IMAS 50th Anniversary


On June 2, 1967 the McAllen International Museum (MIM) known now as the International Museum of Art & Science (IMAS) began its journey. Museum operations started in 1969 in a 5,000-square-foot facility at Quince and 25th Street renovated by volunteers. The Board of Trustees initiated a fund-raising campaign for exhibits, furnishings, and landscaping, and the new building was dedicated on July 2, 1976 at its current location at 1900 Nolan Avenue in McAllen, Texas. In 1979 a collection of twenty-one European paintings, dating from the sixteenth through the nineteenth centuries, was donated by Dr. & Mrs. McKee Caton. The science collections consist primarily of rocks, minerals, and seashells. MIM was accredited in 1985. In 2001 the museum changed its name to the International Museum of Art & Science, and expanded its building.

In 2017 the museum will celebrate its 50th anniversary. We invite all members of the Rio Grande Valley to celebrate with us, honoring the past and looking forward to the next 50 years. There will be special events and exhibitions all year to observe the museum’s 50th Anniversary. IMAS President Ms. Julie Johnson states, “The museum’s year-long celebration will honor this great institution and the community we serve in a variety of ways. We have collaborated with staff and volunteers, as well as with our board members, generous donors, local corporate partners and our supportive community to plan meaningful and memorable programs that celebrate our history and set a bright and exciting course for the future. I invite everyone to take part in, and enjoy, the International Museum of Art & Science’s 50th Anniversary in 2017.”

IMAS is now a leading destination for our visitors. Our members can explore more than 300 science and technology centers around the world. In partnership with the Association of Science – Technology Centers (ASTC), all memberships include free general admission into the Association of Science and Technology Centers (ASTC) Travel Passport Program. ASTC organizational members include not only science centers and museums, but also nature centers, aquariums, planetarium’s, zoo’s, botanical gardens, space theatres, and natural history and children’s museums nationally and worldwide. We have had a total of 117 visitors from other cities and states use their ASTC affiliate membership to visit IMAS this summer.

IMAS serves over 70,000 people of all ages every year. More than 2,200 children attended Operation Imagination Summer Camps (mnow a family tradition for many families who have come back again and again), scout programs and homeschool activities this past year. Our homeschool programs have been very successful, and parents of homeschool students have been very pleased with our creative hands-on S.T.E.A.M projects, giving their children the opportunity they need to develop important life skills such as problem solving and collaboration. These classes incorporate STEAM subjects.

A variety of cultural enrichment programs, workshops, lectures, festivals, and exhibitions offered at IMAS have attracted the comunity at large, and as a result, have proven to be very successful and rewarding. “I never saw art beyond anything than just a painting, but IMAS showed me how it truly is fascinating,” said Homer Palacios, visitor. “Such an incredible museum! Beautiful balance of art & science!” said Laura Paredes from Austin, TX, and member of the Thinkery Museum. “I have been a member at IMAS for over 10 years and I will continue to support it even when my boys are gone to college. We have celebrated several birthday parties, participated in several workshops and camps, attended numerous festivals, and most importantly we have built lifelong memories here at the IMAS,” said Crisabel Barrera.

Our anniversary plans are showcasing this incredible milestone with special activities, programs, events, exhibitions, and a 50th – Anniversary Gala. We hope you will join us as we celebrate our 50 years of service to the Rio Grande Valley.

About International Museum of Art & Science (IMAS)

IMAS was developed through the efforts of the McAllen Junior League to increase the quality of life for the citizens of the Rio Grande Valley and to provide activities in the arts and sciences that are meaningful, educational, and available to the public. The Museum was chartered under the laws of the state of Texas on June 2, 1967, and granted its tax exemption certificate in August of that year. On October 7, 1968, the Junior League Museum Board entered into a leaning agreement with the City of McAllen for a 5,000-square foot building. Shortly after, a Board of Trustees was appointed and by-laws were adopted. The initial funding came from donations by local business firms, civic organizations, and individuals. An Executive Director was employed in June 1969, and building renovations were completed. The Museum was dedicated and formally opened to the public on October 26, 1969.

On July 4, 1976, a new building was constructed and completed as a Bicentennial Project, and the Museum moved to 1900 Nolana, where it currently resides. A new building expansion, partially funded by the New Millennium Capital Campaign, was constructed and completed in 2001, which added an additional 17,259 square feet to accommodate 3 classrooms, an artist studio, cafe, gift shop, theater, and a hands-on exhibition space called the Discovery Pavilion. In the same year, the Museum completed its “Community Big Build” project and unveiled “RioScape: A Children’s Discovery Park,” incorporating play in an outdoor learning environment that reflects scientific and environmental concepts specific to the Rio Grande River. The Museum currently has over 50,000 square feet of exhibit space and public access areas.

About the IMAS Permanent Collection

The International Museum of Art & Science permanent collection began with the institution’s founding in 1967 through numerous gifts from local donors. Since its inception, the collection has grown to include over 2,000 natural history and geology specimens and 4,500 folk art and textile objects as well as the 1,500 fine art works that represent many countries and date from the 16th century to the present. The collection continues to expand through museum purchases and generous gifts from collectors and artists.