LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) – Francesca Washington
Saturday morning the ribbon was cut and the first museum of natural history in deep East Texas was opened to the public.
Dr. Neal Naranjo and his family spent 14 months in planning and constructing the Naranjo Museum of Natural History.
“East Texas needs a great dinosaur museum and geological museum and a cultural museum,” said Dr. Neal Naranjo, CEO, Naranjo Museum.
The museum showcases exhibits from the stone age to modern times.
“We’ve got cannon balls that were used in the Civil War and the American Revolutionary War,” said Naranjo.
Mayor Bob Brown says the museum will be a positive place for the community and a tremendous tourist attraction.
“As visitors and conventions come to this area I think we will see an increase in tourism I just honestly think we will see an increase in tourism and it will be a draw that we did not have,” said Brown.
The museum has already impacted students in Angelina County.
Lufkin Superintendent Roy Knight says high school students involved in robotics put the finishing touches on some of the museum’s exhibits.
“They’ve actually designed part of the paraphernalia, that would be the scientific word I’d use, that creates some of the motion in some of the machinery in some of the exhibits that are here in the museum,” said Knight.
Instead of driving into cities like Dallas or Houston, East Texas residents can get a taste of history in their own backyard.
“Where others travel to museums of natural history in Washington DC or in Houston or New York City we have the equivalent of that here on a smaller scale but just as fascinating and stimulating for kids right here in Angelina County,” said Knight.
Although the museum has officially open work isn’t finished.
They are planning to add a full scale T-Rex exhibit to the museum in December.