Wednesday, January 4, 2023

Item: Natural Science and Art Research Center Holds Hidden Gems

The red brick building at 710 University Avenue is best known as the old Huntsville High School. Others are familiar with the location because it was the studio and gallery of renowned sculptor David Adickes. What people need to know is that it now contains a vast range of educational materials, artifacts, and specimens, plus a very special curator who weaves together history, art, science, and opportunities for growth.


What makes this site unique in comparison to others that house national and international scientific data is the longevity and long term funding support of SHSU. The site serves 1.4 million species pages and over 800k maps, allowing users to find specimens across the world.

In the Entomology room of the museum, there are roughly a million insects in glass topped display boxes. Countless dried herb plants are in the Herbarium. There is a designated room for invertebrates and there are several thousand fossils dispersed throughout the building. There is also a library of roughly four thousand natural history books available for reference. This collection boasts some of the most rare and pristine copies available at any one location on the continent.


On the top floor, art meets botany. The halls are lined with prints and a small handful of original paintings of flora created by Geraldine Ellis Watson. She was a well known plant ecologist and park ranger. She wrote “Big Thicket Plant Ecology” and “Reflections on the Neches”. 

Many other paintings are on display in the museum, including the work of David Adickes. Many people know him as a sculptor, and creator of the Sam Houston statue on I-45. He is also a gifted painter who has contributed a great deal of beauty to the culture of Walker County.

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