Monday, September 25, 2023 Sep 25, 2023
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Meet Nicole Small, CEO of Museum of Nature & Science

By Tim Rogers |
photography by Billy Surface

Nicole Small is a little busy. The 35-year-old CEO of the Museum of Nature & Science runs the most-visited cultural institution in Dallas. Last year, nearly 1 million people dropped by the Fair Park campus (formerly the Dallas Museum of Natural History, The Science Place, and the Dallas Children’s Museum, whose merger she orchestrated). And she’s in the throes of a $155 million capital campaign (almost $60 million and counting) to build a new 150,000-square-foot facility in Victory Park, set to open in 2012. This month the public will get its first look at a building design by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Thom Mayne. Also this month she’ll get the floor plans from Good Fulton & Farrell for a redo of the Fair Park spaces. “It’s been quite a ride the last seven years,” says the Hockaday grad. “It’s been exciting to watch this city embrace our mission. But we’re just catching up. We’re one of the last cities to take on a project like this. The fun part is, we can look at best practices all over the world, and we get to start from scratch.” One more thing on her plate: next month she’ll give birth to another museum visitor (who’ll join sister Julia, age 2). And, oh yeah, Small is thinking about remodeling her house. “I need something else to do,” she says with a laugh.

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