International Museum of Art & Science (IMAS) in McAllen

A couple of weeks ago, I went to McAllen, Texas, to meet up with a group of fellow RVers from RVillage (an RV membership group). I wanted to make the most of my time in McAllen so I looked for something to do in the morning before the meet up. It was raining, and the forecast was for rain all day, so, of course, I wanted to find something indoors. Museums are a great rainy day activity and IMAS, the International Museum of Art and Science, looked like it would fill the bill. They had a guest exhibit that sounded especially intriguing, the internationally acclaimed Symphony of Color.

The International Museum of Art & Science in McAllen, Texas, has many interactive exhibits that are educational for adults and children alike.

About the International Museum of Art & Science

With more than 50,000 square feet of exhibit space, the International Museum of Art & Science in McAllen is the premiere art and science museum of south Texas. It is a Smithsonian Affiliate and fully accredited by the American Alliance of Museums. The museum opened to the public in 1969 and moved to its current location in 1976.

Exhibits at the International Museum of Art & Science

Permanent Exhibits

The majority of the permanent exhibits are geared toward educating children but some are fun and interesting for adults as well. If you are there with a child, you have a perfect excuse, if you need one, to get in the middle of the action.

StarLab Planetarium

The Digital StarLab Planetarium takes you on out-of-this-world experiences to explore deep space, the craters on the moon, the surface of the sun and more. There are hourly presentations given by an IMAS educator Tuesday through Sunday.

StarLab Planetarium

Seed to Table

OK, I have to admit, although this hands-on exhibit is for kids, I really wanted to jump in and play. The interactive display is aimed at teaching healthy eating choices and math skills through play. There’s a fruit and vegetable garden, a mini store with checkout counter, a kitchen to prepare healthy meals and a dining room to eat them in.

IMAS Seed to table

Water Journey

This interactive display focuses on the importance of water conservation and environmental education in the Rio Grande Valley. The hands-on exhibit explores the complete water cycle — how it gets into our homes and eventually back into our streams.

MPU Water Journey

Science on a Sphere (SOS)

This state-of-the-art exhibit, designed by NASA and the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), displays photos from the Hubble Space Telescope, orbital satellites, space probes, and other sources onto a three-dimensional, six-foot wide sphere. There are educator-led presentations daily.

NOTE: This exhibit is “closed until further notice for data updates.”

Current Guest Exhibits

(Click here for an up to date list of exhibits)

Clean Water Here Global Photography Exhibit
October 20, 2018 – March 31, 2019

I was shocked, amazed, saddened and fascinated by this exhibit. I wasn’t prepared for the sobering facts presented in photographs as well as the written word about the lack of safe drinking water around the world. This exhibit puts the magnitude, severity and hardship of the situation smack in your face.

Clean Water Here Photo Exhibit

Symphony of Color
January 19, 2019 – June 30, 2019

The Symphony of Color exhibit is the main reason I chose to go to this venue. The artwork in the exhibit was amazing but I’m at a bit of a loss to adequately explain what it is all about in a few sentences. I’ll do my best to summarize the somewhat convoluted and difficult to understand description of this exhibit. I’m a who, what, where, when kind of girl and the artsy, flowery, and the somewhat disorganized writing hurt my brain to try to comprehend. So, here it is in a nutshell, gleaned from multiple sources.

Wixarika drum set, Symphony of Color exhibit, Internation Museum of Art and Science, McAllen, TexasWixarika drum

The artists behind the Symphony of Color exhibit call themselves wixarika, “the people,” in their language (Uto-Aztecan family of languages.) They are an indigenous group that lives in the Sierra Madre Mountains in Mexico, mostly in the states of Nayarit, Jalisco and parts of Durango and Zacatecas. They are known as huicholes in the Hispanic world.

Warika trumpet - Symphony of Color exhibit, Internation Museum of Art and Science, McAllen, Texas

The Symphony of Color exhibit consists of over 40 musical instruments covered with intricate patterns made from tiny chaquira beads set in wax. These works of art pay “homage to the sacred patience and meticulous work required” to produce these pieces. This is “one of the most preserved indigenous art forms of the ancient Mexican pre-Hispanic cultures.” The Hermes Music Foundation helps support the wixarika community by providing employment to the artists and selling their instruments.

Wixarika tall single drum - Symphony of Color exhibit, Internation Museum of Art and Science, McAllen, Texas
Wixarika tuba back

Wixarika beadwork close up - Symphony of Color exhibit, Internation Museum of Art and Science, McAllen, Texas

Wixarika saxophone - Symphony of Color exhibit, Internation Museum of Art and Science, McAllen, Texas
Wixarika saxophone close up - Symphony of Color exhibit, Internation Museum of Art and Science, McAllen, Texas

I plan to go back before the exhibit leaves as the museum is offering workshops led by wixarika artists sharing their techniques and use of symbols.

Wixarika drums - Symphony of Color exhibit, Internation Museum of Art and Science, McAllen, Texas

 

Other Things to See and Do at the International Museum of Art & Science

Ann Moore Art Studio

This space and the facilitators are dedicated to teaching art to museum visitors. Each week there is a focus, it was origami when I was there, but you can also look at the dozens of art books for other inspiration. I had a great chat with one of the facilitators about my love of watercolors and my lack of talent! The space also hosts special events like the 21+ night where adults create an art masterpiece while enjoying their favorite drink.

Ann Moore Art Studio at IMAS

McAllen Public Utility BioZone

The BioZone is a hands-on lab where visitors can try various experiments under the guidance of qualified staff. The lab also houses an array of animals which are used to teach about natural habitats and adaptations.

MPU BioZone

Gem & Mineral Collection

The hallway walls are lined with gem and mineral displays.

Gem & mineral collection IMASRocks and minerals at IMAS

Gift Shop

The gift shop sells a variety of items including rocks and minerals, art and science kits, jewelry from local artisans and IMAS gift items like mugs and t-shirts. There was a backpack I really wanted to check out but I decided that since it said “NASA Space Cadet” on it, it was not really for me.

International Museum of Art & Science IMAS gift shop

Sculpture Garden

There is a garden between the buildings where you’ll find a few sculptures in addition to the ones on the front lawn.

IMAS front lawn sculptures

The Details

Hours:

Mon: CLOSED
Tue: 9:00 am – 3:00 pm
Wed: 9:00 am – 3:00 pm
Thu: 9:00 am – 3:00 pm (9:00 am-8:00 pm on the first Thursday of each month)
Fri: 9:00 am – 5:00 pm
Sat: 10:00 am – 5:00 pm
Sun: 1:00 pm – 5:00 pm

Admission (free for members)

Adults: $7.00
Seniors (55+): $5.00
Students w/ID: $5.00
Children (4-12 yrs.): $4.00
Children (0-3 yrs.): Free

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The International Museum of Art & Science in McAllen, Texas, has many interactive exhibits that are educational for adults and children alike. Guest exhibits like the Symphony of Color help the museum promote a deeper appreciation of the arts and sciences. #museum #mcallen #texas #usatravel
The International Museum of Art & Science in McAllen, Texas, has many interactive exhibits that are educational for adults and children alike. Guest exhibits like the Symphony of Color help the museum promote a deeper appreciation of the arts and sciences. #museum #mcallen #texas #usatravel

Until next time…



Thank you for sharing!

2 Comments

  1. What a diverse venue! Looks like your trip was very successful!

    http://www.areweadultsyet.com

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