Press Release | Houston’s awaited Nau Center for Texas Cultural Heritage starts construction
November 12, 2014
The highly anticipated Nau Center for Texas Cultural Heritage officially broke ground today during a ceremony including The Honorable Annise D. Parker, Mayor, City of Houston; Richard J. Campo, chairman of the Houston First Corporation Board of Directors; and John L. Nau, III, chairman of the Nau Center Board of Directors.
“The Nau Center for Texas Cultural Heritage will enrich the lives of visitors and residents alike by depicting in real time the visionaries and entrepreneurs who built and defined our region,” said Mayor Parker. “Such inspiration will capture and carry the living spirit of Texas for generations to come. Once complete, the Nau Center will be a compelling cultural tourism destination and a major asset to the entire southeast Texas region.”
The Nau Center will serve as a regional gateway for tourism with a 21st-century museum, showcasing the people, places and events of our rich history. It will tell the story of the 29 counties that comprise southeast Texas through inspirational and interactive exhibits, immersing students, educators, residents and visitors in the region’s history and culture.
“The Nau Center will be a cultural hub for tourists, educators and students alike,” said Nau. “It is expected that more than 400,000 visitors will pass through its doors each year, which will generate significant tourism dollars for the entire region. It is our hope that the center’s vivid presentations and educational offerings will inspire the next generation of great leaders.”
The Nau Center is a public-private partnership. The City of Houston donated the land and Houston First Corporation (HFC) acts as the main partner on the project and will operate the building following its completion. The project team is comprised of Bailey Architects, who will assist with the design of the building and the footprint of the area; Linbeck Construction, responsible for construction of the project; and Gallagher & Associates, an internationally recognized firm who will design the Visitor Center and the interactive exhibits
Six major areas and a retail shop will make up the 70,000-square-foot Nau Center:
The Visitor Center will showcase events and activities throughout the 29 counties comprising southeast Texas; the historic Cohn House will be restored to its original turn-of-the-century glory; Texas Theatre will offer a preview of the Nau Center experience; and students will gather and learn in the Education Center.
In addition, guests will experience a chronological journey in real time through southeast Texas history in the ‘Seize Opportunity’ gallery. They’ll stand with Sam Houston at Washington-on-the-Brazos as Texas becomes a republic and at San Jacinto, where Texas wins independence; feel the earth shake and see skies darken when Spindletop erupts; discover how the philosophy of “Houston Gives Back” produces the world’s largest medical center; and experience peaceful integration at Houston lunch counters during the 1960s.
The Get Big Things Done exhibit will highlight three of the region’s greatest achievements by using immersive presentations, titled “Johnson Space Center Mission Control,” “Where 17 Railroads Meet the Sea,” and “A Port That Welcomes the World.” Interactive learning stations will augment the experience, inviting further study in the science, technology, engineering, arts and math required by each endeavor.
The Nau Center is designed to support teachers, students and learning, and will become the destination to study the history and culture of our region. Early in the planning process, teachers and educational experts provided valuable input on design elements to create an experiential learning environment
With education programs that will integrate the required Texas history curriculum, southeast Texas fourth and seventh graders and their teachers will find its central location and web-based curriculum appealing –making it a primary field trip destination. Educational staff and a robust website will facilitate group engagements.
Located at 1801 Capitol Street, between the George R. Brown Convention Center and Minute Maid Park, the Nau Center is a large part of the renovation currently underway in downtown Houston’s convention district in preparation for the 2017 Super Bowl.
To date, the Nau Center has $33 million towards the $80 million overall project budget. Future revenue streams for the Nau Center will include visitor admissions, field trips, venue rentals for private events, sponsorship of galleries and kiosks, the retail shop, hotel occupancy taxes and private funding.
About the Nau Center for Texas Cultural Heritage
The Nau Center for Texas Cultural Heritage will serve as a regional gateway for tourism with a 21st-century museum, showcasing the people, places and events of our rich history. It will tell the story of the 29 counties that comprise southeast Texas through inspirational and interactive exhibits, immersing students, educators, residents and visitors in the region’s history and culture. The Nau Center will be located downtown between the George R. Brown Convention Center and Minute Maid Park, ideally placed along Texas’ historic Independence Trail. For more information, visit www.naucenter.org.
About Houston First Corporation
Houston First Corporation is leading the effort to promote Houston as one of the great cities of the world. A local government corporation formed in 2011, Houston First operates the city's finest convention, arts and entertainment venues. These include the Hilton Americas-Houston hotel, George R. Brown Convention Center, Jones Hall for the Performing Arts, Wortham Theater Center, Houston Center for the Arts, Talento Bilingue de Houston, Miller Outdoor Theatre, Houston First Outdoors (which includes Jones Plaza and other smaller venues) and Theater District Parking. For more information, visit www.houstonfirst.com.