When the City of Irving opens the doors to the Irving Archives and Museum (IAM) in 2019, the goal is simple: for residents to see themselves represented in the new community museum.
Construction began in January on the $2.8 million project, which has been in planning and design for the past year. The project is a joint effort between the City of Irving Arts and Culture Department and the Capital Improvement Program. The 22,000-square-foot facility will open on the first floor of the former Irving Central Library, 801 W. Irving Blvd. The space will showcase a Smithsonian Spark!Lab, temporary and permanent exhibits, and a community space. The city will hold a soft opening this summer, while a grand opening featuring the central exhibit is set for fall 2019.
The new facility will reflect on the city’s origins and highlights throughout the 20th century. The IAM will emphasize innovative exhibits and programs, along with a special focus on the city’s growing and diverse community.
Under the Arts and Culture Department’s leadership, the museum will be a Smithsonian Affiliate, which will create opportunities for traveling exhibitions and access to the Smithsonian’s collections. The city will highlight these in the 2,200-square-foot Temporary Exhibition Gallery. The gallery also will host locally curated exhibitions and will have the flexibility to accommodate exhibits that differ in size and scope.
The museum will feature the state’s first Smithsonian Spark!Lab. The lab is an interactive space intended for children ages 6 to 12 to investigate, create, experiment and explore using innovative problem-solving skills. The space will encourage families to participate and interact with the activities and to think like inventors.
A community space will overlook Veterans Memorial Park and will feature linoleum flooring in shades of blue and green intended to represent the Elm Fork and the West Fork of the Trinity River. The space is intended to provide Irving’s diverse community the opportunity to host small events such as food demonstrations, performances or hands-on activities and crafts. The goal of the area is to reflect the evolving cultures of Irving.
Highlighting Irving’s Heritage
The central exhibition of the IAM will feature a 4,000-square-foot permanent gallery devoted to the history and cultural heritage of the city. The adaptable exhibit will chronicle chapters of the city’s history, including the early history of the region and the suburban growth of Irving. Additionally, it will feature the evolution of Irving as an international city with exhibits on the construction of the former Texas Stadium site and
Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, as well as the creation of Las Colinas.
The exhibit also will include some small-scale models from The Mustangs of Las Colinas sculpture. The Mustangs will continue to be connected to the history of Las Colinas.
The Ruth Paine House Museum Visitors Center will move into the current Irving Archives location, across the lobby from the museum. Additionally, the Irving All-Sports Hall of Fame will move from its home at Senter Park Recreation Center to its own location adjacent to the Ruth Paine Visitors Center. The Arts and Culture Department will integrate Irving high schools’ sports-related memorabilia, including uniforms, letter jackets, pictures and mascots from the archival collections into the Hall of Fame exhibit.
Irving Archives will move from its current location on the first floor of the former Irving Central Library to inside the new museum. The location will bring Irving’s collection of historical artifacts to the forefront. The department plans to incorporate archival materials into the exhibits. Those materials not on display will be stored in museum-quality, climate-controlled spaces. Museum visitors will learn about the process of archiving, as well as its importance in understanding the past.
The city will incorporate an energy management system throughout the building that will improve the efficiency of the heating, ventilation and air conditioning system. The new system will allow the museum to control the temperature and humidity in each area — a necessity when housing historical documents and artifacts. Additional improvements include remodeling the IAM’s restrooms; installing modern light fixtures, flooring and paint; and providing office space and volunteer rooms. A museum store also will be built into the new museum and will feature local and Texas-sourced merchandise.
The modifications to the facility as a whole will extend and enhance the life of the former Irving Central Library, which houses City of Irving office space and The Study, along with the new museum and archives.
For more information on the City of Irving Arts and Culture Department, visit City of Irving's Arts and Culture. Visit Investing in Our Future for more information on the city’s ongoing infrastructure initiative.
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