Imagine a Museum

Arlington leaders plan to build a new retractable-roof baseball stadium, along with a new hotel and entertainment center. In November, advocates will ask Arlington voters to approve the new facilities for the Texas Rangers baseball team, while others will ask citizens to vote against the proposed new facilities. Many believe the team will move out of the existing facilities, whether they relocate to the new stadium or to another city that will offer a new air-conditioned stadium. But it is important to know that Arlington and all of the Dallas-Fort Worth region can achieve something even greater out of all this activity - a major international museum and education center.

The imminent vacancy in the Texas Rangers stadium presents a tremendous opportunity to create an international museum and tourist destination in Arlington. The unique circumstance that will unfold with the upcoming vote presents a strategic opportunity to place the greater Dallas-Fort Worth region, with Arlington at the center, on the stage with the nation's and the world's most prominent cities - places that are considered World Class Cities - where reputations for quality of life, education, cultural interests and tourism attractions exceed even the economic power of the cities.

A prominent Museum of Culture in the current Texas Rangers stadium, which will possibly be replaced by the new facility, will attract masses of visitors on par with Chicago's Field Museum, at 1.4 million annual visitors, and the Houston Museum of Natural Science, at over 2 million annual visitors. With an emphasis on Culture, participation and attendance is radically expandable, along the lines of interests found in the multi-unit Smithsonian Institution and Museum of New Mexico, and the future OKPOP Museum (Oklahoma Museum of Popular Culture), including music, arts, media, history, anthropology, sociology, fashion, food traditions, and much more. (See additional notes on cultural assets and interests below.)

Arlington's new museum will offer one of the most interesting subjects for people from around the world - how civilizations developed, how distinct cultures evolved, how others have lived, created, traveled, traded and connected - and help diverse people research their own heritage and genealogy. The museum will provide an exciting forum, with state-of-the-art exhibits and facilities, to explore modern interests and changing technologies, like the vibrant attractions in Seattle's EMP (Experience Music Project) Museum, the Newseum in Washington DC, the future (George) Lucas Museum of Narrative Art (likely to be built in San Francisco), the future Museo Mazatlan (Mexico), and others. It will be an important confluence for academic institutions to present studies and solutions on future impacts - technological, political, medical, environmental, etc. - to our ways of life.

Being defined as a Museum of Culture presents the perfect balance of educational and creative exhibits, along with live music, festivals, talks and interpretive demonstrations. It is an ideal setting for additional community activities, educator conferences, special events and school tours. Because of the stadium's configuration, having a perfect festival grounds and major amphitheater-style concert venue enclosed within the museum halls (the present stadium concourses), along with its central location in a region with over 7 million people, the potential exists to create a kind of 'super museum'. Combined attendance - museum visitors (1-2 million), concert and festival goers (1-2 million), school visitors (400,000) and community/special use visitors (600,000) - will benefit 3 to 5 million people.

By utilizing the Texas Rangers stadium, Arlington will be home to the state's largest and most active museum, ranking among the world's most innovative, with visitation in range of many top institutions in New York and Chicago, even being on par with some of the significant attractions in Washington DC. This is an enormous opportunity for Arlington, DFW and Texas.

Additional notes: Consider the benefits of cultural assets and tourism: New Mexico, a state with only 28 percent of the total population of DFW, benefits from nearly $5 billion in revenue from cultural tourism, including significant overnight national and international visitors, around 8 million people making vacation and education trips to New Mexico (does not include non-marketable Interstate highway traffic and commerce), providing significant gains in employment in the cultural resources sector and hospitality industries.

And consider the potential reach based on cultural interests: The Smithsonian Institution attracts 28-30 million visitors - not counting visitors to the National Mall for its festivals - about 5 million to the National Museum of American History, 7 million to the National Museum of Natural History, 7 million to the National Air and Space Museum, and more than 1 million to the National Museum of the American Indian.

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Imagine a Museum is hosted by the Digital Story Resource Center

The National Museum of the American Indian
As one of its smaller units, the Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian attracts 1.2 million visitors annually for exhibits, performances, demonstrations and electronic resources.

Hopi traditions of the Southwest
Hopi clothing and jewelry traditions of the Southwest are presented during a dance performance. Cultural interests directly attract 8 million people to New Mexico, resulting in nearly $5 billion in revenue from cultural tourism.


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