The Irving Archives and Museum (IAM) will be the central hub of the City of Irving’s museum system, which includes the Irving Archives, Ruth Paine House, Jackie Townsell Bear Creek Heritage Center, and the Mustangs of Las Colinas and Museum.
Mission – The mission of the Irving Archives and Museum is to engage visitors through thought-provoking programs and dynamic exhibits that explore the history and evolving culture of our community and our region.
Museum Overview – The IAM will encompass 22,000 square feet on the first floor of what was the Central Library and will feature the following elements:
Lobby and Museum Store – visitors will be greeted by a modern open space and store featuring locally and Texas-sourced merchandise. The Ruth Paine Visitor Center and Irving All-Sports Hall of Fame will be adjacent to the lobby.
Temporary Exhibition Gallery – a 2,200 sq ft exhibit gallery that will feature traveling exhibits from the Smithsonian, Exhibits USA, and other nationally traveling exhibitions. The gallery will also host locally curated exhibitions.
Spark!Lab – Irving will be the first museum in Texas to feature a Smithsonian Spark!Lab. Developed by the Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation, the Spark!Lab will engage young visitors and their families in interactive exploration of the invention process. Local inventors and innovation will also be highlighted.
Between the Forks Community Space – This open programming space overlooks Irving’s beautiful Veterans Memorial Park, and will feature interpretive panels about the park and sculptures. A flooring design that speaks to the importance of Irving’s geographic location between the forks of the Trinity River will signal this as a gathering space. The community space will host special events and programming, and local community groups will be invited to curate this space throughout the year to share with visitors the diverse cultures that make Irving the community it is today.
Central Exhibition – a 4,000 sq ft exhibit gallery will be devoted to the history and cultural heritage of Irving. Designed to be adaptable, the exhibition will feature three “chapters” of the Irving story and will emphasize the “people stories.”
“Chapter 1” will explore the early history of the region when trails and crossroads made this an important region for indigenous peoples and European settlers and will then explore the founding of Irving and its early development.
“Chapter 2” reveals how the automobile opened Irving to grow into a central suburb in North Texas with increasing town services, educational opportunities, culture, and commerce. Irving was in many ways a microcosm of what was happening across the nation during the post-war baby boom.
“Chapter 3” opens with the history of three major events that led Irving to evolve from a bedroom community to become a modern urban landscape – the building of Texas Stadium, the opening of DFW Airport, and the creation of Las Colinas all played essential roles in the development of Irving into the vibrant, multicultural city that it is today.
Collections Storage – the IAM will house the Irving Archives and Collections in a custom storage facility with museum-quality climate and security controls.
Project Budget – $2.8 million (Architecture and Construction, $1.75 million; Exhibit Design and Fabrication, $900,000; Spark!Lab, $150,000). Funded through the Museum’s Hotel Occupancy Tax allotment and generous donations.