

Saturday, November 17 — The Main Event

Sports Hall Yet-To-Be-Named

As many made their way to up to the 1st Level, some opted to get a closer inspection of the Lower Level. In the very back of the floor was the area where CEOs and socialites became kids at summer camp in the “Yet-To-Be-Named Sports Hall.” While wife Kathy looked on, Cooper Institute CEO/President Todd Whitthorne took on the challenge of racing against a T. rex, despite the fact he hadn’t brought his cleats. As he crossed the finish line in second

Kathy and Todd Whitthorne

place, he said, “I’m going to be eaten.” . .  Mike Miles took his son for a walk-thru. . . .  In the Motion Lab, American Airlines VP Laura Einspanier tried her throwing arm against Roger Staubach. Seems she used to be quarterback for her intramural team at UT. After reviewing her video replay, she decided, “I need a real person. I’m gonna have Roger come look at it and give me some pointers.”. .  UT Southwestern President Dr. Daniel Podolsky tried his hand at the reaction test. How did he do? “A little under point 2.” He joked that he’d have different reaction times to different things — like reading a Dallas Morning News story, for example.

Waiting for the express escalator

But upstairs, the grand opening of the Perot Museum was proving that what goes up comes down — one way or another. With more than 2,000 of Dallas’ finest vying to see the inner workings of what some locals had described as the “rock wall,” the much-talked about see-through, one-way-only express escalator to the 4th level was proving to be way too popular. Due to crowded conditions, a museum staffer stood at the escalator’s base like a Stark Club bouncer from the ’80s. As word was transmitted that 4th level conditions were loosening up, guests were permitted entry. Those who chose not to wait opted instead for the elevators or the stairs.

Grazing on the 4th Level

And what was so great on the 4th level that kept guests there? A two-story tall Tyrannosaurus rex and the plant-eating Alamosaurus, the giant marine predator Mosasaurus, the Perot dinosaur, interactive programs for guests to feel like birds, and stuffed critters. While many settled back in seating pods with platters of Wolfgang Puck food, others strolled the aisles including Nancy and Richard Fisher. Nancy had broken a rib and has had her 92-year-old mother helping her in and out of cars. . . . Wandering among the late-greats were Neiman Marcus types like Vinnie (in black Lanvin) and Malcolm Reuben and Ken Downing, social types like JB Hayes, Angela Choquette, Jack Vaughn, Sue and Phil JohnBrenda and Nelson Spencer and Vinette and Mike Montgomery.

Getting down from the 4th floor was also proving to be a slight issue. Seems there was no “down escalator.” Once up there, guests could only leave via 750+ steps or in one of three glassed elevators. At one point in the evening one of the elevators took a break, requiring a tech to give it a once-over to get back to transporting guests.

Icy drinks

But the downward movement was well worth the effort. Among the treasures of energy and gems found on the 3rd level were more seating pods, food stations and a Ketele One bar to die for or, at least, to stand in line for, like Caren Prothro, Rena Pederson and Simona Beal. What was so amazing? Two three-foot-tall ice sculptures of Ketel One bottles with clear tubes running from top to an opening in the bottom just big enough for a martini glass. After a guest placed their order, they would place their glass in the opening. Then the server would shake the concoction and pour it into the tube. Management claimed that it chilled the drink just the right way. Evidently it did, as guests gave it rave reviews.

On the 2nd Level, where all forms of life were in place, the guests took turns playing interactive games. At one spot, folks built miniature buildings that were then tested for earthquakes and tornadoes.

Katie Boeck and Laena Myers-Ionita

All too quickly it was 8:30 p.m., and many heeded the suggestion to be in the Cafe on the 1st Level for a surprise. It was MASS Ensemble’s Katie Boeck playing the gargantuan Earth Harp. As the crescent moon shown overhead in the background, Katie’s black rosin-coated gloved hands


plucked the shimmering strings that extended from the stage to eternity. The deep bass sound was so haunting that even the Malawisaurus standing on the other side of the room seemed to perk up. No sooner had Katie finished then MASS’s drumbella took center stage, with spinning drums being pounded at warp speed.

Kelly Compton

Following the performance, Event Co-chair Kelly climbed on stage and told guests that her co-chair/husband Brock was “out there somewhere.” Unbeknownst to her, he was seated just a few feet away. Introducing her father, she advised guests, “I encourage you all to hold on to your wallets right now.”

Forrest backed that thinking up by admitting “This is just the beginning. This is one of those blessed projects.”

Kelly Compton, Margot and Ross Perot Sr., Nicole Small, Carolyn Rathjen and Forrest Hoglund

But this evening was one for celebration. In the immediate days following, when the official ribbon-cutting would take place and thousands would discover the wonders within Thom Mayne’s “rock wall,” the initial mission of the Perots and hundreds of others would be accomplished —  to get more young people interested in math and science.

For more photos from the pre-opening festivities, check MySweetCharity’s Photo Gallery.

MySweetCharity Photo Gallery Alert: Perot Museum Of Nature And Science Pre-opening Parties


Not even open and the Perot Museum of Nature and Science wow-ed guests at a slew of parties with worldly exhibitions, Wolfgang Puck food and more interactive entertainment than Dave & Buster’s.

The Museum’s already become the place to party and explore for kids of all ages. It makes learning fun.

Check out the photos on MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

More deets to follow!

