I have fond memories of collecting fossilized sharks teeth from the banks of the Brazos River on an outing with The Junior Museum of Natural history, now the Brazos Valley Museum of Natural History. The museum is a real treasure for the Brazos Valley. If you have not discovered this treasure we encourage you to do so. This museum is not just for children but it is always more fun to bring a child with you. The Museums director is Dr. Deborah F. Cowman. The Museum’s mission is to preserve and protect natural and cultural history, to promote science education, and to encourage responsible stewardship of all natural and cultural resources. It accomplishes this through: 1) the preservation of artifacts and natural specimens; 2) the presentation of exhibits and educational programming; and 3) cooperative partnerships with arts and cultural organizations, community oriented entities, and academic institutions throughout the Brazos Valley.
The Junior Museum of Natural History was founded by the American Association of University Women in 1961 for the express purpose of providing object and activity-oriented natural science education to young people. All efforts were volunteer and extensively involved the Department of Biology at Texas A&M University. From its beginnings, the Junior Museum of Natural History aggressively reached out into the Bryan schools. Its first home was, in fact, in the Brazos County Courthouse in Bryan.
In 1970, the collections increased several fold when the Texas A&M Museum Collections were orphaned. Important acquisitions included a collection of Pleistocene mammals, local archaeological material, and two historically important local botanical collections from 1883 and 1897.
In 1979, the museum moved to the Brazos Center. In 1993, the name became the Brazos Valley Museum of Natural History to clarify the museum's role in the community and to focus collections, exhibits, and programs on the local area. In 1991, a new 9,400 square foot museum was built next to the Brazos Center on land donated by the County.
The Brazos Valley Museum of Natural History is staffed by paid professionals, interns, and volunteers. Programs are provided to area schools and preschools. There are spring, summer, and fall nature camps, with special programs on- and off-site for adults as well as children. Educational exhibits are changed quarterly.