After three years of planning, curating and construction, the Irving Archives and Museum (IAM) will open its doors to the public beginning Nov. 4.
Due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, IAM will open by reservation only during two time slots at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Wednesday through Friday. IAM will welcome a limited number of guests at one time to help keep museum guests and staff safe.
The $2.8 million 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 is located on the first floor of the Jack D. Huffman Community Building, 801 W. Irving Blvd.
The museum includes permanent and temporary exhibits, as well as a community space that looks out at Veterans Memorial Park to the east. The museum also houses a Smithsonian Spark!Lab, which is scheduled to open at a later date.
The 4,000-square-foot permanent gallery spotlights views of Irving’s early history, including an encased original plat map from the city’s land auction onDec. 19, 1903. During the auction, the plat was posted on the original train depot building.
“It’s probably our most prized piece in the whole entire collection,” said IAM Manager Jennifer Landry. “Not many towns can say they have a birth certificate, but this is pretty close to what a birth certificate would look like for Irving.”
The IAM will highlight Irving’s suburban growth after World War II — an integral shift from a farming community outside Dallas to a major suburb of Dallas and Fort Worth. The museum also focuses on the evolution of Irving as an international city with exhibits and artifacts from the former Texas Stadium site and Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, as well as the creation of Las Colinas. Visitors have views from the gift shop of the updated and expansive archives facility.
The museum integrates different learning styles and accessibility. It offers photos, murals, historical displays and artifacts, as well as text, videos and audio narration. Guests can thoroughly experience the museum in less than two hours — depending on engagement levels.
For more information, including general information about the museum, visit IrvingArchivesandMuseum.com. Reservations are available at CityofIrving.org/IAM-Reservation.
The Irving Archives and Museum currently is showcasing a temporary, traveling exhibition, Apron Strings: Ties to the Past.
“As a community, this stirs up so many memories,” IAM Manager Jennifer Landry said. “We all have a memory of a parent or a grandmother in the kitchen or hanging laundry in an apron, and some of us wear aprons still.”
The display is part of ExhibitsUSA, a division of the Mid-America Arts Alliance, which according to its website supports artists, cultural organizations and communities throughout the U.S.
The exhibition highlights gender and work roles, as well as how style and self-expression through craft have changed over time. Aprons from the traveling exhibit are displayed along with contributions from the community, including several pieces from the late Irving City Councilwoman Jackie Townsell.
Irving residents interested in displaying their family aprons or sharing memories, photos or stories associated with aprons can contact IAMinfo@cityofirving.org or call (972) 721-3714. Submissions will be accepted through December. The exhibit runs through Jan. 7, 2021.