Perot Museum Of Nature And Science Gala Tickets Are Going, Going, Nearly Gone

Ross Perot Sr. (File photo)

Stamp anything with the name of “Perot” on it and you just know it’s going to break from tradition. First, the announcement comes that the 180,000-square-foot Perot Museum of Nature and Science was ahead of schedule and going to opening Saturday, December 1. Ahead of schedule? Seriously? Yup!

Now, the posh November 17th gala, “Discover the Perot” that Kelly and Brock Compton are co-chairing with Sally and Forrest Hoglund are honorary co-chairing is approaching a “It’s too late” status for tickets. And don’t go a thinking, you can buy just one ticket. No. All that’s left are packages of 10 going for $2,500.

In addition to being with some very swell types, you’ll get one of the first looks and wander of this world-shaking museum two weeks before the rest of the world. Word on the street is that the world is going to be visiting the museum in the days and years to come.

Moody Foundation Kicks In $6M For Perot Museum Of Nature And Science to Pass Its $185M Goal

This morning the Perot Museum of Nature and Science officials are holding a press conference to make a major announcement. Ah, but the Dallas Morning NewsDavid Flick has already made the announcement (subscrip. required) — the Moody Foundation has donated $6M to push the museum fundraisers over their $185M goal.

Congrats to the Perot Museum. They really have something to celebrate tonight at their Dinner in the Wild.

Wolfgang Puck Lands Another Exclusive Catering Contract In The NonProfit Sector

Wolfgang Puck’s catering group will be cooking up a storm at another nonprofit’s venue. The California-based chef has been named the exclusive caterer for the in-the-process-of-being -built Perot Museum of Nature & Science.

In addition to having a full-time catering team on-site at the Museum, the group will also offer the Real.Delicious. program of “seasonal menus when full-service catering is not required. Online ordering and drop-off service will be ideal for events such as children’s birthday parties, breakfast meetings and picnics.”

In addition to the Perot Museum, Wolfie is also handling such local nonprofits as the Nasher Sculpture Center and the AT&T Performing Arts Center.

According to the Museum’s Director of Sales Linda Murdock, “By offering two catering concepts, the Perot Museum will be able to accommodate almost every budget and need — from casual to ultra-sophisticated, from groups of 10 to 1,000-plus guests.”

Shhh! Don’t Tell — Chase Is Donating $1.4 Million To Perot Museum Of Nature & Science And Big Thought This A.M.

This morning Chase will cheerfully donate $1 million to the “under-construction” Perot Museum of Nature & Science and $400,000 to fund Big Thought’s Thriving Minds.

It’s a secret until the press conference at 10 a.m., but since our buddy Bob Miller broke the news this morning (Paywall) , we figured why not share.

The press conference is taking place at the Museum of Nature & Science in the Science Building at Fair Park, so act surprised when the announcement is made.

Autographed Beam Tops Perot Museum of Nature & Science

You’ve got to give it to the Perot clan. They had a non-stop week. First, Sarah Perot was honored at the TACA Silver Cup Award Luncheon on March 4 with children Hill and Sarah Catherine, hubby Ross and in-laws Margot and Ross Sr. on hand.

The following Wednesday senior Perots were front and center for Ebby Halliday‘s 100th birthday party at the Meyerson, where he presented the birthday girl with a framed copy of Sword Excalibur complete with a list of her accomplishments.


Ross and Margot Perot

Thursday multi-generations of Perots did double duty for the topping of the Perot Museum of Nature & Science. Each one put their John Hancocks on one of the top beams.

Topping watching

Then they scurried over to the 17th floor of Park Seventeen overlooking the Victory Park construction site to join the crowd viewing the placement of the beam.

Museum board member David Corrigan insisted that Ross Sr. give the “Go ahead” to the Balfour Beatty crane operator to lift the signed beam in place. Cutting to the chase but in his own Perot fashion, Ross was handed a radio and then yelled “Balfour Beatty, move that beam!” as Perots, friends, museum higher-ups and media laughed and watched.

Beam hoisting

Needless  to say, the beam was hoisted sky high in place. But don’t think for a minute that the beam is going to never see the light of day like most beams. We’re talking Perot Museum of Nature & Science.

Unlike many topping out beams that are buried behind walls and wiring, these “symbolic” beams will be prominently positioned in a permanent spot within the glass walls of the building elevators.

Over the previous 10 days, several beams also have been signed by hundreds of expansion campaign donors, board members, former museum directors, museum staff, elected officials, building design team members, and construction crew members.

“This has truly been a team effort; it just wouldn’t have happened without everyone’s support,” said Museum CEO Nicole Small.

You’ll have to wait and see the beam debut in 2013 when the museum opens.

Photos provided by the Perot Museum of Nature & Science

$10-Million Challenge On The Table For Perot Museum of Nature & Science Announced

Organizers of the under-construction Perot Museum of  Nature & Science originally had a goal of $185 million for its completion. According to Perot Museum Expansion Campaign Chair Forrest Hoglund, “We recently hit the $153-million mark, leaving us $32 million to raise before the end of 2011.”

Today it was announced that a $10-million challenge was just issued by Mr/s. Anonymous. The good news is that they have until October 31, 2012, to meet the challenge. The even better news is that every dollar will count toward meeting that goal.

Hey, maybe that’s why they named the project — Every Dollar Counts . . . Twice!

Donations can be made by heading to natureandscience.org and clicking on “Donate Now” or contacting Mary Crain at 972.201.0555 or [email protected].