Fort Worth citizens don’t need to travel far for a little mental stimulation, thanks to a plethora of museums in the city’s Cultural District that are always reinventing themselves. Located minutes from downtown Fort Worth, the Cultural District attracts more than 2 million visitors from around the world annually with its quaint shops and restaurants, fascinating museums and galleries, beautifully manicured grounds and bustling performing arts venues.
Botanical Research Institute of Texas
One of the latest arrivals in the Cultural District is the Botanical Research Institute of Texas' new 70,000-square-foot LEED Platinum-certified headquarters, which opened to the public in May 2011. It is the first building in Tarrant County to achieve the LEED Platinum rating and the eighth in the state of Texas.
“It shows the public our mission of conservation and sustainability from the roof down,” says Dr. S.H. Sohmer, president and director of BRIT. “Everything about our building focuses on conservation and reusing natural resources.”
Founded in 1987, BRIT is an international scientific research and learning center that documents the diversity of plant life and conducts research around the world. Over the past 10 years, BRIT scientists have located and described many plant species previously unknown to science, and Fort Worth residents can take advantage of their knowledge.
“We have a number of community outreach programs and workshops, mainly on Saturdays,” Sohmer says. “People can also bring plants in to be identified. We get a steady stream of visitors with our property being adjacent to the Fort Worth Botanical Gardens, and lots of people come to see our building.”
Visitors also come to explore BRIT’s herbarium, a collection of more than 1 million dried plant specimens from around the world, and the BRIT library, which houses more than 125,000 volumes of books from various countries and 3,000 children’s books.
Kimbell Art Museum Addition
Another new addition to the Cultural District is the Kimbell Art Museum's new facility designed by world-renowned Italian architect Renzo Piano. The new facility grew out of Kimbell Art Museum’s need to exhibit more of its permanent collection and accommodate special exhibitions. It is located to the west of Kimbell’s existing building and features a 300-seat auditorium, library and expanded classroom facilities for educational programs. The museum broke ground on the new facility in October 2010 and plans to open it to the public in fall 2013.
“We are thrilled to get this project started,” says Eric Lee, director of the Kimbell Art Museum. “It is an important moment in the history of the museum and our community.”
More Fort Worth Museums
Other attractions in the Cultural District include the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, the Amon Carter Museum of American Art, the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History, and the National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame. All offer membership opportunities with extra benefits for members, such as unlimited free admission, gift shop discounts and invitations to exclusive special events.
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