The Purpose of the Naranjo Museum of Natural History
Thank you for your interest in a museum that has taken a lifetime of collecting and dedication to build. Through years of exploration, a sincere passion for pre-historic life, and a commitment to the education of inquisitive minds, this museum has become a reality.
As a boy, I enjoyed looking for arrowheads in the forests of East Texas, and I have carried this passion for exploration and history with me throughout my life. Just like me, the fondest memories for many children are playing with a favorite toy, looking at the world with wonderment, and enjoying the enormity of seeing their first dinosaur.
The goal of the Naranjo Museum of Natural History is to bring that experience to as many children and adults as possible. For decades I have collected fossils, artifacts, and geologic minerals that add to my mosaic of history. Over the past few summers, my son, experts in paleontology, and a motley crew of dinosaur hunters, have joined me in excavating dozens of fascinating specimens. Finding our first virtually complete skeleton in Montana was the thrill of a lifetime, and each new find expanded our interest and our collection.
But I realized early on that these fossils and the stories they represent would be meaningless unless they were shared. So a few years ago, I began introducing the collection to Lufkin students and the community, giving presentations and displaying the many fossils in classrooms. After seeing their interest and hearing the recurring exclamations of “wow!” and “cool!” I knew I had to build a permanent home for this collection; a place where families, children and adults could come and learn more about prehistoric time.
The truth is, this museum has been 50 years in the making. It started with one child eager to explore his backyard and has grown into a network of teachers, parents, scientists, and community leaders determined to recreate that experience for children and adults alike.
I hope you join me and bring pre-history to life in East Texas for thousands of children and curious minds.
Sincerely, Dr. Jennings Neal Naranjo.