April 1, 2012
By Francesca Washington/ LUFKIN, TX (KTRE)
Sixth generation Lufkinite Dr. Neal Naranjo has spent 40 years of his life collecting artifacts from across the world.
Naranjo is bringing his passion back to his hometown, presenting his finds in the Naranjo Museum of Natural History.
“I wanted to produce a museum that would have the whole history of the earth and help enlighten some minds and get some brains curious,” said Naranjo.
“Neal Naranjo has a vision to gift the East Texas area with this incredible collection,” said Peter Andrew, Professor of Art, SFA.
The museum breathes life into the pre-historic world of dinosaurs, with replicas, fiberglass models and Naranjo’s favorite dinosaur the Mary Ann Hadrosaur.”She’s the only dinosaur in any museum that I’m aware of that has skin impressions,” said Naranjo.
Naranjo collaborated with local artists like Peter Andrew to bring his vision to life.
“This is a lifetime worth of work you’re seeing coming to fruit here,” said Andrew.
Andrew says the museum will fill a void for local students
“Students who may previously had to travel hours on school fieldtrips, if they were lucky, now have this destination right here in their hometown,” said Andrew.
Naranjo says access to the facility will take the learning experience to new heights.
“It just makes this stuff come off the page of the book. You can see things in books but when you see things in real life and 3D, it starts to really click in your head,” said Naranjo.
With 50 percent of the installations complete the museum is set to open September of 2012.