The museum was founded in 1964 by local leaders trying to preserve the huge private collection of natural artifacts of J. Henry and Ethel Ray before another museum could obtain it. That collection formed the basis of the original museum in the Willbarger Auditorium before it moved to a new building at Vernon College in the 80s.
It was expanded to house the Bill Bond Wild Game and the Waggoner Ranch collections. Now the museum is in another phase of improvements, with a fund drive to update and modernize the exhibits.
Tomorrow night the museum celebrates its first 50 years with a free reception and juried art show, and free refreshments including hors d'oeuvres , beer, wine, and punch.
It's from 6 pm to 8pm at the museum at 4600 College Dr.
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