I just went to Pecan Lodge,” Dr. Linda Abraham-Silver, the new CEO of the Perot Museum of Nature and Science revealed on a recent afternoon. Her pronunciation of “pecan” reveals her California roots. “Puh-cahn,” she corrects herself. “Sorry! I’ll learn.”
That’s certainly the right attitude for someone who’s spent most of her life studying, revering and promoting the world of natural sciences. Abraham-Silver’s childhood in Northern California revolved around the Exploratorium in San Francisco—a hands-on, interactive museum dedicated to science, art and the very Californian-sounding “human perception.”
Now, having come to the Perot Museum after a stint in Abu Dhabi spearheading science and technology initiatives for United Arab Emirates, Abraham-Silver appears have adopted the same approach. A hit in the crowded, high-design Dallas museum landscape since its opening in December 2012 (more than 1 million people visit each year), the Perot Museum’s mission—“where learning and fun collide!”—results in exhibits that teach kids and adults how birds actually fly and how to map underground energy deposits. “We are not formal in the way that we approach education,” states Abraham-Silver.
It’s a contentious time in science in the United States, with policy changes afoot in Washington. Abraham-Silver acknowledges science and politics can sometimes be at odds, but she rises above all of that: “We don’t want to be divisive. We present the data, and people reach their own conclusions.” Indeed, the only controversy she seems perhaps likely to engage is her choice for Tex-Mex. “I like... Mia’s,” she gently offers. “Is that Tex-Mex?” After a moment of awkward silence, she laughs. “I’ll learn!” she says.
Pachyrhinosaurus perotorum (dinosaur species discovered in 2006 by Perot Museum paleontologists), really big dogs, Amy Casey paintings, Neiman Marcus Downtown
Fruit in my chocolate, being cold