It is often said that one learns by doing.
For the past 10 years, the Perot Museum of Nature and Science has been doing just that – by nurturing the minds of students through nature and science with its exhibit halls, hands on learning and educational films.
In commemoration, the museum kicked off its 10th year anniversary celebration by unveiling its revamped Speed Wall in the Lamar Hunt Family Sports Hall, March 2.
Lamar Hunt, founder and owner of the FC Dallas and Kansas City Chiefs NFL football team, died in 2006. His children, Dan, Clark and Sharron Hunt, who now run the Chiefs and FC Dallas organization, were present at the ribbon cutting ceremony.
The Speed Wall allows visitors to race against notable athletes through a virtual experience and test their athletic abilities against athletes such as Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes, Dallas Wings forward Moriah Jefferson, FC Dallas midfielder Paxton Pomykal, Olympic sprinter Ronnie Baker Jr., Paralympian Élodie Tessier and cross-country champion runner Natalie Cook, as well as former FC Dallas forward Kenny Cooper, current team ambassador.
Several of the athletes, along with the Hunt family and students at Momentous School, joined the official unveiling of the wall at the museum.
Fourth and fifth grade students raced against a few of the athletes in attendance.
“It was amazing and such a fun experience,” said Liam Marcos, a fifth grader who raced against Cooper. “I never experienced something quite like this. I want to be an orthopedic surgeon. The Perot Museum has taught me a lot about how it actually works, how running against an athlete or a person that is dedicated to sports, how it would actually feel and see because if you read it in a book, you are imagining it and that would be cool, but its that part where you are like ‘oh I wish that it would happen. Here it actually happened, and it is a very fun and unique experience.”
Jefferson, who also competed against the students, talked about the importance of staying active.
“It was incredible to race against the students and they all had huge smiles on their faces,” Jefferson said. “They are so excited to be out there and for me, I just really had a lot of fun. Sports teaches you a lot about hard work, commitment, teamwork and working with others. Just having them come out here today and see this and again to learn so much about the museum is just an incredible experience for them. Sports have shaped me into the person I am today. I think that all kids should be involved, even just for a healthy lifestyle. Being a pro-athlete isn’t for everybody, but everybody should stay in shape.”
Linda Silver, Eugene McDermott Chief Executive Officer at the Perot Museum, said the unveiling of the wall was a new chapter for the sports hall.
“For 10 years, this museum and this hall has been a place where minds are inspired, questions are asked, science is experienced in real time,” Silver said. “Today, we are launching a year long series of community engagement initiatives to commemorate a meaningful legacy of innovation, inspiration and success. But we are also exhilarating and looking forward, as we mark this 10-year meaningful milestone, we are building on our legacy to expand and deepen the impact during the next decade. And we will be guided by a bold vision of that future. This speed wall represents human excellence. And it presents the opportunity for children to understand and value science and discipline in sports.”
Silver explained that the museum is updating its exhibits and experiences to ensure that every child who comes can see themselves in its exhibits. The event is the first of 10 community-wide celebrations highlighting the museum’s decade of impact on the region.
“We believe that museums are for everyone,” Silver said. “To our athletes, here in attendance, thank you. It is our hope that through your contributions, we will have an impact and be able to inspire children from all backgrounds and all abilities. The students here today are the very first people to compete against these athletes on our new speed wall. We will blaze an ambitious trail that will launch us into the future, and I know that we have limitless possibilities.”
Silver then thanked the Hunt Family.
“It is in our permanent halls, especially in our special exhibitions, that we have the school of sparking aha moments that create lifelong love of science,” Silver said. “This hall specifically has brought countless hours of joy, excitement, and curiosity. Thousands of children have sprinted against our T. rex, or our cheetah, but more importantly, than their physical bodies, their mind is racing too. Because of your generosity, building up the next generation of STEM leaders, this museum has been able to reach so many children in creative, innovative plays. At the Hall’s opening, Carolyn Perot said, ‘We hope that this hall, which bears Lamar Hunt’s name, will not only inspire learning, but will also represent the important lessons that sports teach such as character building, teamwork, goal setting and hard work. The Lamar Hunt family sports hall has done just that.”
Sharron Hunt, Hunt Family Foundation board member and chairwoman of the Arrowhead Art Program, discussed what it meant to have the sports hall named in her father’s honor.
“In 2012, we were so thrilled and honored to name this sports hall after our father and being the first point of life, if you will, for the Perot’s Museum 10th year anniversary celebration,” Sharron said. “Our dad loved Dallas, and posed such a tremendous asset to Dallas. It really is just a win, win, win. Dad never met a museum he didn’t like. Dad also loved numbers and games and hence his childhood nickname of Games. So today, with the help of our student athletes from the Momentous Institute, we have built a refreshed Speed Wall in the Lamar Hunt family’s sports hall. This was a two-and-a-half-year process to get this done.”
Clark Hunt, chairman and CEO of the Chiefs and FC Dallas, stressed that sports can be an important aspect of students’ development. He also said that the room’s atmosphere – the fun, the curiosity and innovation – was a testiment to his father’s pioneering spirit.
Dan Hunt, president of FC Dallas, thanked the Perot Museum and family for its efforts to educate students in the area.
“This really is one of the crown jewels of Dallas and it is one of those things that makes the city uniquely special,” Hunt said. “Sports is uniquely woven into the fabric of our community. This wonderful museum has the ability to transcend sports, science, history and geology into an educational tool that makes learning fun. I know that this is a legacy that will last for a long time.
It is something that is uniquely cool to Dallas and is something that we will all be proud of to celebrate for generations to come.”