On Feb. 3 the museum, also known as TXMOST, announced it had received a donation that includes more than 200 casts and original fossils. The collection includes display pedestals, casts of dinosaur skeletons, skulls, skin imprints, eggs and other relics.
Museum Executive Director Torvald Hessel said the collection is valued at $3 million. Portions of the exhibit have been shown at other museums and locations around the world.
The collection was donated to the museum by Marty Martin, a private collector from El Paso.
The shipment arrived in a single truck at the museum on Friday, Jan. 29. Since then, museum staffers and volunteers said they are still sorting through boxes to catalog the items they have.
Staffers said the cataloguing process could take months.
“We feel somewhere between ‘Indiana Jones’ and ‘Jurassic Park,’” Hessel said.
The collection will go on display to the public as a 12,000-square-foot exhibit called The Genesis Exhibit, which will be permanently located with the museum.
In March 2015, TXMOST opened its temporary facility in Cedar Park at 1220 Toro Grande Drive. The museum added a planetarium in November and is currently hosting 30 items from the traveling Exploratorium exhibit.
“It is staggering that a gift of this magnitude would arrive, quite literally, on our doorstep not quite a year after first opening our doors,” Hessel said in a Feb. 3 press release. “This will be … something from which both the museum itself and generations of Texans will benefit.”
Hessel said he expects the collection will invigorate the museum and help efforts to build a permanent facility. He said a location for a permanent museum could be announced this year.
Several exhibits are already on display at the museum and will be included with existing exhibits and admission costs. Displayed exhibits include casts of a Tyrannosaurus rex skull and a full small skeleton of a coelophysis dinosaur. More exhibits will go on display at the museum after staffers take inventory of the donated items, staffers said.
This story has been updated.