New Witte Opens to the Public March 4, 2017

SAN ANTONIO--()--If it happened on Texas land, water, or sky, you can experience it at the New Witte. This once-in-a-lifetime transformation of the New Witte wraps years of construction at the 90-year-old historic campus, resulting in more than 174,000 square feet of renovation and expansion. On Saturday, March 4, a ribbon cutting will be held at 9:30 a.m. with First Lady of Texas Cecilia Abbott, Mayor Ivy Taylor, and other San Antonio and Texas dignitaries in attendance.

“The $100 million project is so transformational, we decided to call it the New Witte”

“The $100 million project is so transformational, we decided to call it the New Witte,” said Witte President and CEO Marise McDermott. “The Witte has long been an accredited museum with a commitment to lifelong learning in the fields of natural history, science and Texas heritage. But now, because of this metamorphosis, the Witte is a top tier museum. We now say, the Witte Museum, where Nature, Science and Culture meet.”

Visitors will begin their Witte experience on the Adventure Walk to the Susan Naylor Center filled with fossils and native plants. As they enter the H-E-B Lantern, the Nora and Steve Burkhart Quetzy sculpture, a life-size, fleshed-out Quetzalcoatlus will greet visitors as giant pterosaurs fly overhead. They will enter the Valero Great Hall through the Ellen S. Quillin Arch and explore the K.K. Amini and Gayle and Walter Embrey Texas Deep Time Walls for perspective about what Texas looked like millions of years ago when dinosaurs roamed, thousands of years ago when prehistoric people lived off the land and studied the night sky, and hundreds of years ago when legendary chili queens, cattle kings, cowboys and vaqueros filled this wild and vivid land. These massive road cuts will highlight the geological history of the region, complemented by the Cabinets of Wonder where visitors will be oriented with a touch screen map and view a variety of Witte artifacts and images. The Gates Mineral Company Orientation Theater will reveal the entire Witte experience through the Texas Deep Time narrative, from prehistoric to contemporary.

Full-size dinosaur cast skeletons, molded footprints from area fossils, and animals that once roamed this land will be displayed in the new hands-on Naylor Family Dinosaur Gallery. Visitors will experience how the land was inhabited by giant creatures that lived in what is now Texas during the Cretaceous period more than 110 million years ago. The Laura and Sam Dawson Encroaching Seas diorama includes the 39-foot-tall skeleton of a carnivorous Acrocanthosaurus. The Zachry Family Dry Land diorama stages a 40-foot Tyrannosaurus Rex, which lived in the valleys of West Texas 70 million years ago. The Michele and Ethan Walsh Deep Ocean diorama immerses the visitor in Texas covered by water. Overhead, the visitor will witness the skeleton of the largest pterosaur every found, the Marty and Steve Hixon Quetzacoatlus. The Dinosaur Lab includes an excavation of dinosaur bones, where one can compare jaws and teeth, and learn what ancient footprints can tell us about dinosaur behavior.

The beloved historic dioramas of the Witte will make a long-anticipated return in the McLean Family Texas Wild Gallery, where a state-of-the-art, high-tech space with immersive galleries will showcase the uniqueness of Texas. Visitors will see the flora and fauna from all the varied regions of Texas, and listen to the voice of country music legend George Strait as his voice guides visitors through the expanded and enhanced Mary West and Richard Traylor Sounds of South Texas. Enter the SWBC Live Lab and the East Foundation Land Stewardship Lab to participate in hands-on activities, learn about the rich variety of environments in Texas and how visitors can help preserve and conserve the state’s rich outdoors and natural resources.

Travel back thousands of years in the Kittie West Nelson Ferguson People of the Pecos Gallery and experience a unique look at a fascinating civilization. Walk upstairs through a life-size replica of the Fate Bell Shelter. Enter a theater with a ceiling on which is projected a night sky that would have been visible 4,200 years ago. Learn about the prehistoric people in a gallery spanning much of the second floor of the New Witte. See an artistic record unmatched in North America. See realistic sculptures of ancient people and witness how they hunted, cooked and socialized. Visitors will have the opportunity to think like an archaeologist as they try out ancient peoples’ tools and technology, and explore the rock art of the Lower Pecos Canyonlands in the expansive Lifeways and Nancy Smith Hurd Rock Art Labs.

The New Witte features six major gardens and riverside landscapes including The Texas Wild Garden, The Science Garden, Tuleta Garden, Aqueduct Plaza and entry gardens at the Feik Family Orientation Pavilion and the Tex Elliott Family South Texas Heritage Entry Court.

Marise McDermott, President and CEO of the Witte Museum, is available for interviews. Please contact Katye Brought: or 210.357.1876.

To view and download photos and videos of the New Witte Museum, visit the Press Page at


Witte Museum
Katye Brought, 210-357-1876
cell: 210-416-4026


Release Summary

The New Witte opens on March 4, 2017, revealing its $100 million expansion and transformation of the 90-year old San Antonio museum.

Witte Museum